paper negatives

Discussion in 'Paper Negatives' started by jnanian, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    why is it you shoot paper negatives again ?

    why is it you shoot paper negatives again ?

    dangit!

    there was supposed to be a poll but my 30year old apple computer i guess
    is having troubles ...

    the poll said "why do you shoot paper negatives"

    convenience?
    fun?
    ease?
    speed?

    or some other reason ...


    me?

    i have a lot of paper and i have limited funds to spend on materials
    so i have learned to make due with the materials that i have.

    lots of different ways to "deal" with a paper negative ...

    traditionally by exposing it at whatever iso it is you expose it at
    and develop and fix it to get a negative, and then maybe to either electrify it (shhh! )
    or make a contact print onto another piece of paper or a cyanotype or whatever ...

    or by a proto-traditional method called a retina print by making a super long exposure
    and either attempting to develop and fix it, or electrifying it ( shhh! ) to get an image that way.

    either way, paper is the way for me ( hand coating with emulsion too ) ...

    what about you?
     
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  2. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Are you referring to when people use the paper as a negative for other processes? I'm not knowledgeable about that.

    For using paper directly in-camera for the final image, and maybe merely contacting it for a positive... why not?
    Because it's fun?

    I've only tried some Harmon Direct Positive paper thus far. I quite enjoyed it.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi truzi

    sure, using paper instead of film for a negative to be either enlarged, or duplicated by electronic means or xeroxed
    or contact printed onto another light sensitive material.

    i've never enlarged them, but have had success making translucent by using parafin and heat ...
    i put the negative face down on something warm ( i use a cookie sheet with aluminum foil on my electric stove )
    and rub wax onto the back of the print ... and slowly rubbing it into the print with paper towel ... then turning it over
    and doing the same ... by the end of the waxing you can see through it, sort of ... at least much better than before ...

    it's funny, most people think you can only bother with paper negatives for pinhole or large format sorts of things
    but it works just as well in a 35mm camera as it does in a 11x14 :smile:

    john

    ps. sorry the site dup'd my post and added the above stuff to a different post instead of this oe :smile:
     
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  4. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Ah, makes more sense now. When I'd replied, your post had not been edited. It only said:
    Just that one sentence, lol.

    Count my vote as "fun." Some day I will probably try more advanced paper negative work.
     
  5. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    john I have just gone and loaded an Isolette (that I broke trying to lube the shutter :sad:) with a bit of test strip I found at the bottom of a box.
    thanks for the nudge!
     
  6. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    I am putting together a 4x5 Crown Graphic camera from spare parts (my FrankenGraphic) and when I am done I intend to shoot paper negatives. The film stuff is too expensive for my tastes and wallet. And, I like the idea of shooting a one-of-a-kind original in the camera.
     
  7. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Photo paper will likely be around much longer than film.
     
  8. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I like paper negatives because they're inexpensive, can be handled under safelights, have less issues with dust and scratches than film, can be easily processed by inspection under safelights and scan easier than film.

    For printing, doing contact prints of paper negatives is only adequate, IMO. I'd rather be able to enlarge them, which would entail building an opaque enlarger head.


    ~Joe
     
  9. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I love 'em because, amongst other reasons, I have a lot of paper that I got for nothing; I dislike 'em because all that paper is FB and it's a pain in the arse to wash ... but I still love 'em for all the other reasons ... big, beautiful to handle, not what many other people are doing ... lots of reasons. I wish I had lots of RC and then I'd try reversals
     
  10. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Those are all true but they are definitely not the main reason why I'm still using paper negatives. Well... okay... if it wasn't fun I wouldn't do it, but if it wasn't fun I wouldn't be doing photography at all.

    A few years ago I found an old Kodak 1A Autographic Jr. in a box in our garage. It was my wife's grandmother's camera. I had a box of photo paper because I'd been making solargraphs. So I thought to myself... I wonder what would happen if I put some photo paper in that camera!? I made a few of what you call retina prints ( using unmentionable d161T@L device )... But then I was very surprised to find out that this was not an original idea but there were people doing this routinely. I found f295.org, and read everything APUG member Joe VanCleave wrote... and a couple days later I had a stack of pre-cut pre-flashed paper in one black envelope, a stack of pre-cut paper in another black envelope for contact printing, and I bought a changing bag.

    I had lovely prints in my hand in no time. They are awesome.

    That was the beginning of a longer journey for me... I started noticing photographs in museums that were very beautiful and very different from my "Ansel Adams"-instilled idea of what a photograph should be. I started to pay more attention to form and texture in prints, and most especially to atmosphere. I started reading more about the history of photography and appreciating what was done with ortho film. It caught my imagination and changed the way I see photography and what I want to get from photography. Since then I've acquired or made several more cameras just for using paper negatives, I got into pinhole photography as another way to use them, and most recently I started discovering more about historic processes of calotypes and salt prints... these take some of the aspects of paper negatives I really like to a new level.

    In case you can't tell, I'm very enthusiastic about using paper negatives and it is a big part of why I enjoy photography as a hobby. :D
     
  11. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Ned Ned Ned ... this is APUG ... stop enjoying yourself this instant!
     
  12. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Ha! We do sometimes forget how much fun we're having here, don't we.
     
  13. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I like to make paper negatives in camera with 19th century lenses. Although some of these may be too soft for a few photographers, this is not true of all. The speed of the paper is ideal to use with these shutterless lenses wide open. I am in the mood to make a few salted paper prints for which paper negatives are ideal so I think I will load up and get started.

