There's an interesting topic being discussed on The Online Photographer website at the moment concerning one of Mike Johnston's print offers. It's a pic of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. taken by photographer David Dyer-Bennet in 1975 with, from David's memory, a Pentax Spotmatic.
David made the mistake (in my opinion) of showing the original drum scan of his negative side-by-side with his digitally processed sale print after the sale had started. Some buyers have since said that they would have preferred the original and a majority of commenters, from what I can tell, like the original image more than the processed print. Here are the images that have sparked the debate:
I much prefer the original as well. The before pic does a much better job of capturing the scale of the monument and the addition of the ropes, the stairs and the step ladders in the background all add to the image, particularly in giving it a sense of context which is much-needed when it features a couple of workmen steam cleaning it. Some perspective correction has also made the final print looked skewed and a bit weird.
I don't think either one is anything special as a photograph, to be honest. The memorial was dedicated in 1922 and has long been a favourite subject for photographers. Consequently, there are a huge number of images of it making it something of a hackneyed subject. If you do a Google search for "Lincoln Memorial" you'll find loads of pics many of which I would rate more highly than the TOP sale print. David's one is a little different because of the inclusion of the workers but it doesn't set my pulse racing. It's a nice image but I wouldn't put it any higher than that. What do you think?
Lootens's blue-toned black and white print captures a sense of grandeur in a way that Dyer-Bennet's inkjet doesn't. As I understand it, Lootens isn't particularly well known even in the US. I have his book Lootens on Photographic Enlarging and Print Quality and it remains a favourite.
My edition is from 1953, seven years after Lootens was found dead on holiday at the age of just 43. Here's a cutting from the August 22, 1946, edition of the New York Post showing his obituary. I only know his work from the book I have and it was decent stuff but a little old-fashioned by today's standards. However, no excuses need be made for "Dedication", a striking and fitting memorial to the 16th US President.