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  1. #1

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    flipping negative in holder...OK?

    I won't be setting up the darkroom (in the bathroom!) again for a couple of weeks, but I got some proofs back from the lab, and I have a question for now. Instructions tell me to set the negative in the holder with the emulsion side down. But after reviewing the proofs, I'd like my subjects facing left, rather than facing right. So if I flip the negative, with the emulsion up--any problem (logically it seems like it shouldn't matter since the light is passing through the negative either way, but instructions are given for a reason, yes?).

  2. #2

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    AFAIK, what you suggest will cause no problems. I've done it accidentally a couple of times, and the prints seemed fine to me. Of course, doing this will create a print that's a mirror-image reversal of the original scene. It sounds like this is what you want, but it will of course cause the parts in peoples' hair to change sides, signage to read backwards, US cars to look like those sold in Britain, etc.

  3. #3
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    It can make a rather large difference, depending much on the thickness of the film when you are contact printing. In terms of enlarging... I guess you are throwing the image through the film backing as opposed to having the emulsion be the last thing the light passes through on it's way to the paper. I'd do a test both ways and see if it makes a difference to you. All the best. Shawn

  4. #4

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    Depends on how big you make the print, and how critical you are about the results. There will be some loss of sharpness and contrast. In a small print, it will not be terribly noticeable. Scale a 35mm negative up to fit 8x10 or 8x12 and the situation gets more difficult. The flaws may show more than you'd like. It's tough enough to get a really nice print that size from a 35mm negative doing things "by the book." What the heck. It will not hurt anything, so give it shot and see if it meets your expectations.

  5. #5
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    On the one hand, it's not ideal to print through the base. On the other hand, people have been doing it for years when they've decided that the image looked better flipped. If the composition is much stronger flipped than as composed in camera, then this will be more important than the minor loss of quality that could result from printing through the base.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  6. #6
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    you can print the negative right side up or flopped , you just make sure you focus on the grain when printing.

    You do open up a bit of a debate about are your images real or not, *not sure I am saying this right* kind of like the old cropping vs not cropping discussion.

    Myself I would never print a flopped image of a scene of my own, and I also print full frame . Personal taste.
    I will not entertain major cropping images for clients* and I have been printing professionally for 30 years. As well I really question my client if they want me to delibertly flop an image.

    Known areas specifically landscapes in my humble opinon should never be printed flopped. As well portraits kind of creep me out if they are flopped.
    I have seen deliberate mirror imaging that creates a visual effect that is compelling but both versions of the image are present.

    Though I solarize or lith print almost 60% of my personal work, am I guilty of what I dislike in cropping and flipping images.

    How do others feel about these two issues, *major cropping, printing flopped images. enquiring minds need to know *

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If something is meant to be a documentary record, then flipping the image would contradict that goal. I don't see it as a problem, though, with a portrait, abstract, still life, macro, etc., as long as it doesn't introduce a distraction like text that reads backward.

    I don't see major cropping as an issue even with journalistic photographs. You can't always stand where you want, with the camera and lens you want, so sometimes one needs to crop.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
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  8. #8
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    I will do whatever I feel is necessary to squeeze the result I require from a negative. Anything goes, no holds barred; the end result is king. Reality left the scene when I hit the shutter button.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  9. #9

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    Theorically it could degrade the image but I can't see the difference because I have made so many prints in that way. If that is the effect you want I say no problem.

  10. #10

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    Isn't there/ wasn't there a convention to flip portraits sometimes if the client preferred to see themselves as they see themselves (i.e. as in a mirror) rather than as the world sees them.

    It certainly is odd to see ourselves in a photograph, as others see us, in our eyes 'reversed' from our reflected image. Which begs the question in this case what is real anyway? Whose reality? Not something I've done myself though or ever been asked to do!

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