What do you do with test prints?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Existing Light, May 16, 2011.

  1. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I've accumulated a lot of test prints over the last year and a half. Most of them dont have notes on them (I keep a sheet of paper in my print folders with printing notes written in pencil behind the print), and I dont know why I keep them. Since I had some bleach and clear bath for reversal processing black and white film that had been sitting around a while, I decided to bleach the silver out and pour it in the silver recovery bucket in my darkroom. I threw the bleached paper away. Obviously I wouldnt do that to an actual final print unless, years later, I decided the print was shit and didnt want to look at it anymore.

    So, what does everyone else do with their test prints or f****d up prints? Throw them away or obsessivly store them or something else?


    Just curious.
     
  2. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I sold my last one for $3.8 million. Other than that I write notes on them and keep them for dodge/burn reference.
     
  3. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Most I pitch, but I save a few to make burn masks and dodging tools. If I have one that is a little too dark, I might try some sort of bleach-toning if I think it might be interesting.
     
  4. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I do sell a couple of my OK second prints for a few bucks. Our city has these "gallery walks" Nobody will buy a $40.00 or $200.00 item, but occasionally I sell a print for $5.00. I make my living doing serious commercial photography.

    Others I throw away. I "buried" a few in a time capsule I placed in the 140 year-old building I own.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    They are good for "test" purposes when I'm planning on toning.

    I sometimes write exposure notes on them and file them with the negatives.

    Otherwise, they go into the recycling bin.
     
  6. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    I wipe my bum with them.
     
  7. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Since mine are briefly fixed, washed for about a minute then dried in a microwave for evaluation they are pretty much worthless for anything after I'm done with them. They get tossed. Sometimes I do wash some of them for guinea pigs for toning.
     
  8. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I "obsessively", compulsively, or cannily(?) save all my test prints (proofs) in file folders numbered and reconciled with the original computer catalogued negatives, stored in plastic file tubs. Why? Because I don't ever want to pull out a "nice looking" negative, thinking I should make a print of this, and after firing up the darkroom and wasting time and resources, find out that I had already made a proof of it, without recording one way or another its fine print potential. Some are re-evaluated over time.

    My workflow is such that I make proofs as soon as possible after the shooting of any print worthy negative. They are stored and catalogued as previously stated. I then explore any print worthy proof for fine print potential at my leisure or whim – which, by virtue of having saved the proofs makes this possible.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  9. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Now there is a system! I wish I had the space and the diligence to do this, would probably save me a headache later on.
     
  10. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    Wow, quick responses :munch:


    I should probably save mine with printing notes, but I'm not organized or diligent enough. HAving a sheet of notebook paper with notes in my print folder is as good as I'm going to do (for prints I've framed, I do keep a second one in my folder):D
     
  11. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I keep just about everything that makes it to the drying stage, haul it all out from time to time and think about dumping it, then stick it all back in the cupboard again!
    Steve
     
  12. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    I'm from the exact same school. :D

    Roger
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    It is kinda fun to take a 16x20 almost-there print and tear it in half in front of students and toss it in the recycling...:devil:
     
  14. PVia

    PVia Member

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    I slice interesting portions from them to make bookmarks. Friends love them.

    A double weight fiber paper bookmark will last forever and feels and looks so good.

    I'll do this with prints that are perfect except for a botched sky or toning mark, etc...
     
  15. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Tearing up "work prints", as opposed to finished proofs, is another matter. I almost never save them, unless I want to try some special technique or toning effect on a less than satisfactory finished print. My wife HATES to see me tear these up – as she judges them otherwise – but keeping them just complicates final fine print decision making.

    On another note, it is local lore that a photographer seeking to establish a relationship with a LACMA curator, sent torn up pieces of work prints with notes written on them, as postcards, over a period of months, chronicling the project's process. (Geez – I hope I haven't given anyone here any ideas :eek:smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2011
  16. ROL

    ROL Member

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    P.S. – I don't think the term "test print" is very clear in its meaning. For me a test print is the first print to determine basic exposure, leading to a proof. I save these, with printing notes on the back, along with the matching proof in my files. This greatly eases the scaling up of enlargements during the work print stage leading to a fine print (see Making a Proof). Everything else leading up to a fine print is normally discarded.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2011
  17. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Sometimes I save a few of the good test strips for bookmarks. What also makes a nice bookmark is a 35mm or 120 negative strip contact printed as a cyanotype. Nice bright color and texture and handcrafted feel.

    Some of my test paper is big paper cut into 4x5" rough-sized pieces. Those and bigger pieces I let my kids color them with markers.
     
  18. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I've always been very loose with terminology. I consider anything other than my final print a "test print." BEing loose with terminology might not be a good thing, especially given the technical background of some folks here, but I do very little in the technical realms where perfect terminology is required.

    When it takes more than one session to get a final print ready to hang on the wall (which is usually the case), I keep the test prints in chronological order to see my progress and to decide where I wanna go from there. After that, I've decided to get rid of the tests by bleaching out the silver and dropping it off at a hazardous waste dropoff (or my asshole neighbor's bushes :D )
     
  19. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    makes me want to put an "amost there" print in my next student show and destroy it during the opening reception to see how many of the art students and instructors I can get to make this face ---> :sick: