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  1. #1

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    Lith help request

    Hi, I'd like to learn how to make lith prints and would appreciate recommendations on what film and developer combination would be appropriate to use. And, should I work towards a more contrasty negative, normal, or lower contrast neg? I use 120 and 4x5 formats. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Film and format make little difference. It is inherently a grainy process and resolution is not really the goal....use 120 since it is easier unless you want the perspective correction of LF. It is also a very flexible process in terms of contrast range. Just use what you normally do and develop as you would for regular printing. Then, get Tim Rudman's book or check out his article on unblinkingeye.com.

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    A slightly different take on Mark's comment - there are many ways to do this.

    With lith printing developer temperature and dilution will affect both color and contrast. Exposure time will affect the same. Explanation: Short enlarger exposure = high contrast, long enlarger exposure = low contrast. So, the inherent negative contrast will determine, by a lot, how your final print will look. I get effects from thin negatives that I like, and I get effects from really dense and contrasty negatives that I like.
    The sum of the matter is - the contrast of the negative matters a lot, and I'm afraid that it will be up to you to try to determine what you like best.

    Get Tim Rudman's book at http://www.timrudman.com and please do read the article that Mark is referring to. Then print a lot!

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I like punchy negatives where the shadow detail is well defined and I am not so much concerned about the highlight density in the negative going a bit heavy.
    As we pull for the blacks and overexpose for the highlights when we make the prints, a strong negative with wonderful shadow detail is what I look for.

  5. #5
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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    I would recommend any and all of Tim's books, but this one, the Master Photographers Lith Printing Course is a great way to get started.
    Robert Hall
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    Technology is not a panacea. It alone will not move your art forward. Only through developing your own aesthetic - free from the tools that create it - can you find new dimension to your work.

  6. #6
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Hmmmmm, I didn't realize that the negative made that big of a difference. I just try to make sure I have good detail in the shadows (expose enough) and not worry too much about the highlights (develop normally). May have to play around a bit......

  7. #7
    Travis Nunn's Avatar
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    I generally find that if I have a negative that prints nicely as a regular b/w print then it works well for lith, too. If it's a pain in the ass to print as b/w, then it's a pain in the ass to lith.
    ____________________________________________
    Searching my way to perplexion

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    That's interesting, Travis. We're all different of course, so our experiences are different. I find the opposite from you, that if I have a thin neg I can lith it easily, and if I have a neg of unusually high contrast it's easy to lith. It's those exposures that print like a dream in regular chemistry that I have a problem getting anything that I find interesting with.
    I often think it would be interesting to study the technique of others. You know, do a day in the darkroom with others kind of thing, where we observe each other. I'll bet we could all learn a lot from each other!

    I should add that 'normal' negs is probably a great place to start, so that if you don't like it you can print your negs in regular chemistry again.

    - Thomas
    Last edited by Thomas Bertilsson; 01-20-2009 at 10:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9
    Travis Nunn's Avatar
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    Thomas, I've learned most of my darkroom technique on my own (LOTS of trial and error), so I don't know if I want people observing my techniques for fear of being told I'm doing everything wrong

    I'm 99% sure I'll be at Bill's gathering in June so I'll at least have some of my prints with me.
    ____________________________________________
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  10. #10
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Nunn View Post
    Thomas, I've learned most of my darkroom technique on my own (LOTS of trial and error), so I don't know if I want people observing my techniques for fear of being told I'm doing everything wrong

    I'm 99% sure I'll be at Bill's gathering in June so I'll at least have some of my prints with me.
    I'm planning on going too.....maybe we could do a lith show and tell.

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