Anyone tried this: making negs on photo paper in camera?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by medform-norm, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Hi y'all,

    we wondered if anyone has experience with obtaining negative prints made by exposing a piece of photographic paper inside a camera and then developing it as usual.

    What we're planning on doing is to load a sheet of 8x10" in a Lisco holder, expose it according to the sensitivity of the paper (you'll need to find this out), develop as usual.

    Not having done this before extensively other than crude experiments on photographic paper loaded in a pinhole camera, we wondered if we might draw on the knowledge and experience amassed here.

    We assume you'd need to use a paper with a very fine grain for best results. Can anyone recommend such a paper?

    Will the paper stay as flat in the holder as sheet film?

    If anyone has done this process before, what are your experience with regards to obtaining a good tonality? Does it require special development techniques?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

    Cheers,
    norm
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's something I've tried, but never really worked on.

    Figure the speed to be around ISO 2-6. You'll want a paper that doesn't have any printing on the back. I think I used Ilford MG RC of whatever the current vintage was at the time. I wouldn't worry about paper grain, since printing through the paper will obscure things somewhat, and you'll be contact printing anyway, I would assume.

    You'll probably want to print the negative a little flatter than you would print a print, but since it's paper, you can develop under safelight. Test it like film. Find a speed that gives you the detail you want in the shadows and adjust the development time so the highlights print right.
     
  3. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    There's a guy called Hudson Reeve who folds sheets of photographic paper to make paper pinholes. They are carried to the location in a changing bag and exposed. He then develops the sheets. The results are quite interesting. Practically a 'camera'-less process!
     
  4. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Thanks David, I should have know you'd been there as well.:smile: What was your motivation to try this?

    Now, we won't be printing through the paper, but (ehm, well, hate to admit it) digitally scan the negs and work from there. I wanted to avoid bringing in the digital process seeing what happened last weeks. We figured this move would be a 'work around' for the issue of things printed on the backs of most papers, thereby widening our choice of paper. Ah, before I forget, we'd need a matte paper of course.

    We had not expected the speed to be that low! Would there be a paper with an ISO closer to 25? We did indeed plan a test of paper, but would have preferred to start with ISO 50. Maybe that was too hopeful - and shows how long we've been out of dark room (and dark room experience likewise).

    Seeing that we're scanning the paper neg, there is some latitude in development extremes, but I suppose it would be nice to have something that resembles a 'normal', well exposed neg.
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    years ago , we made some prints using Cibachrome paper in an 8x10 camera and then developed them as one would normally do with tht paper.
    They were lovely; however, a few years ago, with the newer papers the same process was not as successful.

    When i discussed it with Ilford, they were not aware this could be done, and decided we needed to use color printing filters to correct for the changes in the paper.

    this is a very common practice with pinhole cameras. check out some of the pinhole websites. Sorry , i don't have them at my finger tips, but there is some very fine work being done with these tools.
     
  6. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Hi Andy,
    yes, we've seen them before. They're amazingly ingenious little things. His URL is bookmarked somewhere. For all those who don't know this: go visit, it's worthwhile.
     
  7. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Yes, will do. You're right, the pinhole crowd should know.

    BTW forgot to mention in the original question that we'll be doing B&W prints.
     
  8. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I've done it some years ago - when I got my first large format camera (oak tree)...
    the camera was suited for glass negs so I tried negatives..
    with nice results..

    being orthochromatic, the tones vary a lot from pan cromatic negs.. if you use people, don't ask them to wear lip stick.... normal lip colour will turn out quite dark..

    an interesting observation I did - it seems that the white in the eyes get even more white with this technique.. which gives you the possibillity to make quite dark images where the eyes seem to glow..
    I've attached some exambles...

    I used plain soft RC paper, as they will stay flat more easily..
    I used old paper with fixed graduation, but also tried multigrade paper.. and fixed a filter in front of the lens to get the softness I needed.
    be aware, that that requires more light...

    have fun - it is worth it..
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am with Ann on this one

    We have had photographers use Cibachrome sheet paper in the film holder and with long exposures, different filter combos on the camera, have come up with very beautiful prints.
    Basically a very slow colour polaroid camera , I think it would work with any format 4x5 and up.
    Once you have your filter balance with all things being equal one would need only to carefully meter under similar lighting scenes
    I have a Ciba machine here for anyone wanting to experiment with this method , *no charge to test till you get your balance*. Then I will come up with a process charge.
    We only process the CPS, Clmk and Cfk papers so if you do not like gloss this would not be for you.
    CPS-HIGH CONTRAST, BEST COLOUR SATURATION
    CLMK- MEDIUM CONTRAST, GOOD COLOUR SATURATION
    CFK- LOW CONTRAST-REQUIRED FOR CONTRAST SCENES GOOD COLOUR
     
  10. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Nice work. This technique proves to have promising potential, even though we'd be doing architecture, not people. What were your exposure times? Guestimating from your thumbnails and taking an ASA of 3 for the paper, we'd say something like 1 sec? Or was it much longer?

