Looking for a book with print maps

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by arpinum, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. arpinum

    arpinum Member

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    Any books published showing how master printers build up a final print, writing about technique as it applies to their best prints? I've read things like Adam's The Print, but I think it would have been good for him to show what went in to making 5 or 10 or his best prints from start to finish, starting from a straight print. I've seen some great blog posts that do this, now looking for something more book length.
     
  2. tomfoo13ry

    tomfoo13ry Member

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  3. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    That is a great book, but it is more descriptive rather than visual. If you want physical diagrams of how a print is made, showing print "maps" then this is not the right book, but if you want description in words then it should be ideal.
     
  4. arpinum

    arpinum Member

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    I'm worried that book might focus much more on image capture rather than the print process.
     
  5. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    The ones that I can remember (although my memory is a bit shot after all these years) are The Master Printer's Workbook, Way Beyond Monochrome and Darkroom I & II. Darkroom I & II are out of print but I oft times see them at the usual places on the web; it was published by Lustrum Press. The others are available on Amazon. Hope that this helps. Cheers! Sam
     
  6. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Now that you mention that I think you're right.
     
  7. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    oh and I almost forgot - Variable Contrast Printing had some I think. My memory says that the Master Printer's Workbook was the best tho. Cheers, sam
     
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  8. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    "Black and White Photographic Printing Workshop" by John Bartlett. Great book on printing with maps.
     
  9. arpinum

    arpinum Member

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    Ordered "black and white: photographic printing workshop" by Larry Bartlet and Jon Tarrant. Much thanks
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Simple question

    How do you make good prints when looking at maps?:munch:
     
  12. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    OP might like the App related to the brand new Ansel Adams book. It has printing detail for several examples. Not sure if they are in the book, but I'll know soon as my copy just arrived.

    Bob, I'm assuming it's just curiosity on OP's part. It's not like you can apply someone else's print maps to your own prints, but it's both fun to see how a print you like was made, and it can also help a less experienced printer to see what is possible when it comes to manipulating a negative into a print. In my opinion that can only benefit people, as it highlights the importance of printing skill - which to me is not focused on anywhere near enough. Everyone's obsessed with trying create perfect negatives that print themselves. Great prints are not made that way, and Ansel is actually a good example because as much as he is seen as someone who made technically great negatives, many of his most popular prints were made from negatives that were substantially less than perfect. The prints succeed despite an imperfect negative. I think it this is important. Printing skill is where it's at when it comes to making great prints. You want a negative that contains the information you need (rather than just targetting a negatives that "fits" the paper scale), and then you go to work under the enlarger.
     
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  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ok I should have been more clear.

    I doubt any top end printer, at the moment of printing, with chemicals and paper out is looking at a print map.
    I think this is a myth about printmaking.

    The only thing that I ever concern myself about when making prints is the easel and the progression of moves.
    I have even gone so far as to not ever change the apeture or timer during a complicated printing session.

    I understand that seeing how others have done images can be benificial, I happen to have both Eddie Ephrams books which have a lot of
    print maps , but never would I consider walking in a darkroom and look at notes. I would lose my timing and ability to concentrate on the image.
     
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  15. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Usually we're in agreement on printing/enlarging matters, but I'm not sure I'm entirely with you on this. Suppose you pull out an old negative to print again, a complicated bitch of a negative/print with lots of burning/dodging, perhaps flashing etc. You would really rather start from scratch than have a set of reference "instructions" to follow that would at least get you to reasonably good work print relatively quickly? Of course I'm not saying you necessarily want to prefectly duplicate the way you had printed the negative before. You might tweak things, make improvements etc. But unless you are truly going to start from scratch with a completely new interpretation of the negative, why would you not want to make some use of the print plan you had originally come up with?
     
  16. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Michael

    I know what I am going to say will sound arrogant or flippant.

    But in the years I have been printing I have never made a print map.. I don't need one, it was not the way I was taught to print.
    I use a dodging tool as the weapon of mass destruction/creative manipulation, with minimal burn. What needs to be done is obvious the moment the first test print comes out.. I cannot think of one thing I would need to be reminded about.

    I have worked with hundreds of different printers in my career who were taught the same way, no print maps.

    Print maps are in books, that I know, but to think HCB , Towell, Sander, Brassai, Kertez printers followed a map to me does not ring true.
    I do not think Helmut Newtons printer would put up with that. Either the printer knew how to make an individual photographers work sing or he/she did not. There are many photographers who are good printmakers, but there are many more who are not. Bill Jay and a Magnum photographer wrote a nice little book about this very topic.
    Actually when I see reference to photographers talking this nonsense I just shrug my shoulders and smile, as the amount of photographers who get fired by printers far outweigh the amount of printers who get fired by photographers.. Just the nature of the industry.
    I have pointedly not printed for any photographers work that has been done by other printmakers, it just is not what I want to ever do.
    I prefer to walk into a darkroom with a clean slate and do the best I can and hope the photographer likes my work. I started Silver Shack in 1991 and I am still walking into a darkroom making prints so I must be doing something right.

