Do you like reprinting old negs?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by thefizz, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on printing negatives that they have made prints from before.

    I am much more excited when printing new negatives and find it hard to motivate myself to revisit negs already printed. Even when its an order from someone to purchase a print, I find it more a chore if I don't have the particular print already made.

    While I do accept that the print can be improved or done differently to how you made it in the past, and this has worked for me, I still don't get very excited by it.

    Anyone else feel this way or do you love doing reprints?

    Peter
     
  2. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I love discovering forgotten gems in old negatives.
    I love reprinting old negatives as well.
    I love seeing work of mine with a different eye and a better technique.
    I am still learning after all.
     
  3. AmandaTom

    AmandaTom Member

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    Definitely a chore for me. The only old negs I like printing are ones that I didn't print at the time for some reason (usually too much of a backlog).
     
  4. arealitystudios

    arealitystudios Member

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    I love printing old negatives.

    It's really interesting to me to see how my tastes in printing change over the years by comparing the same negative printed during different times of my life.
     
  5. memorris

    memorris Member

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    I don't care for printing old negs. Usually have more new work than time to print and would rather explore those.

    But on the occasions where I sell a print from an old neg. it is interesting to see how my eye and technique have changed.
     
  6. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I think this is my problem also.
     
  7. KWhitmore

    KWhitmore Member

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    I do like printing old negatives. Older work can show whether your style has changed over the years or remained the same...or if your technique has improved. (shooting or printing) Sometimes images become more interesting as time goes on. Some of my favorites are from the first few rolls of b&w I shot. (Zero technique...all chance) :smile:
     
  8. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I think it's easier in a sense to reprint old negs and improve upon them since you already have a basic print map that got you your most recent print. I too enjoy improving a print. It may take 3 or 4 sessions for me to get a final print from a negative. Once the final print is reached, I will usually leave the negative alone, or until my technique gets better or my eye changes and I want to improve. The important thing is to keep notes!
     
  9. sage

    sage Member

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    I don't mind when it is something that I know that I am able to print better now from things learned, but its been awhile since new negatives have been availible since I haven't processed anything for some time. So with a tube accumulating rolls of film to run at some point, I'm quickly becoming eager to move on to all the photos I haven't seen before.
     
  10. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I often come back to old negatives when I feel that I didn't get it right the first time.
    Sometimes it takes years to arrive at the conclusion that the negative could yield a better print.
    Sometimes I have to realise that the earlier print was the best I could get from the negative, but sometimes I get it right.
     
  11. AmandaTom

    AmandaTom Member

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    The one exception is when I go back to a negative from which I was unable to get a decent print because of lack of skill. I have one particular image that I really like and have tried printing 2 or 3 times but the results suck so I am waiting till I have more experience.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes I enjoy going back and printing old negatives, usually I only do this for an exhibition or print sales. All my prints in an exhibition are printed to a set of standard sizes and all on the same paper, that paper has changed over the years.

    A few prints change re-printing 20 odd years later, many stay much the same I never deliberately re-interpret. I don't normally go back through old negatives just for the sake of it, like others I have plenty of new work in progress but I have been assembling work for a retrospective exhibition and I find this quite alarming, I find looking at past work scares me.

    Here's an example of a changedv image 20 years later, first print Record Rapid, new print Forte Polywarmtone. This is the most extreme difference so far :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ian
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I print old negatives when there is a photograph that I want more prints of. I also go back a try new things that I learned on old photographs, especially the one I could not get to print.

    The new negatives are exciting and I usually print those first unless there is a particular photograph that I need.

    Steve
     
  14. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Exactly the way I feel. I like to start fresh with each "old" neg, and not review my old printing notes. In almost every case, my style has changed, and seldom are prints from different "generations" alike. Plus, my "eye" has also changed, and some old negs that I didn't like, or didn't like the resulting print, are now some of my favorites.
     
  15. la.triglia

    la.triglia Member

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    For me “old negatives” means even 40 yrs ago. It is exciting re-enter in those atmospheres with the enlarger and to find something not evaluated enough at that time. Materials and equipment today are different and results also. I cannot say that today is better, probably not, but to bring at new life things and faces that I remember as if is today is not only tenderness but also a small revenge for the time.
     
  16. AFlood

    AFlood Member

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    Ive been trying to lith print an 'old' negative for my university portfolio for the last couple of weeks. Its so frustrating. I haven't got a work flow sorted out yet, and cannot seem to get comfortable in my bathroom darkroom. I do a perfect 12.5x8 cm and then when I try to scale it up to a full size print i just cant get it right. AAAAh. I hate being a perfectionist.
     
  17. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I do like printing old negatives. Sometimes, it's because I have the negative, but no print survives. Other times it's because I like to re-interpret it. Still other times, it's because I love digging out some old memory and presenting it to the principles in the photograph many years later just to see the reactions.
     
  18. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Living with a print for a long time and revisiting it is like learning a piece of music and letting it percolate for a while. It plays on the imagination, and a new conception is sometimes generated by subsequent influences. I often play with scans in photoshop long after a darkroom print has been made and even exhibited to see what else I could have done with it as my vision evolves and grows. I am unapologetic in the use of a digital tool to inform my analog process because it quickly and immediately offers alternatives that may or may not work in the darkroom. It's very interesting to think through a new approach that is suggested by the glib digital preview, and then make it work in the darkroom. To not do so, for me, is to abandon repertoire. I think most artists in a multitude of mediums and disciplines do something similar. Certainly, performing artists do it all the time...it's inescapable.
     
  19. AmandaTom

    AmandaTom Member

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    I have found that some negatives scan better than they print and that really frustrates me. I also think that that may be because I have not yet attained sufficient skill to replicate what I see on the screen. I have been known to consult a scan before going to the darkroom--I find it a double edged tool though when I cannot achieve what I know is possible.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i enjoy reprinting old negatives
    because with the time that has passed
    i can see what i originally saw much better ...
     
  21. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Revisiting old negatives is fun. I think differently now than I did 40 years ago, and my prints show it. I find I did some better work than I thought years ago, also did some pretty bad work.
     
  22. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I don't often print my old negs, usually I keep at it the first time, until I get it right.
    Although there have been times when I've given up and had to revisit at a later date - more experience and less stress can work wonders!!

    But if for some reason I need a creative boost or just want to try something new, I'll get out a favourite neg and start experimenting. It's always interesting to see where I started and where I end up, even if the second print run yields some pretty awful results. :wink:
     
  23. Wyno

    Wyno Member

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    I have started reprinting some of my old negs now that my technique has expanded and, I hope, improved. People who have seen the results side by side with the old ones have commented that they like the new ones better. That makes me feel it's been worthwhile.
    Mike
     
  24. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    My 14-year old B&W triptych, "The Moorings", printed to Ilford FB paper from Delta 100 negs, has been reprinted over 12 editions, all but 3 eds selling in a variety of frames as per customer requests (with one Greek couple asking that the frames be given a roughened, weathered look and stained puffin blue to remind them of old fishing boats back home in Greece!). Unsurprisingly, the negatives for this production are precious (i.e. in a Bank deposit box). Our family has negatives from the 1940s (including several of my late father in uniform as a Leading Aircraftsman in WWII) and into the 1980s when I, as the only person stepping forth with a burgeoning interest in photography, switched to reversal (Kodachrome 200), with only occasional use of B&W negative film. One day... I don't know when... we'll have to get some of these printed.