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  1. #1

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    Did Ansel Adams use multiple negatives:

    Hello All,

    I am al little new to enlarging and to this website. I was wondering if Ansel Adams used more than one negative for one picture. I understand that used multiple burning and dodging techniques. Thanks so much - Heather

  2. #2

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    If you mean a montage, or combining multiple negatives onto one print, I don't think he used this approach at all. He does not describe any such technique in any of the books of his I have read. It seems the anthithesis of his overall approach.

    If instead, did he make several exposures of the same scene, I am sure he did. For Moonrise, Hernandez, he said that he flipped the film holder to make a second exposure, but just before he make another exposure, the lighting changed.

    Charlie Strack

  3. #3
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    I'm not aware that he ever used more than one negative for a picture.

    He often shot an image multiple times so that he would have backup negatives or could process the identical negatives differently if he didn't like the results, but he only printed from the single best negative.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

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  4. #4
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    He probably frowned on the practice as not being 'straight' photography.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
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  5. #5

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    He absolutely made different prints from the same negative. I have seen them. In the same gallery.

  6. #6
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    I think she is referring to adding clouds to a flat sky or adding a human eye to the shadow of an egg. That kind of thing.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
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  7. #7

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    Adams frowning at something for not being "straight photography"? The master of tricks???

  8. #8
    Maris's Avatar
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    Even people who actually make photographs as opposed to doing just camera work (camera play?) often forget what Ansel Adams was really photographing. Sure, Ansel made film exposures of mountains and lakes and all the other wonderful things but these are not what we see on the gallery wall. Apart from the Polaroid pictures we never see camera-original material. It's invariably photographs OF photographs; and many other things besides.

    When we photograph a film negative using gelatin silver emulsion coated on paper we end up with a positive picture on paper. A negative of a negative is a positive! This is a process a lot of people call "printing" but it is actually an act of photography as technically pure and direct as the original camera exposure.

    Ansel Adams photographed a lot of film negatives using paper backed emulsion and he also photographed burning cards, dodging wands, his hands, and any other darn thing he cared to push into the enlarger beam. Remember, the original film negative is only an element of subject matter for everything that happens next.

    I was reminded of this when looking at an Ansel Adam's photograph in the chilly vaults of the Australia National Gallery in Canberra. The photograph was from his Museum Series and the title was "Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska, 1947". Mount McKinley seems to float, huge, white, and majestic, under a black sky in the top part of the picture. The bottom of the picture is a gleaming near-white Wonder Lake. The scene as depicted is dramatic but utterly impossible!

    A white lake cannot reflect a black sky. The reflection is always darker than the thing reflected. So what is going on? Why is the lake white? Then the penny dropped. The thing in front of me was a gelatin silver photograph that originally consisted of paper coated with a negative acting emulsion. The lake was white because that was the part of the picture where Ansel Adams' shadow fell during a portion of the exposure he made in his Yosemite darkroom all those years ago. Not only did I have a photograph of a Mount McKinley negative but also a photograph of Ansel Adams, the man himself, on the same piece of paper.

    The museum curator had left me alone with the photograph and did not see this moment of insight. I sensed Ansel's presence. My blood ran a bit cold to be so near his ghost. But it was exhilarating too.

    Ansel Adams did not combine negatives to make his photographs but there were many ingredients not the least of which was himself, there, bodily, in person.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  9. #9
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    Even people who actually make photographs as opposed to doing just camera work (camera play?) often forget what Ansel Adams was really photographing. Sure, Ansel made film exposures of mountains and lakes and all the other wonderful things but these are not what we see on the gallery wall. Apart from the Polaroid pictures we never see camera-original material. It's invariably photographs OF photographs; and many other things besides.

    When we photograph a film negative using gelatin silver emulsion coated on paper we end up with a positive picture on paper. A negative of a negative is a positive! This is a process a lot of people call "printing" but it is actually an act of photography as technically pure and direct as the original camera exposure.

    Ansel Adams photographed a lot of film negatives using paper backed emulsion and he also photographed burning cards, dodging wands, his hands, and any other darn thing he cared to push into the enlarger beam. Remember, the original film negative is only an element of subject matter for everything that happens next.

    I was reminded of this when looking at an Ansel Adam's photograph in the chilly vaults of the Australia National Gallery in Canberra. The photograph was from his Museum Series and the title was "Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska, 1947". Mount McKinley seems to float, huge, white, and majestic, under a black sky in the top part of the picture. The bottom of the picture is a gleaming near-white Wonder Lake. The scene as depicted is dramatic but utterly impossible!

    A white lake cannot reflect a black sky. The reflection is always darker than the thing reflected. So what is going on? Why is the lake white? Then the penny dropped. The thing in front of me was a gelatin silver photograph that originally consisted of paper coated with a negative acting emulsion. The lake was white because that was the part of the picture where Ansel Adams' shadow fell during a portion of the exposure he made in his Yosemite darkroom all those years ago. Not only did I have a photograph of a Mount McKinley negative but also a photograph of Ansel Adams, the man himself, on the same piece of paper.

    The museum curator had left me alone with the photograph and did not see this moment of insight. I sensed Ansel's presence. My blood ran a bit cold to be so near his ghost. But it was exhilarating too.

    Ansel Adams did not combine negatives to make his photographs but there were many ingredients not the least of which was himself, there, bodily, in person.
    Well said. Thank you,
    Steve
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  10. #10
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    You're thinking of the photographer Jerry Uelsmann. He has 8 enlargers in his darkroom and will often print 3-4 images on a single piece of paper to make a final photograph. He uses extensive dodging and burning, masking, and multiple exposures. Here is a photograph by Ted Orland that shows Adams and Uelsmann together, with Imogene Cunningham.
    Last edited by Greg Davis; 06-16-2009 at 03:58 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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