    Jim
     
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  15. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    My reasons are all the above.
    I can generally process paper at any time with little prep, so paper negatives are very convenient for checking out a new camera, for example.
    They are also fun, sort of a way to channel Henry Talbot.
    I have at least one roll film camera for which the proper size film is not available, paper makes an easy way to use it.
    Aside from X-ray film, paper is probably the least expensive silver material available, so the economy is nice.
    A "diptych" I made of a negative and the positive from my brownie box got me in a juried show a couple of years ago.
    What's not to like?
     
  16. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Some paper negative selfie experimentation. Arista grade 2 RC, Pre-flashed, 2-second exposure under sky light with a bit of soft fluorescent fill-in (using an old slide viewing table as a soft box). Fujinon 135-5.6 in Speed Graphic.

    ~Joe

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I made a pinhole camera out of an old suitcase, some packing foam, cardboard, and a whole lotta black spraypaint.
    So far I've put 11x14 paper negs through it for $1.70 a sheet, I'd hate to think how much that'd cost in 'real film'. Even more once I try out 12x16s (and I might be able to fit 16x20s in it, or I'll save them for the next camera).
    (and besides, there's no benefit of the high resolution you get from film in a pinhole camera that's going to be contact-printed anyway...)
     
  18. pen s

    pen s Member

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    Joe, I cannot believe the wonderful range of greys you get with your paper negatives. Mine so far have been fairly hard contrast. I have tried preflashing the graded Oriental RC paper just purchased and it does seem to help a little. I have not tried the Arista paper yet but intend to do so in the near future. I'm hoping to standardize my paper negative workflow so as to obtain predictable results. Your post's here and u-tube videos have been an invaluable source and thanks for sharing your experience.
     
  19. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Thanks for the kind feedback. This image has pretty good tones because a) The main light is daylight filtered through a diffused skylight, and b) The fill lighting is diffused fluorescent.

    I believe with even the most contrasty of papers or films, controlled lighting is crucial to getting good tones. The most difficult scenario is, of course, bright daylight scenic photography, where you are faced with glaring highlights and deep shadows. Under these conditions all you can do is use graded paper, pre-flash and/or use a yellow filter, and hope the subject matter doesn't depend completely on having both highlights and shadows with detail.

    For example, I've shot many paper negatives in the foothills of the local Sandia Mountains, in bright daylight. What's saved those images is that I was interested in the texture and forms of large, house-sized boulders, where the highlights were important but the shadows between the boulders could go completely black and it wouldn't matter much to the overall photo.

    Conversely, shooting a portrait in such conditions means ugly, glaring shadows on the face.

    My point is that subject matter and context are important factors in whether high or low contrast is required.

    For intrinsically high-contrast media, such as paper negatives, having control of the light, in a makeshift studio fashion as I've done here, is crucial; as is selecting the subject matter that might work well with harsh shadows.

    ~Joe
     
  20. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    Paper negatives are or can be fantastic... For all the reasons mentioned above, but also because they render rather different than normal film... and for portraits they are so interesting...

    Here's a couple of examples of portraits...
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

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    I spend few days to find out how this is called. Paper negatives!
    i have made few of them and started to google for the name of it.
    And only today I accidentally saw it at APUG.
    One more time it is reminder to me - look no elsewhere, but APUG!

    It is very good alternative for 4x5 film to me.
    I like tabletop photography, right beside where my darkroom is and it is less expensive and faster with paper negatives.
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    thanks for all these replies !

    great work up in this thread, thusfar !
    hi ko.fe
    if you have a dark roomhandy
    paper negatives are almost instant photography - or instant negative photography :smile:
    there have been articles over the years in the new york times
    and other newspapers about people in india and afghanistan who are making id portraits
    using paper negatives while their sitter waits.
    they both re-exposes the negative in camera as a contact print ( i hope got this right )
    sort of like an afghan camera with chemistry inside ... and a bucket of water outside to wash the print :smile:

    not quite a polaroid, maybe a few extra minutes, but these guys are an inspiration to watch and read about !
    john
     
  23. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

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    :smile: Yesterday I was watching some local dude on youtube for how to get it right on paper under enlarger light.
    Now I'm all set!
     
  24. TheToadMen

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2014
  25. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    fun, easy, fast and economical.with children around,also very educational.and can be done LF with pinholeswith amazing detail and quality
     
  26. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    I use paper negatives when testing my meniscus lenses.
    It's a quick, simple way to convey the focus, "bokeh", light gradiation, and "character" of a lens.
    It's also a hekkuva lot cheaper, especially when I use my 8x10 & 8x20 cameras...

    A few examples here:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum426/117640-kitchen-sink.html

    http://www.largeformatphotography.i...790-f-5-4-Meniscus-Lens&p=1045893#post1045893

    I also confirmed that using filters in the traditional manner for contrast control is not quite so straightforward.
    Photo papers are orthochromatic (blue/green sensitive).
    So dark Yellow/Orange/Red filters are actually safelights... expect a huge loss of exposure speed.

    Here are are some graphs illustrating the transmission of various filters compared to the spectral sensitivity of emulsions.
    (Graded papers, VC papers, X-ray, panchromatic, ortho, & infrared films, collodion emulsions, etc.)...
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum44/133973-choosing-filters.html

    Note that paper negatives can use only the left half (blue/green) of the spectrum.
    Wasi film will act similarly.

    Reinhold
    www.re-inventedPhotoEquip.com