Film edges included in prints

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by JHannon, May 23, 2003.

  1. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    Lately, I have been noticing magazines using the rough film edge included with the photo (polaroid edges, 35mm sprockets w/ film name, alt process zigzags etc). I know some of the platinum prints are sometimes displayed to show this rough edge and I think it sometimes detracts from the print. Is this displayed to show that it is an original?

    I was just curious to see what others think about this trend and do you use this in some of your prints.

    Regards,
    John
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Henri Cartier-Bresson and others would file out their negative carriers to show that the print was an uncropped, full-frame enlargement composed entirely in the camera. Whether one regards composition in camera as a virtue is another thing, but the frame edges showed that the photographer regarded it as a virtue, perhaps a reflection of the influence of cinema on still photography.

    Now we also see this as a way of laying bare the process for the viewer, and showing that the print is a handmade thing, in addition to showing that the image was composed on the full frame in the camera.

    It's also become something of a fashion, though, so even digital images sometimes have sloppy edges Photoshopped in for the sake of funkiness.

    If there's a real idea behind the use of the frame edges, I don't mind it. If it's just to be hip, well, that's kind of shallow.
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Sprocket holes included on prints are so overdone. It was hip several years ago, now it is just sad... kind of like 1/2 the cloths in my closet.

    Brian
     
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    well, I hope you still like my postcard bmac... the postcard I printed for the exchange is the first print I've ever made that included the edges of the negative, but I'd like to think I had a reason. The image has a lonely feel to it and I needed to enclose the image, but the sky reagion is blank due to no clouds and no filter (black and white film) therefore printing with a black border seemed to work.
     
  5. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Forget it, have the mailman tear it up! jk, I'm sure your postcard will be great!
     
  6. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I view "rough edges" as merely a an aesthetic decision.

    Personally I find it overdone by many. I mean you don't need to do it ALL THE TIME. For some it seems a personal mission to use every single edge in their copy of "Ted's Big Collection of Funky Edges for Photoshop".

    At other times though it really works. Personally I find it the best when used appropriately on alternative processes. I've seen Pd/Pt prints that had the brush strokes left on and it really looked nice. In part because the deep black of the brush strokes helped to frame the image. It also appeals to me when the image itself has a very soft "painted" feel to it.

    Otherwise I think 90% ofthe time edges are best left to contact sheets.
     
  7. jansenh

    jansenh Member

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    For 35mm or 6x6 streetphoto style shooting I prefer to have a black border around the image - it is a fundamental statement about the uncropped real thing, about the unaltered capture of a moment. When enclosing an image in its negative border the moment captured are transfered to the next stage in the photographic process - the printmaking. Yes, it is for esthetic reasons, like everything else in photography. A matter of personal taste & choice.

    I don't care very much for the rough borders, nor the sproc-holes either. Just a fine thin black border around the image. My Picture A Week theme includes several prints I have made this way: http://www.henning-jansen.com/portfolios/PAW2003/
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have nothing against black borders as a "fundamental statement about the uncropped real thing". I do that myself occasionally.

    What I do NOT like is when all the photos in a book have the same frame number, or when colour photos seem to have been shot on BW film...

    I have a book of Annie Leibowitz' photos. Several of the pictures presented there - with "film frame" - have been published elsewhere in different (larger) crops.

    Now THAT is blatantly fake. I do not like that at all.
     
  9. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Now THAT is blatantly fake. I do not like that at all.[/quote]

    I have worked with 2 well established members of Magnum in the past and both told me that Cartier-Bresson did sometimes use a small section from a larger format negative and have his printer put the black border around the image. It is well documented that Bresson never cropped his images. I'm mystified as to why such a gifted image maker should feel it necessary to bend the truth. I don't care whether an image is full frame or cropped, the important thing is the image and Cartier-Bresson certainly made some of the outstanding images ever made.

    As for black borders, IMO they are a fashion and a dreadful affectation and add nothing to an image.
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Black borders can be nice on some images, IMHO. But they don't need frame numbers or sprocket holes - and certainly not the same frame number on a whole production...
     
  11. mvjim

    mvjim Member

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    "I have a book of Annie Leibowitz' photos. Several of the pictures presented there - with "film frame" - have been published elsewhere in different (larger) crops.

    Now THAT is blatantly fake. I do not like that at all." Quote.

    Since I have printed much of Annie's work I would be interested in which images you are speaking of? If you are talking of images that might have been reproed in various magazines, you should know that the photographer rarely has control over what the art director/editor desires. And as a side note her name is spelt LEIBOVITZ.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorry 'bout the spelling - you're right of course.

    I don't have a magazine at the moment, but I remember I got the magazine at the same time as the book: "Photographs ANNIE LEIBOVITZ 1970-1990".
    And the tighter crop with added "frames" is in the book...
     
  13. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Sloppy frames (as I call them) seem to be in style again. I sometimes leave them in when contact printing, sometimes I take a scissors to them and cut them off the sides. 35mm sprocket holes on an enlargement however make no sense to me... they are ugly and distracting. I don't really care if a person's final print is "as it was shot", or carefully cropped. As much as we all try to do our framing and "cropping" in-camera, there are always times that a better composition will occur to us in the darkroom.
     
