Printing with Fred Picker: Introduction
Printing with Fred Picker I/XI
In this introduction to “Printing with Fred Picker” we begin the film on a wet day with different scenes of Picker’s property, and with the spoken words, “It’s a rainy day in Vermont, bad weather for photography, but a perfect day to spend in the darkroom.” Most likely that is exactly how the master photographer and printer spent all of his days, refining his technique year after year.
In the film we meet Picker’s colleague Bruce Farlow who, after studying numerous photographs displayed on the walls, asks Picker the reason he chose specific pictures from Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and other marvelous photographers to hang on the walls of his home. It doesn’t come as much a surprise when Picker replies quite pragmatically, “ My criteria for collecting pictures is simple, and it’s the same for literature and music. Whatever moves me.”
For the most part, Picker may have been a practical man when it came to his enjoyment of the arts, but he was one of the finest black and white printers of his time. In the second installment Picker demonstrates his original techniques in black & white print making, teaching us how to make fine prints.
Picker was involved in 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 large format, field camera manufacturing, and his filters, camera designs, tripods and other photographic aids are still considered indispensable tools of the trade by photographers. He taught a highly successful photography class known as "The Zone VI Workshop," and authored a book by the same name that has become recognized as the golden standard of photographic instruction.