The intimate contact print

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by mark, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    What are people's opinions of contact prints smaller that 5x7?

    Is there a photographer who you feel does a masterful job with these smaller contact prints?

    I have seen only one small contact print 2.25x2.25 that I have been very impressed with but I am sure there are others out there.
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi mark

    i LOVE them.
    shawn dougherty makes
    wonderful small azo contact prints.

    john
     
  3. ajmiller

    ajmiller Subscriber

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    Agree with John.
    I've long admired Shawn Dougherty here on apug for his work with smaller contact prints.
     
  4. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I've made many 3x4 contact prints. They can be surprisingly wonderful.
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I think it takes a bit of skill to pull it off, but if it works, it's beautiful. I saw some work by Jed Devine where he does platinum prints from 6x17cm negs of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines from the relative riverfronts under the bridges. They demand close inspection and work beautifully.
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I love 'em and I don't think they get enough appreciation. It wasn't that long ago that 2x2 and 2x3 were ordinary print sizes; photo albums from a couple of generations ago are routinely full of contact prints in those sizes. I sort of like playing with the "looks like an old photo" reaction that people have to small prints; I've got photos from the last couple of years that people routinely assume must be preserved from the 1950s.

    This whole business with ridiculous gigantic print sizes like 4x6" will blow over eventually, just you watch. :smile:

    -NT
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I take it you mean 5 X 7 inches. I have always liked the carte de visite, which I assume were contact prints-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carte_de_visite
     
  8. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    They are underappreciated. Sometimes you need a medium or large print, but too often, a small contact print is nice too. Particularly where the composition/shapes are simple or minimal and you're not trying to do f64 style landscapes.

    I make bookmarks with strips of MF negatives. On silver gelatin FB paper or cyanotypes, they are wonderful triptychs. 35mm makes nice bookmarks too.

    I've got nice 4x5 contact prints as well, such as cyanotypes or toned cyanotypes. I generally don't frame such photos, but I could. They are nice in hand or on fridge.
     
  9. Mark Osterman

    Mark Osterman Member

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    Here at George Eastman House we've been holding workshops on how to make photosensitive materials for a variety of contact printing processes. Many of these have been matched with period camera negative processes...but we also use film and digital negatives as an alternative.

    These printing processes range from photogenic drawing [Talbot, halide fixed] to salt print, chromotype [Hunt's direct positive], Bayard's direct positive process, albumen on paper and glass, collodion transparencies on glass, collodion on paper [gold and platinum toned] and various gelatin emulsions [gaslighjt and silver bromide].

    Often it's a question of the particular type of negative that fits the printing medium. Paper negatives for example have a lot of noise, where glass negative don't.

    Mark
     
  10. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Thank you for the kind works, John and AJ. =)

    After 5 years shooting 8x10 I've settled into making 4x5 and 2.25x2.25 / 2.25 2.75 inch contact prints exclusively.
    For me they have a delicate, jewel like quality about them which naturally draws the viewer in to examine the work more closely. And being contact prints that's exactly what I want.

    I only use a ground glass for viewing my MF work and obviously the 4x5. I like being able to see the image projected on the glass, with both eyes, at the size it will be viewed as a print. What will work at that size becomes easy to determine when you think of it in those terms. And of course let's not forget that no small number of the original "f64 style landscapes" WERE 4x5 contact prints...

    As far as presentation, I like to mat my 4x5s on 13x15 inch board to seperate them from the wall and I believe it also lends a sense of formality. I mount my 2.25s (be they square, horizontal or vertical) on 10x12 inch vertical boards and weight the bottom. At my home I use photo-shelves instead of hangers so people can easily pick of the framed (or unframed) prints for a closer look.
     
  11. andreios

    andreios Member

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    I use 5x7 nowadays, but from time to time I return to admire some of my 4x5 (and a couple of 6x9cm) VanDykes - and always think that I shall get the reducing back for my Sinar so that I don't need to crop 5x7..
     
  12. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    4x5 pt/pd prints from my 4x5 and Ilford Titan pinhole. They look great showing the coating over-matted with a four inch border framed a thin black aluminom frame or a warm black wooden frame.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  13. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    My god. What a post.
     
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  15. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I was recently looking at some work from my grandfather, 6x6 contact prints from the 1930s. Quite a refreshing change from enlarged prints.
     
  16. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I normally only contact print, since I use alt processes. Often I use 8x10 and I was out photographing with the 11x14 this past week, and 11x14 carbon prints are impressive. But at the same time, I am being drawn back to 4x5 (and smaller) because as Shawn mentioned, the small prints are jewels.

    I have enjoyed making platinum prints and carbon prints from MF negatives. And I have started a project using 4x5 for carbon print images of an area I backpack into in the Redwoods. They can go on the wall, but they really shine when hand-held. Hand-made books are something I have been considering -- especially with the small platinum prints.


