The Online Photographer and Peter Turnley published this week a two-part story on the life and career of master printer to the stars Voja Mitrovic. A Yugoslav immigrant to France, Mitrovic began working at the famous Picto lab in Paris and became essentially the personal printer to such greats as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Josef Koudelka. The piece in part one and part two provides a terrific backstory to Mitrovic’s own life and his role in printing some of the most famous photographs of the last century.
He indicated to me that the three most important things involved in being a great printer are patience, developing a good dialogue and communication with the photographer he is printing for, and knowing how to read a negative. It is most important to know the photographer, to know what he or she wants, and to be able to read the image—like photographers, some people see things, and others don’t! Great printing involves knowing how to choose the right paper, having technical skills, and a strong artistic and aesthetic sense. He feels that it has helped him very much to have been himself a photographer, in order to understand the goal of a photograph.