Herve Villechaize is a foot taller than you!
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Eight hundred leaf-tables and no chairs? You can't sell leaf-tables and no chairs. Chairs, you got a dinette set. No chairs, you got dick!
- Nathan Arizona Sr.
Is all right. I shrank a bit. Got fatter too.
I'll try what you describe some time. I think maybe with old negatives, from when I sucked at developing film and getting it right it, it might be a very helpful thing to do.
Often when I do the actual print I'll make one deliberately too dark, and another deliberately too light, so I can see the value in what you do.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
"Make good art!"
- Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
I think at some point unless our name is Brett Weston we have to choose one to be great..
Maybe I am wrong about this but after a lot of consideration being at the top of the game as photographer and a printer is a very , very hard task.
Brett Weston, Brassai, Jeff Wall, come to mind but a lot of great photographers use dedicated printers historically, and being a great printer dosen't always end up making you a good photographer.
Someone who I really respect for being able to do both is Ed Burtynsky... he honed his magic in a darkroom with the old magenta and yellow filters.....
QUOTE=MaximusM3;1316274]But what about the unfortunate souls who are both? [/QUOTE]
Oh I wish we did not have a peanut gallery... I think I may take you out back of Silvano's and teach you some manners.
QUOTE=Dinesh;1316277]Herve Villechaize is a foot taller than you![/QUOTE]
I can only reiterate what others have stated at this point. It is important for me to have a goal before I head into the darkroom. I have actually found computers to be of great help in this way. Everything I shoot gets scanned, numbered and put into Lightroom, which allows me to organize images. I don't do contact sheets anymore. It is also important to keep your negatives organized. Until a few years ago I just had everything loosely organized by year and it would take a long time to find the negs I wanted to print. I spent a solid week organizing and numbering them. Now finding a neg is a breeze since I can make a list in Lightroom, print a quick "contact sheet" with the neg numbers on a laser printer and then find the negs in a few minutes. The point is to make it easy on yourself so when you do have the time or motivation to print nothing gets in the way.
One thing I do also is write the details of the exposure on the back of each print. I do write down what I think is the final combination in a book so the next time I print the neg I have a place to start. Lately I have also been going back and amending the information according to the toned and dry prints so I am not starting from scratch. Things change sometimes in different toners. I find I have to fight against my general laziness to do these things but it is worth it in the end.
When I was younger I printed a lot because it was all new. These days I print when I have to so I usually do it in big spurts. I stopped screwing around with different developers and different films which makes printing difficult if you want a set of images to have a common aesthetic. I did a certain set of images over the course of a decade and they were pretty much a waste because of the vast inconsistencies in the negs. I blame this partly on the demise of Agfa though. You live and learn.
One last thing. You will never print all of your negs so accept that. You probably won't even print all of the ones you think are good even. Take satisfaction in the quality of your prints and not the quantity. Make the extra effort on each one that you think can be great. You are better off making 5 amazing prints in a week than 10 really good ones.
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I read the first page or so of responses to Katie's original post a day or two ago, but not the intervening pages. I am only responding to the title of the post, so I apologize in advance if I am being redundant or not following where the thread has gone. I enjoy going my own way in any event.
Before going into the darkroom I like to remind myself to breathe, slow down, and leave other elements of my life at the darkroom door, entering with a clear mind.
When I go to the darkroom to develop negatives or make contact sheets, I am focused on the science. I am paying very close attention to the notes I took in the field and what I need to do to develop a very printable negative, and/or determining if a previously developed negative has too much, enough, or too little contrast.
To me, printing a negative is a completely different experience; I never develop, proof, and print in the same session, or not even in the same day. The only similarity I see in these tasks is that they happen to be performed in the same space.
When I go to the darkroom to print a negative, I am focused on the art. Although I may have some preconceptions about how the negative should be printed, I try very hard to remain open to other possibilities that the negative may suggest. Some of the prints that I have been most satisfied with came into being because I was sympathetic to how the negative wished to be presented.
If this sounds voodooish, it is because of the half bottle of red wine that I drank with dinner, and the Yanni concert that happens to be playing on PBS at the moment. But I am sure that I will agree with myself when I read this in the morning.
Yeah... all those carbohydrates in the pretzels really add up. Don't do that!
Originally Posted by MaximusM3
Well, after posting last night, I logged off from the computoy, got the kids to bed, got all motivated and spent four hours in the darkroom, made two finished prints of a very recent negative I was most excited about:
It's a frog and chicken embryo in a jar. (But, of course!!) Dark and rich with lots of juicy shadows. One print for selenium and one for sepia, then I'll hang them on the wall for a while.
One thing I have been doing is sitting down on the floor with the tray, and spending some time with each print, rather than just rushing on to the next print. You can also see my notebook next to the tray, which I have decided needs to be part of the discipline.
Also, almost finished contact sheets of every roll of B&W film that had been left un-proofed for years. One roll dates back to 2002. Got the sniffles when I saw the beautiful portraits of my wife and now 12-year-old son.
Tonight, ran six rolls of film to get me caught up. I had some beach portraits from Mexico a few weeks back - Acros, shot at ASA 50, ran it all in DIAFINE! Beautiful sparkle to the negs, not too much contrast.
Plus, my first 4-reel 120 tank EVER!!!! (oh, no you didn't...)
And, if that wasn't enough, I rediscovered the offensive "drippy cap" for the stainless tanks. Threw it right into the trash.
Great posts everyone -- I've read through the entire list and have learned a lot along the way (Carnie a fan of Prince and Madonna -- who knew?!) ;-)
I move around a lot. Sometimes I have darkroom, most times I don't. I was recently gifted an enlarger, but it will be at least a month before that's up and running (I'm moving house). In the past 5 years I probably have had less than 50 sessions in the darkroom -- and more than a lifetime of images to print. In the beginning I was doing what some people here have offered: choosing a print that I really wanted to print. But after a while I realized all I had were a random series of various images that had no connection to one another, were printed on various papers and at various sizes, and that was doing me no good at all. So I looked at the bigger picture, realized where possible portfolios were, and have started to concentrate (when I have the time, which may only be once or twice a year) on working on images that fit a particular category. I've standardized 35mm prints to 5x7 on 8x10 (small I know) and medium format (square) prints to 8x8 on 9.5x12. That's helped a lot. If I haven't been in the darkroom for a while, the first thing I do is print up the backlog of contact sheets I need. After that, I can start to work on working proofs of images that I'm interested in. If those are worthwhile (after a few days/weeks/months on the wall) then I'll have a session where I work on one (possible two) images to a) make the best image I can and b) make multiple prints of that image once I'm happy (at least five for future toning or other possibilities). My darkroom sessions usually last 4-8 hours, including washing (minus print washer) but no toning. Until now that's the best I've been able to do since my darkroom/enlarger access has been inconsistent, although that may change in the next year. Because of that inconsistency (and having previously heard this advice from Carnie), I rarely take notes, and focus on what's in front of me wherever I am, whenever I am. I also try not to put any pressure on myself since that usually results in disaster. If things are really not working, I either quit for the night, or just experiment -- trying to force a great print is just a waste of time when I'm having an off day.
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus