Paper Negatives

Discussion in 'Paper Negatives' started by Reinhold, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    I needed to check the light fall-off on my 285mm Wollaston Meniscus lens when used on an 8X10 camera.
    I had no 8x10 film, so I shot a test photo on a paper negative.
    Worked fine, told me what I wanted to know.

    Then I thought...
    Why don't folks talk much about paper negatives?
    It's a great way to explore photography with minimum cost.
    A quick search for "Paper Negatives on APUG yields only a smattering of posts buried in random "negative" hits.

    How about a dedicated forum on this simple old process that goes almost unnoticed?

    Here are three paper negatives (scanned and inverted, just for a quick test)...

    The Fence gates were shot using my 285 Wollason on a dull Pacific Northwest day.
    The bookshelf photos were done using my soon-to-be-anounced 335mm Wollaston Meniscus lens.
    Both were shot using a beat-up 8x10 Kodak 2-D
    On paper negatives, of course.

    Reinhold

    www.Re-inventedPhotoEquip.com
     

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  2. zumbido

    zumbido Member

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    Everything in my gallery is a paper negative, except the oldest two which were on the Ilford direct positive paper.

    Paper negatives do get some treatment over in the pinhole forum, one of these days I should get a large format lens and try my hand at crossing over.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2012
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi reinhold

    i would rather shoot paper negatives than film :smile:
    as you said, it is a great way to explore photography !

    i am looking forward to running out of film completely, selling off everything
    but a LF camera and just shooting paper ...

    great pix by the way !
    john
     
  4. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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  5. daniel2002

    daniel2002 Member

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    Yeah that's what I do as well, I just prefer it that way.
     
  6. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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  7. himself

    himself Member

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    I've been thinking about trying it recently and noticed that there does seem to be little information floating around.

    anyone got any good tips for cutting it to size?
     
  8. delphine

    delphine Member

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    John, I am curious, why would you rather so?

    Best

    Delphine
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi delphine

    for me at least, paper negatives are as close to "old" photography
    that we can get in the modern age we live in ... that is without reverting to
    an alternative process like wet plate &c. the look and feel of a paper negative image
    just speaks to me more than film images ... and when making long exposures
    it almost feels like ( looks like ) you are capturing the souls of your subjects ...
    with portraits .. landscapes &c ..
    besides all the kind of artsyfartsy stuff i just blurted ... film is VERY expensive compared
    to old maybe fogged paper that people want to sell for pennies on the dollar. :smile:

    john
     
  10. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I worked on a thesis project with nothing but paper negs in my 4x5 back in 1990.

    BTW... do not use a yellow contrast enhancing filter with paper... silly mistake I made... It's the same color as a safe-light.
     
  11. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    So how do you guy get a positive print from the paper neg?

    If there was a easy way to get a positive print from a paper neg, I would shoot it all the time.

    I could just shoot positive paper reliably, i would do that.
     
  12. al.b

    al.b Member

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    I tried this with my crown 4x5 . it didnt turn out to bad. I would like to know more about it.

    like cj said how do you get a positive ?. when the weather get's a little warmer i'll try some more.

    al.b
     
  13. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I know you can do a wet contact print or can scan them, but is there a faster way that I could do it on location? I really want to just shoot a positive. I really want to do wetplate but this could solve the problem.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the easiest way to get a positive can't be discussed here because it involves
    an electronic device ... but the best way to get a positive print is by contact printing
    the in camera negative onto another sheet of paper ...
    emulsion to emulsion, under a piece of glass or in a contact printing frame
    and you make your exposure.

    a fellow appugger ( david william white ) in an interview i heard on the film photography forecast
    http://filmphotographyforecast.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/54/
    ( you have to poke around the archives )
    removes the lens from his enlarger and makes contact prints using enlarger light, and when he needs to
    poly contrast filters ... i had never heard of doing that and it is ingenious !

    have fun !
    john

    added later:
    hand coating light weight paper ( like writing paper ) is easy to project light through as well.
    the first paper photographs ( calotypes ) were made on writing paper and contact printed,
    i would love to see some in person ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2012
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    on location you would need a darkroom ... or you could do as the street photographers in mexico, and cuba and india
    do which is have portable darkroom attached to your camera, where you process the negative, and then make your contact print
    using your camera as an enlarger ( just letting light in ) to expose your paper which is now in the film holder ...
    and then processed again in your tank/portable darkroom.

    there was an article in the Lat a few years ago featuring a photographer in india doing this, i will see if i can find it ...


