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  1. #1

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    Azo & 3-D effect - Urban Legend?

    I've held finely-made, beautiful Azo prints in my hand in which the guy sitting next to me claims to see a 3-D effect in it. I look at the print and I don't see it. It looks like any other well made print on a good B&W paper to me, but nothing that I see as being three dimensional.

    I'm skeptical of this so-called "3-D" effect that people report that Azo has. Perhaps it's an optical illusion that some peoples brains process, and others can't.

    Let me hear your anecdotal stories and convince me one way or the other.

  2. #2

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    I print on Azo and can see the effect. I don't know that I would call it 3D, but it definitely has a certain atmosphere about it that I don't see in regular enlargement papers.

  3. #3

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    Last edited by Tom Hoskinson; 01-12-2008 at 02:41 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: screwed up the link
    Tom Hoskinson
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  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I think there's a kind of "tactile" quality to contact prints that some people call "three-dimensional," but I don't think it's specific to Azo.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    I think there's a kind of "tactile" quality to contact prints that some people call "three-dimensional," but I don't think it's specific to Azo.
    I agree, David.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Keyes View Post
    I've held finely-made, beautiful Azo prints in my hand in which the guy sitting next to me claims to see a 3-D effect in it. I look at the print and I don't see it. It looks like any other well made print on a good B&W paper to me, but nothing that I see as being three dimensional.

    I'm skeptical of this so-called "3-D" effect that people report that Azo has. Perhaps it's an optical illusion that some peoples brains process, and others can't.

    Let me hear your anecdotal stories and convince me one way or the other.
    The 3-D effect is based on of aerial perspective. Thus, the aerial perspective must be clearly present in your subject (usually a landscape) and secondly, the photographic process must be able to 'reproduce' it. In the Netherlands, we often experience this because of climatological conditions (small waterdroplets in the air). In the US, I rarely observed it, the way it is in certain parts of Europe.
    The 3-D effect is observed in portraits, still lifes etc. too. This has already been described by H.P Robinson in his photographic manual of 1869. (reprinted 1971 Under the direction of the Eastman House). Robinson calls this :'roundness' in contrast to space in a landscape. I must add that the quality of the 'roundness' depends on the quality of the light. And that again depends on the composition of the atmosphere in the case of natural light.
    Although, the processes are somewhat different. Both processes are based on the interaction of light and the atmospheric constituents. Leonardo da Vinci was the first to describe this.

    Jed

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    I think there's a kind of "tactile" quality to contact prints that some people call "three-dimensional," but I don't think it's specific to Azo.
    I've been struggling with this too; I see it the effect on other papers at times, and not all the time on Azo.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  8. #8
    Ole
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    I think the "3D" effect may be a result of the high resolution in contact prints. While it is commonly accepted that we can see details down to 10lppmm from "normal viewing distance", resolution finer than this seems to contribute to what for lack of a better description can be called "3D effect" or "clarity".

    It's not specific to Azo, but since is the most common contact paper in recent years it is easy to think so. But look at any old albumen print, collodion paper prints, or even platinum prints from when there were still commercial platinum papers made.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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  9. #9
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole View Post
    I think the "3D" effect may be a result of the high resolution in contact prints.
    Ahhh, that indeed may be the cause Ole, now that I think of it. I'm comparing a 4x5 contact print to an 8x10 enlargement from the same negative. Quite the difference in the appearance and I think its independent of the paper each is printed on.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley View Post
    Ahhh, that indeed may be the cause Ole, now that I think of it. I'm comparing a 4x5 contact print to an 8x10 enlargement from the same negative. Quite the difference in the appearance and I think its independent of the paper each is printed on.
    I think that Old and Alex are right about this. The greater sharpness is something that our eyes see in a special way, even though we may not be able to resolve the detail. This is one of the advantages that well-made contact prints have over both enlargements in the dark room and high quality inkjet prints.

    However, as a carbon printer accustomed to making prints that have very great physical relief, and a 3-D presence that can not be missed, the tactile qualities of most silver papers, AZO included do not impress me much.

    Sandy King

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