Ctein’s “Niagara Falls”
I became aware of Ctein through the website The Online Photographer, where he contributes essays. His biography is fascinating, but the key point, and one worth repeating, is that he is considered one of the top photographic printers in the world. Actually, experts at Kodak thought he was the best. Alright, but how are his photos?
Excellent; a particularly striking one is Niagara Falls. It is a fresh take on the subject, but the image is as frothy as cotton candy and the mist he captured. A sliver of the curve of the gigantic falls (taken from the Canadian side, probably) juts in from the right, only to be smothered by clouds and mist. But it is the delicate blue tones, light, lighter, and ethereal, that arrested my attention.
In the image, I am forced to look up to the rim of the waterfall, and this angle inspires hope, happiness, and joy in living. As I said, the color is just delicate; it’s all high-key color tones, but with enough geometries to compel attention (straight lines down due to the water, and horizontally oriented clouds.)
If you read his commentary, the man is all about the prints. Although he has moved on to extant technologies, his standard is always with reference to a finished, tangible print. He will happily use digital imaging systems with printers or spend time in the dark room.