Black Borders

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by jmal, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. jmal

    jmal Member

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    I really like the look of the black borders that HCB uses on his prints. Did he--or his printers--achieve this by filing the negative carrier so light passes around the edges of the negative? This seems the most likely method as they seem somewhat irregular and have rounded corners. What other methods are there for getting this effect? Thanks.

    Jmal
     
  2. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    g'day jmal, i too like the black border and often print this way, and yes it is usually done by filing out the neg carrier on 35mm, there are other ways to do it using easels and masks

    hcb also liked to show that he did not crop his negs, a bit of a wank but it is good practice to crop in camera not on the neg
     
  3. jmal

    jmal Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I suspected that was the way it's done, but just wanted to confirm. Any tips for filing or is it just small steps of trial and error until one reaches a satisfactory amount of border?

    Jmal
     
  4. eric

    eric Member

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    Ray,
    For those us here in the colonies, what does "bit of a wank" mean? I don't like to crop on the neg either. I try to approximate the 10% loss of some viewfinders. With HCB, he must've known that Leica viewfinder intimately to approximate what will be printed.
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Oh I don't think it was a wank, really. At the time, people were already becoming rather pictorialist and I think he simply wanted to be faithful to his subjects. I appreciate HCB's staid traditionalism more and more now that I see what digital capture has done to photography!
     
  6. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    what wankers do

    an allusion to a sexual act performed when alone

    being self dillusional, or maybe just being a braggard

    constant use of any camera will soon show just what is recorded on film, it's not always 10%

    some cameras record more than shows in viewfinder, some record less

    anyway it's not good practice to compose too close to the image edges
     
  7. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    g'day keith, so what do you believe digital capture has done to photography?

    i see extremes, on the one hand more people are empowered and encouraged to do photography - that could be a good, or a bad thing

    on the other hand, more and more bad imaging is accepted as the norm - even that could be good or bad

    lastly, for now, many talented photographers are too narrow minded to explore the possibilities that digital could bring to their practice

    just because an image is digi doesn't mean it's a poor image, just as gum over pt/pd etc etc doesn't automatically make an image good

    what are your thoughts?
     
  8. Weldon

    Weldon Member

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    Who is HCB?
     
  9. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    wash out thy mouth

    Henri Cartier Bresson, French, (1908-2004) photojournalist, documentary photographer, co-founder of Magnum, 'the desicive moment', 'the' street photographer, the revered one, think Leica, think street, think one lens (35mm?)
     
  10. Weldon

    Weldon Member

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    Oh...

    Thanks Ray.
     
  11. slad

    slad Member

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    HCB primarily used a 50mm lens.
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Yeah, but only primarily. The 'only 50mm' purism (which I freely admit you do not promote) was a lie put about by his more extremist admirers.

    And after talking with his printer at Arles one year, 'perfect exposure' and 'no cropping' were two more lies. Not his, but those of his worshippers.

    The guy was a genius, but he wasn't God. He also had a very successful family business to support him in his youth.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    I think filing negative carriers is something that one regrets sometime later, like getting a tattoo.
     
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  15. catem

    catem Member

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    I agree. I could never bring myself to do that.

    Other ways:
    Cut a piece of board a couple of mm - or however wide you want the border - longer and wider than the exact size of your print, black if possible including the cut edges (blacken them with felt pen). Expose your print in the easel. Lay the board on top. Open the easel a couple of milimetres all round. Align the board top and left with easel, so that there's a newly exposed bit of paper to the right and bottom. Expose to full black. Move the card to the right and bottom and repeat, thus exposing top and left of print. You can also leave the card in the middle but I find that less reliable. Use weights to keep the card flat and stable.
    This works for crops aswell, you don't need the whole neg.

    Or get a glass neg carrier -e.g. for 6x7 and use that, you can then get the whole rebate if you want, which is fun sometimes.

    Cate
     
  16. eric

    eric Member

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    Its the first thing I do when I get a new one. You can always raise your enlarger to go past the easel blades.
     
  17. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Problem there is that it forces you to crop to the camera format rather than the subject. If I am shooting 35mm and my subject matter composes better to a 3:4 or square or some other completely random aspect ratio, I don't hesitate use the bands of my easle. Better to let the best composition ask for the best dimensions than to try to "wank" it into a standard predetermined format.
    (Even if it means that you you have to custom cut your mats for each print. What a pita!)
     