    And how did you obtain the pos? Did you contact print through the paper negs as well?
     
  11. Matthewt

    Matthewt Member

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    Hi to all. I shoot photo paper in my Holga all the time. I then develop the paper normally and make a contact print. It is small but it works. Some I scan and make big prints out of.
     
  12. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Hi Bob, good to know and thanks for the offer. I don't know if we are patient enough to ship exposed sheets to Canada from Holland and wait to see what comes out. It should be possible to find someone/a lab who does it here.
    Is it possible to develop this paper at home? I've seen a place where you can order the chemicals for it, but have no idea what the process would involve in terms of equipment needed.
     
  13. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Yeah, that's basically the idea. Can you upload some scans to show what they're like? Or do you have a link to a webgallery? We'd be curious to know what your results are! Especially with regards to the contrast you can achieve.
     
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  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi There
    you absolutely can do it at home in a roller transport device. The chemicals are expensive by the way but very usable
    have fun,
    I imagine there are lots of labs in Europe willing to do this for you.
     
  16. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    uhm... roller transport device....uhm, what's that? what does it look like? We're only familiar with a very rudimentary B&W darkroom using trays etc. Can't the Cibachrome be developed in a tray as well?
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you contact print through the paper, you can try some old pictorialist tricks, like retouching on the back of the paper neg with pencil to bring up highlights or mask shadow areas, or you can bleach shadows locally on the emulsion side.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi mf-n,

    i shoot paper negatives pretty often in my 8x10. you'll have to trim the edges of the paper ( 8x10 film isn't really 8x10, but about 1 or 2/32" less all around ). you'll also want to underexpose the paper a little bit --- you want a "thinner" paper negative, with less contrast. i usually use fogged and olde paper and process it in oxidized ansco 130 developer ( dilute ) with a second bath of regular + water to control my contrast & development.

    good luck!

    -john
     
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  19. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Hi John,

    that sounds pretty good. Thanks for your advice. Suppose you underexpose the neg in order to control contrast later when printing through the paper? What film holder gives you the best flatness of the paper? What paper has given you the most pleasing results till so far?

    I guess what we're looking for is a way to get bigger negatives (like 8x10) but without the entailing costs. Holland is not a country with many large or ultra large format photographers. Hardly anyone shoots 8x10, sheet film is very very expensive, choice of film is limited if at all available and we need to send the negs somewhere to get them developed. We can't have a real dark room w/enlarger as we have only temporary housing and we never know when we need to move. Not something that is workable for our situation at the moment. That's why we hoped the paper negs route would be a viable option. It's exciting to hear it may be.

    Cheers, mf-n
     
  20. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I would absolutely *NOT* print the ciba chrome through trays. The Bleach is very agressive, smelly and unpleasant
    Jobo roller drums are sufficient. Lots of people on this site using them.
     
  21. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Hi Norm, I started making paper negs with single weight Kodabromide enlarging paper when I was about 7 or 8. I used a 620 Kodak Box Brownie. Shortly thereafter, I started making paper negs with a pinhole camera. I have sporadically continued to do this ever since (often making enlarged paper negs). Currently, I use Variable Contrast RC paper but single weight fiber based paper also works fine. I've never had any flatness problems.
     
  22. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    In addtion to Bob's recommendation about not using trays, but drums; this paper has to be processed in the dark.
     
  23. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Could anyone recommend a model/type/number of these drums? We've never worked with them before and are pretty much rookies when it comes to this. It should be big enough for 8x10" paper/sheets. Thanks, mf-n!
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi mf-n

    i have used kodak single wieght "poly max fine art" as well as the same paper before it was called "fine art" i think it is called poly fiber both single and double weight.
    i have found that if you have a contrasty paepr negative, it won't print well, compared to a thin/soft paper negative. it'll look like a good negative, though. i have a bunch of film holders, none are better than others - any will work well.

    i too started making paper negatives to save money. it works well for some subjects and lighting conditions, but others not so much. usually in flat lighting, and not very contrasty situations paper negatives are great but if you are in bright sun, extreme shadows and sunlight, you will have a little more trouble, unless you use something like a multi-grade filter to reduce the contrast ( and double + your exposure time ).
    good luck with your project :smile:

    -john

     
  25. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Thanks John for sharing these practical tips. I bet they'll be very useful once we manage to lay our hands on an 8x10 for a reasonable price. We've got one lens ready for it already.

    We searched all on-line shops in Holland and none of them sell 8x10" film. Biggest size available is 4x5". Closest place I found something was in Germany, but the prices are way too high for us right now.

    Maybe one day, when all our hard work starts paying off.... either that or win the lottery.

    Cheers, mf-n
     
  26. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    I gave it a try as a response to someone who said it couldn't be done (which baffled me). It was an interesting experiment for me, but not something I wanted to pursue. Mostly cutting the paper to fit was a real pain and I often found that the paper was enough thicker than the standard negatives to cause binding problems in the holder.