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  1. #21

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    It's not that materials have gotten more contrasty, afte rall we control the contrast, it's that as we get older our eyes require more contrast. I recall a period of time having spent many consequtive days and nights printing for a show. My eyes were tired from all the critical close viewing and the constant change from darkroom lighting to gallery viewing lighting. I took a day off from printing and did not even view the work that had been printed last and still sat on the drying racks. When I did finally view those prints, with rested eyes, I realized that I had turned the contrast way up and that these prints were unuseable. Now I will rarely print two days in a row and will not print 3 days in a row at all. Our eyes are an instrument of our work and ultimately are the most critical.

  2. #22
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    Maybe not more contrast, but more 'drama' for sure. When I compare a print from my 20's to the same image printed in my 40's, for the most part (especially if it has a stormy sky), the latter packs more emotional 'wallop'.

    Then again, my deep forest images now have far more textural information.

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Dear John,

    Contrast must surely be a function of the range available between paper-base white and maximum black, and once you have enough silver in the emulsion, there's no point in adding more. And you can't get more Dmax from less than you need.

    R.
    Yes I agree but I was also thinking about the consequence of reduced silver content in b/w film. How many of us actually check the density range of our negatives over time? Has the neg density that we would have used for a Print Value 8 fallen gradually without our noticing? Are we simply compensating for this by printing harder? Or am I completely off track?
    (Don't know how I would accomodate chromogenic film in this theory - never tried it)
    Probably you mean that when you compare prints you made some time ago with your recent work then more contrast is evident. Is this so?

    Regards,
    John

    On reflction this seems to undermine the idea that material have become more contrasty. I need to clear my ideas on this so please feel free to point out the failing of my logic.
    J.
    Last edited by Jean Noire; 11-05-2006 at 02:32 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Confusion

  4. #24

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    Apparently a 60 yr old needs about 4 times the light needed by a 20 yr old to recognise the same level of detail. On that basis you'd think that older printers would be inclined to reduce contrast.

    Most of my non photographic friends who fit into the classification of "the general public" seem to prefer my prints less contrasty. They do not seem inclined to want to exchange flatness and detail for "bite" and greater contrast that loses some detail.

    I think it was Roger Hicks who has said in a book/article that most high street/commercial B&W processors produce prints that have a cigarette ash quality.In my experience his observation is spot-on. These were certainly the prints I used to get back in the days before I did any of my own printing.

    This is probably driven by customer satisfaction in that I presume that this gets them less complaints than more contrast at the expense of losing detail.

    Of course few members of the general public now bother to take B&W and have little chance to compare and appreciate a more contrasty print but there does seem to be a difference between what joe public prefers in B&W and what members of a photographic club might judge to be right.

    pentaxuser

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terence View Post
    Alas, I showed up to late for Grade 5 papers . . .
    Agfa Brovira, Grade 6. Now that stuff was HARD!

  6. #26

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNcFToL_KdE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laZw3Y3JCJ8

    In case of Trevor Horn, the 1980 version is Ektagraphic-HC-in-D-11 contrast, while 2004 version is Tri-X-in-D-76 contrast. He lost contrast with age.

    Debi Doss gained weight with age. Linda Jardim still looks very nice. (I'm much younger than those people.)
    Last edited by Ryuji; 11-05-2006 at 10:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuji View Post
    In case of Trevor Horn, the 1980 version is Ektagraphic-HC-in-D-11 contrast, while 2004 version is Tri-X-in-D-76 contrast. He lost contrast with age.

    Debi Doss gained weight with age. Linda Jardim still looks very nice. (I'm much younger than those people.)
    Ryuji:

    I think that this is the first "joke" that I have ever seen you post here.

    You should do it more, you do it well .

    Matt

  8. #28
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    I noticed that I tended to print in harder contrast after I started wearing reading glasses. Unless my glasses are absolutely crystal clean they seem to knock some contrast off the print - blacks don't look quite as pure black with a bit if a smudge on the glasses. I now tend to check shadow contrast with my glasses off and and sharpness/highlights with them on.

    I also tend to agree with others that with age and experience the repertoire improves considerably and I would say I'm much better at producing a much longer tonal range leading to output which is "contrastier" than the quite flat printing I produced in early years. I'd like to think my eyes have not changed that much but no doubt they have as evidenced by the swearing which often erupts when trying to read a street directory in the car at night....

  9. #29

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    I started with 35mm as a PJ, military and wire in the late 60s and early 70s, my work was very high contrast, grade 4 was normal for most of my work, newspaper and wire services needed a higher contast negative for printing. In the past 20 years I moved towards MF and LF so my newer work is now grade 2 for normal and 3 for hard for MF/LF and grade 3 as normal for 35mm.

  10. #30
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    I'd cite both Gene Smith and Irving Penn as counterexamples, whose contrast ranges varied in both directions over the years.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

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