Flipping the negative

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by mark, May 28, 2005.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    I composed a shot, set up the camera, focused it and the backward image on the GG was a much better composition. I felt the lines flowed much better in the reversed state. If this image was not of Animas Forks CO ( a rather well known ghost town above Silverton) I would have no problem printing the neg emulsion side up. The problem is I set out to try and give the viewer a sense of place with this image. Now do I flip the neg and print an inaccurate vision that skews the sense of place for the viewer; or do i stick to reality? Will the viewer, if they were familiar with location, become hung up on the inaccurate portrayal of the location?

    I am not asking you folks what i should do. I am just describing the situation I am in. This got me thinking about a problem with photographing a well known subject. I was wondering about your thoughts regarding the following two questions:

    Think as a viewer of photographs, not as a photographer (I know it is hard). If you saw a photograph of a building or area that you were familiar with, printed in the reverse, would you get hung up on the innacuracy of the portrayal or would you be able to see past it? DO you feel the average, non-artist/non-photographer would be able to see past the innacuracy of the representation if they were familiar with the location?

    Just curious
     
  2. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I think it often interesting to use a mirror to view our familiar surroundings and see them in a whole new perspective.

    For those of us that shoot portraits we run into this a lot. When people see pictures of themselves they are often shocked. They have spent their lives seeing themselves in the mirror (which is of course backwards) and now seeing themselves as others do, is completely different.

    If you are documenting a scene, then you probably shouldn't flop it but if it's your picture and your "vision" then you could print it upside down if you wanted to.

    For instance if you shoot in parts of the southern United States you have to print it backwards because that's how the people are.

    Michael
     
  3. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Just my opinion but it's your image your vision.The location image should be a look into how you the photographer sees the place.If the image is done in BW it's already taken partly out of reality,if done in IR even more so-it dosn't make the image less valid.If you made the image in a large pool of water as a reflection only would the image be any less accurate-no because it's how you envision the final image.I say go for it.

    just my 2 cents
    Jim
     
  4. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    If you have an itch...scratch it...it may feel good!

    Murray
     
  5. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I agree it's your image, your vision, your art, your choice ...Flip It !!
     
  6. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    You are rendering a three dimensional subject in two dimensions. You very likely are depicting a color subject in monochrome. So what's so bad about filpping the negative. It's just another form of interpretation.

    If you were constrained by rigid documentation rules (a la HABS), then you might have to be more literal. But if you are making art, you can do anything you want to do.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    I was asking if you guys think a viewer would get hung up on the fact that the image of a location they know well is backward.
     
  8. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    .em rehtob t'ndluow tI
     
  9. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Many of the classic paintings of Vienna have buildings reversed or moved around and few people notice. Possibly it will make the pictures more eye catching because many people will know there is something different, but not be able to pub their finger on exactly what.
     
  10. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Blansky wrote:

    "For instance if you shoot in parts of the southern United States you have to print it backwards because that's how the people are."

    Michael,

    I want you to know that I resent the hell out of this remark. I can just see what is coming. The next thing you'll probably mention is that I married my cousin Maybelle and I have an old washing machine in my front yard.
     
  11. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    ...on the porch, not the front yard. I grew up in Kentucky. I know about these things.
     
  12. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Donald, we all know that it wasn't your COUSIN Maybelle, she was in fact your sister. Everyone just called her your cousin so that you could stay respectable.

    And how about your kids that sit out on the porch all day and night listening to music. Well it isn't really music it's just your idiot daughter Frankie with the tit growing out of her forehead banging an aluminum pail on her head to the tune of Smoke on the Water, while your twin sons ( well we'll call them sons, cause we can't think of what else we would call them-- so close enough) swing back on the forth on the porch swing so hard that they bash themselves into the house like a couple of crash dummies.

    And no you don't have a washing machine in your front yard cause there isn't room. The entire disaster area is covered with your awesome collection of old cars and trucks in various stages of rust and decay. But of course you like it that way because nobody will be snooping around looking for the remains of Maybelle who you planted there after you caught her with your brother Skeeter having it on in the front seat of your prized 62 Studebaker, which by the way you've been threatening to restore to its original splendor for the last 25 years.

    I'm sorry you're offended but calling you backward is indeed a compliment.



    Michael
     
  13. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Good thing you don't live in Tasmania!
     
  14. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Now _THAT'S_ what you call the deep South.
     
  15. Bill Mobbs

    Bill Mobbs Member

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    Only two questions.... Why do you wish to insult me? What terrible thing have I done to you?
     
  16. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    I was contemplating this very thing a few hours ago.

    I'm about to take up wetplate collodion and if I make ambrotypes or ferrotypes instead of negatives and subsequent albumen prints, the images will all be mirror images of reality. I was thinking sitters for ambrotypes, tintypes, and daguerreotypes must have been very pleasantly surprised when seeing their likeness on a plate. None of that "It doesn't look like me" stuff modern portraitists have to put up with.

    As photographers, how many of us hate to have our own picture taken? Perhaps we subliminally realize there is dissonance in what we perceive in the image and how we feel about the truth quality of Photography when viewing photographs of ourselves vs our familiar mirror images.

    For awhile I used a medium-format TLR and could never get used to it. The flipped image might look good on the ground glass, but when I had the print in hand, the composition was usually off and I hardly ever printed anything from that camera until I obtained a prism finder for it.

    As far as your dilemma, I suppose you should just go with your gut feeling and print how it looks best to you as an image.

    Here's an interesting contemporary daguerreotype by Charlie Shreiner. I got a huge grin out of it.

    Joe
     
  17. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Why not print in both ways and mount the together on the same mat so that the edges touch one another? Might be very interesting.
     
  18. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    Yeah Donald,
    Don't despair, though! If you just save up enough money you could get an operation and become one o' them there transtesticles. On your way out of the hospital you could pick up a pair of Birckenstocks (SP?) and decide to stop eating meat and taking showers. After awhile maybe you would find someone who thought you were "deep" enough to front you a couple of pounds of wacky weed. If you should happen onto a used car lot that had an old, rusty VW van you might trade a little of your stash for it. Then you could be on your way to "Wine Country in Northern California!" :smile:

    At least stereotypes can be a fun double-edged sword! :smile:

    And I know, I know. I'm moving back to Wyoming and I've heard all the sheep jokes, so please don't hit me with 'em unless it's something new and creative.

    Bruce

    PS - Thanks for the advice on the Zone VI VC enlarger, Michael. For now I'm going to go with a Metrolux timer (at least, once my move is done and I build my big, fancy new darkroom!) and I will be anxiously awaiting your report on the LED head.
     
  19. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Member

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    Many etchings - Baroque and rennaisance - are reversals of the original architecture-by virtue of the process-
     
  20. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I know a fine photographer doing just that. He flips an 8 x 10, trims and mounts them perfectly to make an 8 x 20 diptych which looks like one photograph. The final effect can be stunning.
     
  21. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    A few years ago somebody had this theory that a human face had a good side and a darkside. So the experiment was you take a picture full face, straight on evenly lit and print in say 8x10. Then you flop the negative and print another one. Lets call the normal one Print A and the flopped one Print B. Then you take and cut each one in half right down the nose.

    Next you take the right half away from Print A and put it on the right side of Print B while doing the same with Print B, putting the right half on Print A.

    So what you now have is Print A with only one side of the face making up the whole face and Print B is the same.

    So the theory is that on one you look like a bad person and the other you look like your good self.

    It's easier to do than it is to explain.

    I don't think the theory was ever proven to be correct.

    Michael
     
  22. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    Interesting... "No, don't shoot that side, that's my EVIL side!" :smile:

    Bruce