    The idea I am trying to get across is simple, and I hope not overbearing, but I believe is very important for young printers or young to printing , understand including the OP that use your eyes and make the time at the enlarger as easy as you can, without complicating things.

    for example :lets talk about your own work the *Hallway Series* I have seen posted online ( the prints on screen look very good, but I imagine tough to accomplish), from neg's you have processed, contacted and work printed and I assume you have done quite a few, over time it becomes obvious to you what to do in the printmaking stage. I cannot imagine that the moment you see your first test print you need to look at a map to know where to go next. true/untrue?

    So I am talking about the physical moments of printmaking, sure you may have mapped out in your mind where you want your highlights and shadows density's to be, but to think you need to look off to a set of notes to tell you what to do next just does not sound logical to me.

    I have worked with so many various negatives, that just looking at the negative, gives me the starting points, after my first test print, full sheet, and looking at the easel while I print I know where I am going. If an area needs dodging or burning, I do not need a map to tell me where to go, I use my eyes, and I believe you work the same way. true/untrue? sounds like a good poll question.


    To answer your question, I do not need a print plan as there never was one in the first place.
    Yes there are many good books that go into that aspect of learning and probably valuable to some, but I think pretty dam obvious to anyone spending enough time in front of an enlarger.
    As I write this I am chuckling to myself thinking of Fred Picker and the famous 5x7 master print series that if you were lucky enough to get one and put it up in your darkroom you would see the light and become the next great printer.
    Well I fell for this one, and when I got the print, which was by far the worst rendition of snow and water and ice, this Canadian has ever seen I concluded that the only way to make good prints was to look, see what needs to be darker, what needs to be lighter, is the overall density/contrast ok, and make the print.

    Bob
     
  17. arpinum

    arpinum Member

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    Forget whether you want to be looking at notes when re-printing, I'm looking for educational material. I'd be interested in hearing any disagreements over whether they are a useful teaching tool.

    Bob, thanks for sharing. I will remember your post for quite awhile.
     
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  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Bob:

    I'm going to disagree slightly with you.

    One huge advantage you have is that you know what a good print looks like, and you know what effects you can obtain using the techniques available to you.

    If the OP is trying to improve his/her printing, it is a really useful educational tool to be able to see examples of before and after results, and a print map showing how another printer travelled that road. By mimicking the approach of others (using a similar negative) one can learn what effects can be obtained using the techniques available.

    The only real danger of learning by mimicking what other printers do, in order to learn how to do it oneself, is that one may end up trying to "see" a print in a way that is not intuitive to one's own vision.
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I think a point's being missed here.

    While I agree with Bob in always approaching a negative fresh these prints maps are important as teaching/learning aids purely as they are the only way to show how a photographer/printer has reached the final print.

    I've seen John Blakemore printing some of his better known images and he goes in fresh so over time the interpretations change, but a sketch mapping how a print is dodged and burned is the only way to put things across in publications.

    Ian
     
  20. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I was not trying to hijack your thread, as I too have the books with maps, but I am really talking to the physicality of printing.

     
  21. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Well, yes and no. Except for the absurd notion that I would qualify (haven't taken the exams yet) as a "top end printer", I make printing records only for my own use, mainly for the purpose of repeatability and scaling up of enlargements. But, true enough, they are not gospel, but mere guides to ease the printing of a previously printed negative. Every day is a new "performance" – the charm of hand made analog printing.
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ian and Matt

    I feel very strongly about the approach at the enlarger... I do agree that knowing the approach as a teaching tool in books is appropriate and valuable.

    FWIW .. on very large projects that I sometimes work on I scan the work prints and put small colour prints into a very large sketch book. I keep track of the editions , who purchased , and in one of my clients case beside the picture I write things like, when asked to print this image again , insist on printing the whole edition as this image is extremely hard , and I do not want to do a one off print again of this image.
    Or I will put down things like easy print. or hard print.

    but never do I make dodge and burn lines as that should be second nature for me at this point.

    I need to center myself on the enlarger , have my tools within reach and just get crackin.
     
  23. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I define a top end printer as one who makes their sole income from printmaking.
    I also know there are many top end printers who do not , some of them here , but my experience/comments are biased to the printers who work for others.


     
  24. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    At the Louisville, KY View Camera Conference (about 2007 or 8) Alan Ross gave a lecture/workshop on how he has worked with twenty Ansel Adams images, making 80,000 prints as of that date, using print maps. He showed examples of how he set these up so he could repeatably make those twenty images as Ansel did. He now works with Photoshop and prints digitally.

    You might check through his website to see if he published anything that would satisfy your needs. http://www.alanrossphotography.com/ansel-adams/

    John Powers
     
  25. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    After 80000 prints John I would think he would remember how to make the prints... Just saying
     
  26. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Maybe I have misunderstood the term, “printmap.”
    As I understood at the conference, and my 72 year old brain is trying to remember, Alan Ross had constructed an overlay for each of the twenty pictures that let more or less light go through in various areas, that would then achieve the AA look. How much of an over all burn he did before this and how much dancing around with dodging tools he did beyond this I don’t remember. The impression I got was there was little of the latter.

    He then said that with Photoshop this was no longer necessary. At that point I phased out thinking of the famous AA quote that the negative was the score and the print was the performance. It all felt like a cheap record after the revelation of the process.

    John P.