I was not ready for what I saw in Denise's little black leather book. The lady has been a bit too modest.
The tonalities and and print quality attainable at this time totally caught me by surprise. The examples were lovely and exceptional. Congrats Denise. I had no idea....it's all looking really really good!
I was going to say the same thing about Denise's prints but you beat me to it. There was some awfully nice art in the little black book and Denise sure appears to be in control of coating with silver chloride emulsion.
Any print examples from contemporary dry plate negs?
Eric, Arigram, and Sandy: Thank you very much for the nice words. I'm a big fan of your work, Sandy, both your photography and your writing.
Dave: I don't know if you saw the dry plate example I posted in the blizzard of jpegs in my last post. 'Pancho & Herman' is a 5x7in dry plate (made last week). I stuck the plate in the 5x7 film carrier of my Zone VI enlarger and printed the plate on Ilford Multigrade. The file from scanning that print isn't altered in any way.
"The exposure was made late in the afternoon on a sunny day. Wisner 5x7 field camera, 90mm lens, f/16, 3 sec. Developed N-1." This is my description of the plate that made 'Pancho..'. I think it is far more useful than a ASA/ISO number, which is as much a quantitative sound bite as a meaningful descriptor of the materials.
I am finding, without even consciously deciding to, that I am thinking in the terms of a plate maker - my thought process falling in line with the potential/constraints of the old emulsions. When I got started with this I had the idea to 'time travel', if you will, starting from the beginning of the craft and moving forward without any preconceived ideas or expectations, rather than trying to recreate something contemporary and commercial. After all, my heroes at Ilford have the present well covered.
Below is another example of why I think a more comprehensive and qualitative approach is needed: "Puff Amidst the Posies" and two crops. (Enlarged and printed on Ilford Multigrade) Puff is dark purple with a light green belly. The lilies to his left are lemon yellow, and the ones to the right are cream white. To a spot meter the purple is darker than the green and the yellow and white lilies have almost identical values. But, because the plate emulsion is orthochromatic, the values don't register like we would expect them to with panchromatic film. You have to add another level onto your pre-visualization.
It's all very different from modern film and fascinating and far, far easier than you might imagine. I hope more people give it a try.
For yet another take on the process, check out Terry Holsinger's work on theunblinkingeye website.
Last edited by dwross; 08-03-2008 at 10:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.