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  1. #1

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    Nearly "Robert Capa'd" My Film, Help!

    I was contact printing some 6x4.5 B&W onto a sheet of POP and I carelessly left the lamp too close to the contact printer, not realizing that it wasn't a cool bulb but rather a regular one that got very hot and broke the glass and actually fused some of the film to the paper. Fortunately the emulsion didn't melt like the paper did (ala Robert Capa's melted Normandy pictures). However, the film is badly warped in spots, clumps of melted paper emulsion are stuck to it, and there is one spot where the film emulsion detached from the film and stuck to the paper. Is it possible for me to reattach the small speck of film emulsion to the film or somehow make a copy combining it back with the rest of the negative? I really don't want to bring digital into the equation with medium format work. Also, how can I get the film to return to its original shape? Would rewashing work, or some other method perhaps? Finally, what is the best way to detach the paper emulsion that stuck to the film without damaging the film further?

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski

  2. #2

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    Given the experience you describe I find your moniker very curious.
    My Verito page

    Anyone can appreciate a fine print. But it takes a real photographer to appreciate a fine negative.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever
    I was contact printing some 6x4.5 B&W onto a sheet of POP and I carelessly left the lamp too close to the contact printer, not realizing that it wasn't a cool bulb but rather a regular one that got very hot and broke the glass and actually fused some of the film to the paper. Fortunately the emulsion didn't melt like the paper did (ala Robert Capa's melted Normandy pictures). However, the film is badly warped in spots, clumps of melted paper emulsion are stuck to it, and there is one spot where the film emulsion detached from the film and stuck to the paper. Is it possible for me to reattach the small speck of film emulsion to the film or somehow make a copy combining it back with the rest of the negative? I really don't want to bring digital into the equation with medium format work. Also, how can I get the film to return to its original shape? Would rewashing work, or some other method perhaps? Finally, what is the best way to detach the paper emulsion that stuck to the film without damaging the film further?

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski
    I don't think there is much you can do about the warping. Rewash the film and then try some PEK12 to remove the paper. I've seen it get some really tough stuff off negatives.

    Yes you can reattach the film to the base and then make a copy neg of it. I've done it. If you want details I can give them to you.

    If the base is damaged, it sounds like it is, you will never get a perfect copy of the film. In my mind, once you get the piece of emulsion back on the neg you should do the scan and fix thing. It all depends on how important these negs are, and how far you want to go with it.

    I'll help as much as I can.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  4. #4

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    I say "Robert Capa'd" because had I left the light on any longer, I probably would have melted the emulsion off of the film just like Time magazine did with Capa's Normandy invasion film. As is, only the paper melted with the exception of the small emulsion chip on the film. As for scanning, how can I even do it if the film cannot be unwarped? I did make one print of the particular negative before I damaged it, but it is overexposed. Should I consider making a copy of that instead after somehow reducing the density?

    ~Karl

  5. #5
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever
    I say "Robert Capa'd" because had I left the light on any longer, I probably would have melted the emulsion off of the film just like Time magazine did with Capa's Normandy invasion film.
    ~Karl
    Ahhh... I thought you meant that you blew it up with a land-mine....

    As for scanning, it depends how warped it is, but a flatbed scanner may work rather than a film scanner. See if a local pro lab has any suggestions using the assorted equipment they will have available.

    Good luck with it in any case...

    Bob.

  6. #6
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Analog processes only below...

    The overexposed print is probably salvageable -- you might try a very dilute version of the "cutting" formula of Farmer's Reducer, which reduces both dark and light areas at about the same rate (and is specifically recommended for overexposed negatives). Very dilute, because you want to work VERY slowly; better to reduce not enough and have to treat again than to go too far (you can't put back lost highlight detail in the print).

    Once you have that print looking better, you can make a copy negative from it that will probably still look better than anything you could scan from the original warped negative. And with the one print, you can try again for usable copy negatives as needed...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  7. #7
    Maine-iac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever
    Fortunately the emulsion didn't melt like the paper did (ala Robert Capa's melted Normandy pictures).

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski

    Completely off topic, but I just returned from Berlin where I was fortunate enough to see the huge Robert Capa retrospective mounted in the Martin Gropius Bau museum. It's a smasher, complete with a 45 minute (English) film on Capa's life. The few surviving photos of his Normandy D-Day experience were there, but his Spanish Civil War and China (1937) photos were equally powerful.

    Larry

  8. #8

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    The one thing I didn't mention is that it is only a small fleck of emulsion in a rather unimportant area of the film, although being a perfectionist, I wish I could reattach it somehow. Also, the print I have is an 8x10, which will probably limit me as I want to try and make bigger prints if possible and I don't have a 8x10 or even a 4x5 copy camera. While I do plan to try and salvage the print I made, I also want to try as best I can to salvage the negatives too. Mark, could you tell me the best way I should go about trying to flatten it?

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski



 

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