The quality (match) between a soft proof and a print is only as good as the calibration of the display and resulting profile AND the output profile. Keep in mind that output profiles have two sets of tables, one for soft proof, one for output. They should match but they don't always. This is what separates a quality profile from one that is not so good.
Prints are either too dark or they are not too dark. Going back to Gary's printing work in analog darkroom, I seriously doubt he printed many if any dark prints. Why is the internet filled with people having dark prints now? Couple reasons aside from the quality differences in profiles discussed. First, most people understand the need to calibrate a display but unfortunately don't see the need to alter the target calibrations from either some preset or some user recommendation. We've got a display that has a huge range of luminance possibilities (from say 120-300cd/m2 assuming you can get a new LCD to natively hit such a lower value). We have enormous variation in ambient lighting around the display and the print. Obviously if you are going to compare the two to see if you get a match, they need to be pretty much next to each other. Expecting that some setting in your display calibration software is any knowledge about the print viewing conditions isn’t' true, your mileage in terms of the settings for both display and print viewing is significant.
I can assure you that the finest print you ever saw will look dark to you if the illumination is too low (duh). So if the display is 20% visually brighter than how you view the print, what do you expect that print to look like? Darker. Proper display calibration is one where you set the targets to produce a visual match to a print next to that display and an illuminant that isn't ridiculous (a 6 watt bulb).
Let's look at print making and exclude Photoshop, Lightroom, using displays. How many out there who printed conventionally got dark prints? Did you view them properly once out of the darkroom? I expect you did and the prints that were not too dark didn't look too dark. Making a print, be it in an analog or digital darkroom isn't vastly different expect we have this display we work on and hope (expect) it to translate into a print we expect. If the two differing medias are not as close as possible, of course you'll get a mismatch. And yes, an emissive display and a reflective print will never exactly match. But if you have calibrated your display properly
, there should be no 'dark prints' or surprises. The proof is in the print but the soft proof when properly setup means that print is achieved in the first, maybe 2nd print.
If the amount of time, ink and paper has no bearing, no need for color management or a color display. Just crank out prints until you get what you desire.
There is of course this:http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml