Cold Tone or Warm Tone Papers??
Dear APUG printing fanatic friends:
I am deciding whether to print a black and white portfolio (basically outdoor street shots at a local park) on cold tone or warm-tone paper. I have been going back and forth on this, literally for months. I am making myself crazy with this. I have printed many of the portfolio photographs on both papers (Agfa MCC and Oriental or Kodak Polymax VC, both selenium toned) and neither set looks "bad."
As I go through photography books in the local bookstore, the great majority of monographs are published having printed on a warm-tone paper. (see below)
Diane Arbus: Revelations
Jock Sturges: The Last Days of Summer
Shelby Lee Adams: Appalachian Portraits
Henri C. Bresson: Photoportraits
Paul Strand: Aperture Monograph
Kristin Knapp: Hutterite
Sally Mann: Immediate Family
Mary Ellen Mark
Martin Dain: Faulkner’s World
Sebastio Salgado: An Uncertain Grace
Martine Franck: One Day to the Next
Bruce Gilden: Haiti
Chris Rainier – Where Masks Still Dance; Keepers of the Spirit
Of course, one may say it’s a matter of personal taste and preference. Yet, still it seems that many historically have gone the warm tone route. But take a look at Rainier’s two monographs Gorgeous in Cold Tone!!
How can I decide??????????????????????
Thanks in advance, Gary
Warm tone: lost in the crowd
Cold tone: stand alone (well, one person for company)
Just judging based on your list...
How about using the paper that best suits the image. That is to say, warm for say wood and cold for say a river.
ups, watch my signature;-)
You are trying to make a kind of binary choice like 0 and 1, yes or no. This won't work I guess. As you mentioned decide from time to time and don't try to create a rule.
No wonder this question drives you crazy, ethere are even papers with a neutral tone.
Sure we all have had periods or still have of a preferred tone, it will change from time to time as our taste or the aim changes ..
Years ago I'd have said: every kind of organic would need a warm tone, cold sijets need a cold paper ... today I know it _can_ be attractive to break this rule ... even within a series of warm or cold a break can occure with success.
If it's a question of the budget not to keep several boxes of grades, surfaces AND tones try it this way like I do. I'm working on here invaluable Oriental fiber. My standard size is the counterpart of 12x16 inch. I have to boxes, one G2 and one G3. It gives me all the flexiblity want with the surface and the tone. The latter can be influenced either with the developer if I'm not satisfied or selenium or sthg else.
The only rule should be there's no rule;-)
everything becomes more worse. one thing becomes better: the moral becomes more worse.
The Link has it right - I'd judge each image separately.
However, just to be awkward(!), how about Ilford MGWT FB split in selenium then gold toners? Warm shadows, cooler highlights... Just a thought!
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I agree, different images suit different approaches. I tend to use cool tone more, but it is all a matter of taste.
There was a period when (particularly) large-format gurus (e.g. Fred Picker) advocated the almost exclusive use of cold-tone papers, especially for landscapes or any other outdoor scenics/nature shots. The colder and bluer the blacks the better. And for awhile, those of us who looked to them for guidance practiced what they preached.
But every once in awhile, I'd print something on the old Polycontrast G paper or Portriga Rapid and it would knock my eyes out, not only with the entirely different emotional response it generated, but with the incredible richness of shadow detail.
So I concluded that personal preference is really the deciding factor. For much if not most of my work, I use Agfa MCC or Multigrade Warmtone, because I love richly detailed shadows, but sometimes I think the subject really demands a cold tone. The benefit of both of those papers is that choice of developer and toning can give a warmer or colder look. If I really need or want a cold tone, then I use another paper. In a word: be your own guru. Choose which is most satisfying to you for a particular image.
In addition to the other comments, many of those mentioned in the warmtone class also had exhibits, books, etc. printed on neutral or cold tone papers.
The image should , IMHO, dicated the tool.
We print 90% of our work on warmtone, then selenium tone. The image has an overall warm look, with rich blacks....it's the best of both worlds.
Myself, I like neutrality. Polymax is a fine paper for making anything look natural and not draw attention away from the photo's content.