flipping negative in holder...OK?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Voyager, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. Voyager

    Voyager Subscriber

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    I won't be setting up the darkroom (in the bathroom!) again for a couple of weeks, but I got some proofs back from the lab, and I have a question for now. Instructions tell me to set the negative in the holder with the emulsion side down. But after reviewing the proofs, I'd like my subjects facing left, rather than facing right. So if I flip the negative, with the emulsion up--any problem (logically it seems like it shouldn't matter since the light is passing through the negative either way, but instructions are given for a reason, yes?).
     
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    AFAIK, what you suggest will cause no problems. I've done it accidentally a couple of times, and the prints seemed fine to me. Of course, doing this will create a print that's a mirror-image reversal of the original scene. It sounds like this is what you want, but it will of course cause the parts in peoples' hair to change sides, signage to read backwards, US cars to look like those sold in Britain, etc.
     
  3. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    It can make a rather large difference, depending much on the thickness of the film when you are contact printing. In terms of enlarging... I guess you are throwing the image through the film backing as opposed to having the emulsion be the last thing the light passes through on it's way to the paper. I'd do a test both ways and see if it makes a difference to you. All the best. Shawn
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Depends on how big you make the print, and how critical you are about the results. There will be some loss of sharpness and contrast. In a small print, it will not be terribly noticeable. Scale a 35mm negative up to fit 8x10 or 8x12 and the situation gets more difficult. The flaws may show more than you'd like. It's tough enough to get a really nice print that size from a 35mm negative doing things "by the book." What the heck. It will not hurt anything, so give it shot and see if it meets your expectations.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    On the one hand, it's not ideal to print through the base. On the other hand, people have been doing it for years when they've decided that the image looked better flipped. If the composition is much stronger flipped than as composed in camera, then this will be more important than the minor loss of quality that could result from printing through the base.
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    you can print the negative right side up or flopped , you just make sure you focus on the grain when printing.

    You do open up a bit of a debate about are your images real or not, *not sure I am saying this right* kind of like the old cropping vs not cropping discussion.

    Myself I would never print a flopped image of a scene of my own, and I also print full frame . Personal taste.
    I will not entertain major cropping images for clients* and I have been printing professionally for 30 years. As well I really question my client if they want me to delibertly flop an image.

    Known areas specifically landscapes in my humble opinon should never be printed flopped. As well portraits kind of creep me out if they are flopped.
    I have seen deliberate mirror imaging that creates a visual effect that is compelling but both versions of the image are present.

    Though I solarize or lith print almost 60% of my personal work, am I guilty of what I dislike in cropping and flipping images.

    How do others feel about these two issues, *major cropping, printing flopped images. enquiring minds need to know * :munch:
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If something is meant to be a documentary record, then flipping the image would contradict that goal. I don't see it as a problem, though, with a portrait, abstract, still life, macro, etc., as long as it doesn't introduce a distraction like text that reads backward.

    I don't see major cropping as an issue even with journalistic photographs. You can't always stand where you want, with the camera and lens you want, so sometimes one needs to crop.
     
  8. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I will do whatever I feel is necessary to squeeze the result I require from a negative. Anything goes, no holds barred; the end result is king. Reality left the scene when I hit the shutter button.
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Theorically it could degrade the image but I can't see the difference because I have made so many prints in that way. If that is the effect you want I say no problem.
     
  10. catem

    catem Member

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    Isn't there/ wasn't there a convention to flip portraits sometimes if the client preferred to see themselves as they see themselves (i.e. as in a mirror) rather than as the world sees them.

    It certainly is odd to see ourselves in a photograph, as others see us, in our eyes 'reversed' from our reflected image. Which begs the question in this case what is real anyway? Whose reality? Not something I've done myself though or ever been asked to do!
     
  11. Voyager

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    Thanks to all for your thoughts. I'll certainly try printing flipped and unflipped, and since there are no words in the background, flipped words is not a problem, though I hadn't even thought of it. FYI, I'm going to start another thread as to why I feel this particular negative needs to be flipped.
     
  12. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Can't really see a major problem with flipping from a technical standpoint. Having said that, I've never investigated it closely - I just don't expect any of significance.

    Far more important from my point of view are aesthetic considerations. I do not normally flip images but there's a scan of one of my postcards in the Postcard Gallery (the blue toned one...) that was flipped because I think it reads better that way. But then, that print was clearly never intended to be a realistic representation of what was in front of the camera but a purely subjective interpretation.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  13. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    i do not flip my negs because it bothers my brain when i look at the photo....my brain just keeps reminding me "that is not what it looks like".

    as for cropped images, i do not crop most of all my stuff. i would say i crop about 10%. most of my cropping comes from my travel street photography where the scene happens by quickly and i need to get ride of a distracting white car or something similar from the background.

    eddie
     
  14. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I think sometimes a shooter want to flip a neg because thats the way the image looked on the GG when it was composed and shot. I sometimes have been tempted to do that but mostly I've started to look directly at the scene long enough to get the composition going before I duck under the darkcloth.
     
  15. Voyager

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    David...good point on the documentary record, but I see this as more a portrait reflecting a condition, and I want intensify what I perceive--probably to enhance the impact.

    Catem...interesting argument. Here I have a reality, and I'm applying my art to enhance the connection. I'm not up on art theory, but I think that's what I'm doing.

    Eddie...I crop just about everything I print--not necessarily a whole lot, sometimes just a tweak. Every time I look at a photo a second or more times (mine or others) I see something slightly different. That's probably a good reason for me to stay away from Photoshop--I'd never leave the image alone.

    I'll be in the darkroom this week (wife willing). I'd love to post it (flipped and not), but my scanning/ computer skills are way worser than my photography.
     
  16. Vaughn

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    All my carbon prints are "flipped". I make "single-transfer" carbons which means the image is always flipped. I compose my images with this in mind...seeing the image already "flipped" on the ground glass makes it a bit easier.

    My images tend to be landscapes on a more intimate scale compared to the "Grand Landscape", so usually the rocks, trees and creeks I photograph are rarely identifiable as a specific place. Though I have a nice carbon of Yosemite Falls, with tourists in front of me, and an interpretive sign on the right...but left in the print. You can read the sign with a magnifying class. Sort of a nice discovery if someone takes the time to look at the print.

    What's right side up and upside down? Right and left? Our eyes build up images that are in the same orientation that we see on a view camera's ground glass. It is the software (our brain) that converts (flips) the images. In my case I know the software my brain is running on is pretty old and has a few bugs in it, more than likely. With all this flip-flopping around, I figure it doesn't make much difference which way it ends up.

    I even have some negatives I both carbon print and platinum print. One is the mirror image of the other, but each has a very different feel...from the composition to the very different characteristics of the two processes. (at least the way I print them, anyway). Which one is orientated properly? Perhaps both are.

    I don't remember ever printing/presenting an image upside down, though.

    Vaughn

    PS...I remember early in my use of view cameras, I had my head stuck under the darkcloth of a 4x5 for a long time. I distinctly remember taking the darkcloth off, straightening up and looking around me -- everything seemed to be upside down...most odd.