Photographers don’t have to be limited to strict recordings of what’s in front of our lens—we are entitled to use both imagination and creative strokes. The enhancement of an image can bring it to a state beyond what a camera can capture. This is the fine art of pictorial photography, where imagination and talent are coupled to produce original hands-on work. Texture-screen printing and chiaroscuro are the essence of classic pictorial photography, while Photoshop manipulation is a direct descendant of the pictorial photographic artist.
A pictorial print can be of any subject; the main thing is that the artist has worked the image: that is to say, he or she has used another medium outside the range of camera, film, and paper to enhance the work. Historically, a texture negative (Figure 1) was often combined with a standard negative to yield an image that recalled other two-dimensional art such as drawing and painting. The practice annoyed many conventional two-dimensional artists and continues to, even today, in some art communities.
In making a pictorialist print, texture and tonality are usually the two elements of the image that are first addressed after the selection of a fiber paper that serves as the base texture.
RC paper is not favored for pictorial prints because of the smooth surface. A textured paper acts as a tooth to hold the strokes of a pencil or other material used to enhance a photograph or negative. Materials used include texture screens, ink, carbon, lamp black, oil paint, watercolor, bleach, sepia—whatever it takes to build the image and arrive at the desired effect.
My most frequently used tools, besides a texture negative, are Marshall’s Photo Coloring Pencils and Berol Karismacolor pencils. As your experience grows, other tools will depend on your creativity and need.