  18. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    some enlargers have available full format negative carriers which allow the rebate to show.

    i know that besler does.
     
  19. slad

    slad Member

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    I tailor format to composition, if I want a black boarder I use a mask.
     
  20. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Depending on format and i don't know if this relates to 35mm but it could be that HCB also used Leitz enlargers. The Leitz Focomat 1C negative carrier will give you that black edge.


    jan
     
  21. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    who says you can only have one carrier?
     
  22. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Sorry, just found your response... pardon my late reply!

    I think digital has increased the quantity of photographs taken by a factor of 12,369,438 times or so, without any change in quality. So I think what digital has done is decrease the quality by dilution. Too many people taking too many shots based on too few thoughts. And too many people using basically the exact same tool and getting roughly the same output.

    I don't think that an experience film user is 'narrow minded' if they prefer not to go digital. I forayed into digital (briefly) and thought it was fun, in the same way that a toy is fun. But at the end of the day I thought, geez, it is basically impossible to distinguish yourself with digital capture- almost everybody has the exact same tool and hence the exact same capabilities in terms of what they can actually capture.

    So much of what I love about film photography is the diversity of equipment (RFs, TLRs, LF, pinhole, you name it) and hence unique capabilities. Recently I went to do some sport shooting and I noticed that everybody had DSLRs and everybody was taking basically the same shots, you know, at 5 fps. What's the point of taking a shot that anybody can take? I don't know, I just don't get any pleasure out of this herd mentality.

    And I also love the personalities of the films that I use; and they are so diverse! Again it is about diversity, in my opinion. I like my slide and my b&w and my IR film. It isn't enjoyable to me at all to try to insert personality into a shot via photoshop. I don't see why I should emulate film effects when I can just go out and do the real thing. I like thinking about a shot before it is taken, I don't like the back-heaviness of digital, the idea that you make the photo after the capture.

    I do think that people should use whatever tools allow them to express themselves. If that's digital, fine.
     
  23. buze

    buze Member

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    Digital is not such a bad thing; I wouldn't have discovered photography -- and film photography -- without buying a DSLR first.

    So despite the trend of people "upgrading" to digital, some of them "come back" and some of them even "come" to film and chemical photography...

    I started with a DSLR, and now I shoot LF, MF, 35mm, I do wet prints in silver, and I even do alternative printing... All that thanks to digital !
     
  24. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I was taught that the inclusion of the rebate was called the verification border. I print al of my personal work with the verification border showing. It is a self imposed rule that makes me work harder to produce a better image. Hardly a wank.

    IM-not so- HO the addition of the verification border also enhances the drama or formality of the format.

    jdc
    mercent banker
     
  25. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Okay, back to the original question regarding the black borders, I heard H.C-Bresson's printer was using Leitz Focomat and Omega DII for printing with the borders. Focomat can give you a little space around the frame from a neg, but some frames are slightly bigger and wider than others depending on the shooting lenses and their apertures, so it needs some adjustment. Some people do file the neg carrier for that.

    The same goes for the Omega. And the 4-blade easel is a must to cover the bleeding and keep sharp on the edges.

    But I have also created black borders on PS after scanning my photos for publication. Basically I touched up the rough edges with a stamp tool, and that looked nice. The trick is that, just like traditional darkroom printing, you need to file the neg holder/carrier used for the scanner a little bit before scanning the images and allow scanning the original edges as much as possible. Then you will have a very smooth transition.
     
  26. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    HCB was undoubtedly a brilliant photographer, and a pioneer to boot, but he wasn't perfect - no one is.
    Think of all your negs that will never go beyond contacts - he must have had his share too.
    Just because the public haven't seen them doesnt mean he didn't screw up on many images.
    I have been wondering how to get a black border on my prints recently. I don't want to hack my carrier about.
    I think I'll make up a mask for the print area, and just blast the borders to black.

    At risk of this turning into another film vs digital debate (or flame war), I started out with (and still use) a DSLR, but when I realised that the lenses would fit the film bodies that are available for peanuts, I bought a couple. Since then, I have started a darkroom, and even ventured into E6 processing. All thanks to digital.

    (although a nice little snub to digital; I was shooting an event with the digital, when the mirror drive pin wore through, rendering the camera useless.
    I was very glad of the EOS 500 and case of film in the bag that day!)