I still remember when I asked my printer “but whose expression is it going to be?”
he said “it’s yours.”
Printing someone else’s work is somehow akin to copying. The printer must nail down what the creator sees in his head. In copying somebody else’s work, although I may nail down an image to complete similarity or even make it better, if I just copied it from someone – the vision will always be of someone else.
It takes more than just awesome photographs. It is not who post-processed. It is not who printed or even who set-up the camera that counts. I doubt that Kenna would claim Ruth Bernhard’s work when he was printing her photographs or Voja when printing Bresson’s images. I doubt that Leibovitz’s assistants would claim it’s their idea when Annie just shows up and everything is set.
It’s the vision that sets it apart.
Make no mistake, the technical part of photography is a part of the creative process. But in the end, it is the creative vision that is the role of an artist. Everything else is optional. We can only hope that after years of photography and art, we find ours too.
Homage to Hiroshi S.