    Below are two carbon prints...two side-by-side Diana Camera negs (so the print is about 2"x 5") and a 4x5 from the new redwoods project. Funny how one needs to shrink them on the screen to get the feel of them!
     

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  17. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    But how do you apply the rule of thirds and all those other compositional rules that camera clubs teach ?-)
    Seriously, though, does seem to require a strong subject to pull the eyes in to them. There was a Kertesz exhibit in the area a couple of years ago of his small contact prints all framed in proportionally large mats. They worked well for close inspection. And this points out that they would work even better in a book of originals, for example, that can be viewed closely. I've personally limited my minimum contact print size to 5X7 (other than proofs), but will have to now review the 4X5s and smaller for such a possibility. Alt process prints in a hand-made book would be rather interesting.
     
  18. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Do you dry mount the print directly on the flat piece of mat board?

    I think small prints (whether contact or enlarged) force the viewer to be more engaged with the print. You have to get so close to view it that it blocks out everything else. It's too easy to consider a large print as just background.
     
  19. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    Seems like back in the days of 116/616 box cameras, that when you sent your Verichrome Pan off to have the Christmas pictures developed, all that was contact printed.
     
  20. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    To heap some more fuel on the fire.

    Ilford Art 300 paper is awesome for this type of thing. It ads analog specialness to a good photo.
     
  21. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I'm not sure if that's good or bad but it made me laugh... =)

    I was thinking along the same lines, Vaughn... could be a lovely thing, a piece of art in itself.

    I mount mine directly to mat board, trimmed to the image and over-matted with a small border around the print, slightly bigger along the bottom where I date and sign them. I've attached a cell phone picture of one of my 2.25 x 2.75 prints. I usually slip them into crystal clear bags, a stack of them is a nice thing to sit down with for a spell.
     

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  22. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    As I already use Ilford Warmtone Glossy FB I'm especially intrigued by this paper. I haven't had the good fortune to see any in person yet...
     
  23. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    Love that paper. Been enlarging on it and just starting to try out some 4x5 contact prints on it.

    Great thread. I read once that a good ad surprises you when you're fifty feet away and then again when you're five feet away and again at five inches. Do you find that the same thing applies to small contact prints?

    Horace
     
  24. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    My wife, Paula Chamlee, in addition to her 8x10-inch silver chloride contact prints, has been making 4x5 and 5x7 contact prints since 1990. And about ten years ago she began making 6x6 cm. and 6x7 cm. contact prints. Some of them on very old Azo paper that expired in 1921. These prints are exquisite.

    Shawn makes beautiful photographs. He took mine and Paula's Vision and Technique Workshop in 2010, where he would have seen many of Paula's small contact prints--all mounted and overmatted on 13x15 mount board. As others have noted, keeping the surrounding environment far from the print by mounting on a decent size board is critical. If mounted on an 8x10 board those small contact prints can appear to be insignificant.

    Paula has made several one-of-a kind-hand-made books of original 6x7 cm and 6x6 cm contact prints. Extremely time-consuming endeavors. For just one thing, archival strips must be placed along the spine to bulk up the spine to match the thickness of the print. Otherwise the book will not lay flat. And it is not enough just to put a bunch of prints together. They need to be properly sequenced. She bound the books herself and housed the last one in a box of exotic wood with a frosted plexiglass lid with a stone from Iceland as the handle on the lid. The book covers are made from platinum prints. This book is truly a work of art in all regards. All are invited to come take a look.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    SNIP SNIP SNIP SNIP
    hi vaughn and shawn

    there are a few books out there on how to make books, it really is a fun practice.
    closed spine books ... and open spine books can get kind of tricky :smile:
    open spine bindings are fun and much easier at first .. but the stitching tends to be elaborate depending on how much fun you want to have.
    (take a google at coptic or chain stitch :smile: )
    take a look at keith smith's book making books ( http://www.keithsmithbooks.com/ ), they really are like the bibles of making hand made + artist books.

    unfortunately nipping presses, and the rest of the tools of the trade can be kind of expensive ( places like http://www.gaylord.com (gaylord brothers library supply )
    and http://www.talasonline.com/ (talas bookbinding supply ) ) have them new ... but books like books boxes and portfolios ( http://www.amazon.com/Books-Boxes-Portfolios-Step-Step/dp/0830634835 )
    will give you ideas how you can use bricks and other things instead of the traditional expensive cast iron equipment.

    have fun cause like anything ... once you make one or two, it will be hard to stop ( i've made around 25 i think, i lost count :smile: )

    - john
     
  26. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I'm curious -- how easy/practical is it to dodge and burn a contact print? For one thing, seems that you'd often be making micro-movements, harder to be accurate with than a standard enlargement.