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  15. mvjim

    mvjim Member

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    OLETJ,

    Actually this is one of the projects i worked on with Annie and none of the images were cropped.
    But getting back to the Black boarder. One use for including it on prints is that, if the prints are to be ove rmatted, the black boarder allows you to matt right up to the edge of the image area and helps eliminate the chance of the white paper showing when the print is viewed from the side.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are some amusing Photoshopped framelines in an ad in the current issue of _The New Yorker_ (2 June 03), following p. 42. The ad is for a group of resorts. There are four views, each a 6x7 transparency, RDP, numbered sequentially, of four different locations. So if we believe them, the photographer used either shot these views at least 10 years ago or using old Fujichrome 100 that long out of date, went to each location, took one shot, and went to the next location for the next shot. Must have used bulk 70mm film, too, since the frames are numbered from 33-40 (645 numbering).
     
  17. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Seems to me Fuji film has a separate set of numbers for each format on their 120 film. The 40 series is for 645 format I believe. I thought those started with 40 though - maybe you are right about the 70mm.
    I don't shoot much Fuji 120 any more. When I do shoot color, I like Kodak VC for 120. (OK NC for portraits once in a while - god help me if I have to do another wedding)
    Frank
     
  18. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Frank - God can't help you if you do a wedding as you are already in hell. :smile:

    I just dropped off a CD for some Frontier prints (I know....I know...but at least it is REAL photographic paper....besides I needed the stuff in a hurry....), and the guy behind the counter said "Do you want borders with that?" and proceeded to try and show me the "Big Book of Borders" they have.

    Ick.
     
  19. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Indeed
     
  20. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    IMHO, when it's in a magazine, the sprocket hole thing is more of a page layout graphic design decision [gimmick?] than a photographic one. Often they are shamelessly phony and overused. On the other hand, when Avedon exhibits his series of plain, straight-forward portraits in which he enlarges the entire sheet of film, notches and holder marks included, it is a creative decision that creates a connection between the photographer or at least the medium to the image and it's subject. It is no longer a print of the subject, it is a print of a photograph of the subject.

    From a personal presentation standpoint, I feel that a thin Black border around a printed image serves to separate any fine light tones that are adjacent to the edges of the image from visually running off into the border or White matte. I used to print it in in the darkroom but now I use that Black core matte board so that a bevel cut produces a defining Black line inside the white matte.

    Neal
     
  21. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    One of the reasons for starting this topic was a photograph I saw in the New Yorker (May 26,2003 P 101). It shows a very nice B&W photograph by Mary Ellen Mark of Paul Reiser, Kate Blumberg and Skipp Sudduth, but the edges of the photo look like a polaroid or someone holding a photo on a copy machine with the edges lifting. Looks like the photo is about 4X5" maybe a LF camera with a polaroid back?

    I wonder if a photographer has any control over how the work is presented once it is sold to a magazine...
     
  22. lee

    lee Member

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    What you may see, if the shot was made on Polaroid's P/N film, is the film displaying some edge marking that sorta look like little circles. It is sorta hard to explain but it is where the film and the paper print are touching and it leaves a mark or marks on the film edges. There are advocates that print the whole negative and leave the marks as part of the image. I think it is supposed to tell the viewer that, "this is an uncropped image and this is the way I saw it and this is the way I shot it". I have mixed opinions about this practice.

    lee\c
     
  23. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I wonder if a photographer has any control over how the work is presented once it is sold to a magazine...[/quote]

    In the 10 years that I've been writing for magazines I've had many arguments with designers who say their job is to make the best use of the space available and I've generally found that they have little sympathy for the photographers ideas or images. I've had landscape format images cropped to upright simply to fit the space the designer had left on the page, ruining the image in the process. I'm not sucking up to Ailsa but I've never had any issues with the way in which my images have been shown in Black and White Photography. Perhaps you would like to comment Ailsa, not on my images, but the editors position on a potentially emotive subject.

    My experience with book publishers has also been fraught with problems on printing across gutters, bleeding off the edge of the page, having text across the image and key lines, for I hate them all. My current book very nearly did not make it to press because of the issues I mentioned. It was not until I said that I would cancel the contract that the issue was resolved in my favour.
     
  24. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    Thanks Lee, That must be what was used. It just seemed a bit odd to use.



    Les, it is too bad the photographer and magazine layout designers can't work together or at least allow the photographer to see a rough copy for correction. (especially when it is your own book) :smile:.

    It reminds me of a Beethoven score (9th symphony) that was auctioned off for $4M recently. It was from his copyist and it contained the composer's own handwritten revisions and notes some raging about the errors. He wrote in one section "du verfluchter Kerl!" ("you damned fool!"), apparently for an error.

    So I guess these problems have been going on for a while....
     
  25. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Yeah, but with Beethoven, every complaint fell on deaf ears....
     
  26. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    :roll: :D