Non-contact alt processes

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by DrPablo, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    I shoot almost exclusively 4x5, and it will be a while before I get a larger format.

    I'm intrigued by many of the alt processes, but many of them require contact printing and UV light sources. A 4x5 CP is too small to make many of these processes worthwhile.

    So what alternative processes could I try starting from a 4x5 neg (or an enlarged print of whatever size)? Bromoil looks interesting to me. But I'm all ears for other ideas.

    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  2. colivet

    colivet Member

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    A 4x5 CP is too small to make many of these processes worthwhile. I used to think like that. Not any more. Actually there is something very special about them, but, don't listen to me, only you know what works for you.

    I guess you could shoot tmax and use the reversal chemistry to make a positive and then use that one to make an enlarged negative and voila, any process is possible then.
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Don't discount 4x5 as a format for alt process. They are really little diamonds, for instance the sharpness of a well executed 4x5 inch silver gelatin contact print is mesmerizing, and the small size means you get to learn for less, when you head to alt process. I recommend starting with cyanotype (cheap and easy) and then move on to what floats your boat. I have seen truly beautiful pt/pd contact prints that didn't need to be any bigger.

    (Of course any foray into contact printing leads first to an 8x10, and then over the cliff :D)
     
  4. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    For 4X5 try liquid emulsions. Check out Martin Reed & Sarah Jones book Silver Gelatin:a users guide to liquid emulsions for some ideas. I've watered down the commercial liquid emulsions for an almost B&W watercolor effect.
     
  5. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Bromoil would be the most interesting for me. It does not require a lot of equipment and it is a very hands on process. Carbro is another alt process that you might consider, in some ways similar in concept to bromoil, but more complicated to work.

    However, you really should consider learning to make enlarged negatives. At this point in time I would recommend that you work digitally (see http://www.hybridphoto.com/forums/) but there are still viable ways to make good enlarged negatives with wet processing methods.

    Sandy King
     
  6. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    small prints

    This is a total mistake to think that the smaller (4x5) prints do not work for contact priniting. I've done may 4x5 contacts in my lifetime and yes they are truly jewels. Many moons ago when I did a Zone VI workshop in Vt. we were shown some 2 1/4x21/4 contacts that were equally impressive. Don't go by what the gallereies are currently showing and by what's in vogue at the moment. Besides as the above posters have mentioned you can get your feet wet in the meantime. I actually started out with a 5x7 camera(a great compromise and not that expensive!!) and ONLY did contact printing for many a year. Funny because I only care to do contact priniting now...
    Best, Peter
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    4x5" and even smaller alt-process prints can be really beautiful. I often carry a small album of 4x5" and one 6x6cm albumen prints in my bag when I'm out shooting to use when people ask me what I'm doing with that funny camera.

    It's not that hard to make enlarged negs on ortho film when you want to print larger. There are a couple of threads on this topic.

    As I do more albumen printing, I've been thinking of sending some of my smaller format film to DR5 for reversal processing, so I can make enlarged negs without going through the interpositive step. Some people use reversal processing to make the interneg from an original neg, but starting from a positive has the attraction of being self-proofing like color transparencies.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have often thought about making a larger format negative on ordinairy monochrome film from a colour transparency. Has anyone done this?

    Steve.
     
  9. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    4x5 contacts can be real gems in and of themselves. Plus its wayyyy less expensive to learn on 4 x 5! Easier to coat too...

    Alternative suggestions above are great - making larger digital negs.

    Bromoil sounds like a really neat process.

    You could sell your 4 x 5 and purchase an 8 x 10 with a reducing back? Best of both worlds?
     
  10. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Echoeing David Goldfarb's response, I have alot of B&W slides from Agfa Scala; & have made some 8X10 negatives from them. Very easy process. Works very well with higher contrast film such as J&C Pro 100 (& it was cheap too ;-) Have done Kallitypes from the resulting negs.
     
  11. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I will second the idea that 4x5 images can be very beatiful things. Also learning these alt processes is much easier with small negatives.

    There is also the possibility of creating images with multiple 4x5 negatives (3 in a row for a 5x12 or 4x15 image, for example).

    Another possibility is to use 8x10 or larger litho fim in a homemade box pinhole camera for alt processes. I mean, if one is to go into alternative processes, one might as well start thinking in terms of alternative images!

    Vaughn
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is a good point. It can be much harder to get an even coating over a larger surface than over a smaller surface, depending on the process. It's convenient to be able to work out issues like negative density as well in a smaller format.
     
  13. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Many of Weston's best prints are platinum contacts from 4X5 negatives. They are generally framed with heavy mats in 8X10 frames.

    As for other possibilities, bromoil and carbro both make use of bromide enlargements.
     
  14. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Another related process would be bromoil transfer where the original print is inked up and then pressed onto another (watercolour) paper to make a print. It could even be used for a (limited) edition of prints.

    A 4x5 on plain silver paper is a beauty to behold. Make a daguerrotype style case for it and could be even more treasure-like. :smile:
     
  15. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    This is all very encouraging to read. I really appreciate the thoughts. I do have some "series" of 4x5 negs that could be presented as a group of contacts.

    Other than bromoil, carbro, and things like toning and lith printing, what other alternative processes can be done with an enlargement?