    Found it:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/02/world/fg-india-lowtech2
    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2012
  17. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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    A bit about the three examples in my first post:

    The paper is VC Ultrafine RC.
    The bookshelf photo's were shot thru a YG (X-0) filter.
    I didn't have a large yellow filter to help control contrast, so the YG had to do.
    The blend of Yellow (lower contrast) and the Green (the low contrast component of VC papers) did the job.
    I like the results, the various colors of the book spines recorded a nice mix of gray tones.
    I didn't meter the subject, just a bit of byguess/bygolly (±5 second exposures).

    The outdoor photo (gates & fence) was without a filter.
    I used ISO 3, but should've used ISO 6.

    Developed in some old pseuodo Ansco 130.
    One glug of 130 + 4 glugs of water in a tray.
    Bookshelf negs developed ± 6 minutes.
    Outdoor shot (overexposed 1 stop) developed ± 1.5 minutes.

    Reinhold

    www.Re-engineeredPhotoEquip.com
     
  18. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    i've used an enlarger light to make contact prints before, but I had the lens on. What does taking the lens off have to do with anything?

    I am trying to figure out a way that I can do this out in the field. I could make a box that has a hole in it and use that hole for the light to make a contact print with. I would also use the box to develop and fix it.
     
  19. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I did not realize there were more then one post after mine.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    not sure if i would use a shoe box, seeing photochems are wet and may not do well in a cardboard box ...
    with the lens removed you get all the light, ( not a fraction of it ( f-stops ) and there is no need to focus.
    it also allows you to use polycontrast filters, if you have to, which is hard to do when using a flood light &c.

    if i had to do this on location, i'd probably use something like a steamer trunk with sleeves that lead your arms inside
    ( kind of like an afghan camera ! )
    and a big ruby-lith window so you can see what you are doing when you process ...
    and then an aperture so you can control the light that enters the box ( like the hole you mention ) ...
    it might also be useful to convert some regular photo paper to POP paper, so it can take longer exposures
    in sunlight, and only require fixer and toner, not developer, and and enlarger / darkroom &c.
    supposedly you can convert developing out paper ( DOP ) to printing out paper (POP ), by do soaks in a 10% potassium nitrate solution
    ( air drying in darkness inbetween ) .. while i have my potassium nitrate dilute and paper ready to convert, i haven't done this yet
    so i don't have first hand experience with this ...
     
  21. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I did my 1st paper neg recently as well, on some of Ron Mowrey's AZO from the workshop.

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=65297&catid=member&imageuser=35042

    One of George Eastman's early contributions was a film on paper with a soluble gelatin layer between the well-hardened emulsion and the paper support. This lets you separate the two after exposure and makes for easier printing options at that point. This feat would be trivial for any of the emulsion makers out there.

    The above negative is slated for a carbon print, and I'm curious what a honest-to-goodness print from a paper negative is capable of.
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi holmburgers

    so, the paper negative rolls that were loaded in his KODAK cameras
    were actually printed by sliding the emulsion off the paper, and contact printing them ?
    i would have imagined when the roll paper negatives were processed
    the emulsion would slide off the support and be lost.
    when i taught myself dry plate making, that was my biggest problem
    the sub/binding layer ... lots of nice emulsion just slid down the drain.

    i was under the impression that they were paper to paper contact prints
    which professionals - "poo-poo'd " since the positive prints weren't as sharp as dry plates &c ..
    and it was this that led GE to roll film.

    interesting-stuff!

    good luck with your print :smile:
    john
     
  23. X. Phot.

    X. Phot. Guest

    Processing paper negs in the field is quite simple. Put a processing drum and the film holder into a changing bag, and then transfer the paper to the drum. You can process on the tailgate of your truck.
     
  24. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    hey John,

    Well I can't honestly say how widespread its use was, but the actual emulsion layer was well hardened and thus would remain intact after removal from the base. Between that and the paper was a plain gelatin layer sans hardener, so that it was insoluble in any reasonably warm water. So the emulsion would indeed slide off, or float away, but in a purposeful way.

    I think the main m.o. was to then take the loose emulsion and reattach it to a piece of glass, so in the end you basically have a dry-plate without the hassle of using glass-plates in the field and the added boon of having tons of exposures in a light-weight roll.

    A pretty exceptional idea!

    And as I learned, shooting on paper gives you a speed "boost", since the white paper reflects a lot of light back onto the emulsion.
     
  25. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    did not even think of that.
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    too cool,
    thanks i never realized that he was just doing emulsion transfers ...
    and all those polaroid transfer people thought they were being so inventive ! :smile: