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  1. #1

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    Albert Renger-Patzsch and b&w film/plates

    Reading a book on Renger-Patzsch the early-mid 20th century German photographer. He makes a statement on his work and states that he shuns panchromatic film (plates), which I take to mean that he only used ortho plates. I understand the difference, but why would he make this choice? Was it to keep his images plain, more contrasty and objective looking? Hope that makes sense? Though I remember Ansel Adams also used ortho for some of his shots...

  2. #2
    Bertil's Avatar
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    Very interesting question! Never heard that he "shuns panchromatic film (plates)", but i love his pictures! Was just about (for some reason, I don't know why!) to order some orthochromatic 4x5" cut films (still some available). Would really be very interesting to hear some possible answers to your question. I will wait with my order until you get some interesting answer to your question.
    //Bertil

  3. #3

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    Bertil
    the exact words he used (English translation) "I use pan film rarely and unwillingly."

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    Anton,
    thank you,very interesting! In what publication is he making this statement? (Perhaps some of the pictures that I love most are made on orthochromatic plates, never entered my mind!! But very interesting to think about!)
    //Bertil

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    Hmm, I have never used ortho films, but from experience with filters I would expect that for photographs in natural light, the contrast between lit and shadowed areas is reduced, and the visibility of clouds is reduced. Obviously, objects like red brick walls will appear much darker.
    In portraiture, there should be much visible detail in the skin (including accentuated blemishes), and, again obviously, lips appear quite dark.

  6. #6
    Ole
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    A quick look at his pictures seems to confirm this - I don't know exactly how, but they do look like they were shot on orthochromatic film/plates.

    Interesting...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  7. #7

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    The book is Albert Renger-Patzsch: Photographer of Objectivity (Thames and Hudson) ISBN 0-500-542-13-9, it has a lot of what I would call his 'classic' and best known fotos.

  8. #8

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    Oh, and yes, I love his work, it is fabulous

  9. #9
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    i also love his works .. very much actually. he is one of the most important figures of so called "objective" photography, and together with more recent edward burtidsky is my favorite in this genre. they are rich, versatile and creative both in content and in visual aspects.
    and that book is great

    as for the ortho film ... u should consider the period when he was saying it. i think current panchromatic (normal) films are different. acutance, sharpness, grain and all the technical and aesthetic variables have been changed since then. the ortho films still have that color response difference of course, but otherwise, in practical photography there is hardly any technical advantage, surely nothing significant from medium formats and on. lets say, photographing with Pan-F+ (50) and Adox/Efke (25/50) is a matter or "feel" and "look", and if so, then we can say the same about comparison of most films. taking even two ortho films, same efke and rollei for example, will give very different "feel", actually, may feel even more distinguished then efke/pan-f.

    anyway, the good thing is that u can still use ortho films - efke/adox 50 is great general film, ilford has fp4-like ortho (but only in lf), and rollei has a truly tech ortho film in all formats. so lots of options if u wanna try.

  10. #10
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    Thank you Victor for your suggestion of different films, didn’t know that Ilford had some ortho-films films. Ole, you are quite right, looking at his pictures seems to confirm this. I went through a volume: “Albert Renger-Patzch, Photographer of Objectivity”, ed. by Ann and Jürgen Wilde and Thomas Weski (Thames and Hudson, London, 1997) and yes, obviously, never thought about that! Nice Anton for raising the question. When you look at a lot of his pictures, especially industrial buildings but a lot of others too, you seldom see the sky; it’s just, at least in the book, a mark of white (this just as an obvious example). To that extent there are some similarities to Bernd and Hilla Becher’s pictures of industrial buildings - though they preferred an overcast day in order to accentuate the buildings. Perhaps Renger-Patzsch did the same with ortho-films!
    //Bertil

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