My personal project: printing it all!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by NB23, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    I've been shooting and printing for 20 years now. I'm 36, started at 14, buried myself in the darkroom ever since I was 16. I remember fluctuating from prefering to shoot, then prefering to print... all until I was about 25 where I stopped Printing every 4 negs at a time. That was a bad decision because once you stop the cycle the negs pile up and then you just let it go for that "one day when I'll print them all".

    About 3 years ago I decided I'd start from new: print all my negatives from the very beginning, one by one, baby steps. My rough calculations was that it would take me about 10 years of regular printing to finish it off.
    I chose to print all my stuff on FB paper. First, all on 8x10, then the better ones would get pri ted on 11x14 also. The even better ones on 16x20 and 20x24.

    Finally, my baby steps are paying off. I printed about 1500 8x10, 1500 11x14, 500 16x20 and 150 20x24 (My plans changed along the way and decided I'd go to 11x14 straight). Each and every print is done with the best of my abilities, all archival grade, all on a beautiful focomat IIc (which accepts xpan negatives! What a JOY!!!).
    I'm at about 1/5 through this personal project and I couldn't be happier. There's nothing like having your own bunker.

    The morale of this story? Consistant Baby steps ARE giant steps.
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am very impressed.. make sure you put these prints away with care, and sign and number them all..
     
  3. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Great project!

    I've made this same decision to go with 11x14. That's a good way to see consistent style and quality.

    Though I am miles and miles behind...
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Bazinga:smile:
     
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  5. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    What I meant by "every negative, one by one" was more like "every roll, one by one". I've got about 5 to 15 keepers per roll when on personal assignments and about 2-3 when shooting street stuff around my city and the kids.
    I found that the XPan particularly suits my vision as the number of keepers is very high. i brlieve it's the best tool for photojournalism photography. Seeing xpan images printed on 16x20 and 20x24, full frame right in the center with the black birder and leaving the white paper as a frame is quite spectacular.
    My wife likes my photography and she always told me that I had to do something with it. Well now I'm filling a room with boxes. Sge's nit so happy anymore :smile:
     
  6. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    My Dad did something like that in the late 80's. He had been taking photos since the late 20's. He did 3 1/2 X 5 prints and put them in albums, identified so he could go back to the negatives. Sort of a filing system. Took him a few years. At least now, if I want to print one of his negatives, I can go back and find it.
     
  7. Maris

    Maris Member

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    That's similar to the pact I made with myself years ago except I really meant every exposure on every roll and every sheet would be taken through the full process to the best gelatin-silver positive I could make. The sequence of photographs, mistakes, bloopers, and "masterpieces", is the work itself. And everything is archivally processed, stamped, dated, titled, and signed.

    Perhaps the most valuable consequence of such a personal pact is the moment of pause it prompts before I commit to an exposure: Do I really want this particular image badly enough to spend the dollars on materials and do the darkroom hours? A lot of the time the right answer is no.
     
  8. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    The first important step seems to have very good contact sheets of all the films. With a powerful loupe (around 5x) you get good impression how the real image would look like.
     
  9. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    You have my complete unwavering admiration.
     
  10. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    You are probably sarcastic and BS'ing me (I know I would, just for the kicks :smile:). Still, it's all good.
    The worst part will indeed be to number all the prints and file all the negatives in a logical, intelligent way. And then digitizing all the prints. Huge headaches ahead. Funny enough, the biggest and most boring task will indeed be the digital part. Yuk.
     
  11. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Agreed, mine lives in a small bag ( A&A Oskar's One Day ) that used to be for my two body, 4 lens Leica set that I mostly sold off. Now it shares that bag with a lone M3 and 50/2, ten rolls of Tri-X and a tiny Gossen Digisix meter. The prints are to die for!
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I do not think he is.

    I am doing the exact thing you are doing except I have started this project a bit different.
    Over the last three years I have made high resolution scans of all my negatives. I did eliminate some.
    I just finished last month and now my wife is starting to do the same thing.
    Next is to pick the process for final printing of each series .. some I plan to make enlarger prints, even though I have the scan, others I want to make small platinums and carbons.
    The colour work is all slated for a mixture of gum and carbon for both my wife and my colour negs and slides.

    The moment we feel that Silver Paper is going to be either crazy expensive or hard to get we buy the big walk in freezer with a few of our friends and bring in enough for 10 years of printing.
    What is quite amazing is that you are doing this at a younger age, I am nearing 60 and wish I had done what you are doing now.
    For me it will be fun to print everyday for myself and not worry about whether the client will like the print as I will be the client.

    I plan to keep the edition numbers small on my general work and when I print I will print the edition.
    My solarizations are a bit bigger edition so editing to what I think is my very best work is the hardest part.

    Back up your storage in a couple of ways... trust me on this one.



     
  13. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    Oh no, Dude, I am totally serious. I have close to 50 years of negatives, mostly unprinted. I wish I had you determination. I agree about the digital part. It can be mind numbing.
     
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  15. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Now THIS should be called The Impossible Project. Kudos for your diligence and persistence.
     
  16. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Not really impossible. Twenty fine 11x14 prints a week and at the end of the year you've got yourself 1000 Prints. Don't quit for a few years and soon enough you realize you're hooked and on your way to get through it all...
    Money might be a problem, though.
     
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Where are you located.
    I would like to see some of these prints someday.
     
  18. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    Don't tell Bob where you live!


    Trust me.

    FWIW, I as well, admire you for undertaking this task.
     
  19. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ohhh so the dormant slug has risen... where have you been all this time??
     
  20. padraigm

    padraigm Member

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    Yes I am very impressed well done. I am doing something slightly similar. I am only posting printed material for a least a year. If its worth showing it's worth printing.
     
  21. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Slowly but surely
     
  22. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    How do you like his photography? Must be something to look at, after all the years have passed.
     
  23. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Now that's impressive!

    In my case, printing all this stuff has slowed my shooting down a little bit so I'm slowly catching up. I still got some 5 years of insane darkroom work before I'll have fully catched up.
    I realized that 20 rolls of film are enough to keep me printing for a year: different sizes, different processes, different takes, different papers. It's a disease, but a nice one. And the results are what's driving us...
     
  24. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Now this is one area I'm lacking. Contact sheets are very important but I have the bad habit of looking at the negs directly. I believe it's not all that bad since it helps me see and interpret a print differently.
     
  25. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    I'm keeping them in the original boxes, as simple as that.
    Do you recommend something better? Are the original boxes (Ilford...) too acidic?
    Numbering the prints? Geez, now one more thing I have to do. It never ends :smile:
     
  26. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Yes!

    My best prints are from the Xpan. Probably because it's a medium format, thus the tonality is great while the format is sexy.