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  1. #21
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    (and hence we don't see Mortenson in German photomags and their American children like LIFE and LOOK...
    But the issues of Der Satrap I have in my collection (1934) are full of pictorialism...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I am not sure I understand. Can someone explain the technique to me, or point me to a place where I can read about it on the net.
    There was a link in a previous response that might be helpful. I also found a couple of other articles by doing a Google.

    If I understand the concept correctly, the Mortenson technique is to expose for highlights within scenes of small SBR (1:4ish), and then use what amounts to very long stand development (hours, days, a week in the fridge), with little or no aggitation, to bring up the shadows. That might be over-simplifying the concept, though.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
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  3. #23

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    Okay. I did a google search but did not come up with much. SOmetimes I think the Google Gremlins don't like me.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  4. #24
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    But the issues of Der Satrap I have in my collection (1934) are full of pictorialism...
    I meant of the Stefan Lorant school (Munchner Illustrierte Presse etc). LIFE, BTW, showed up in 1936 and is decidedly non-pictorialist from the cover forward.



    "That the photograph should not be posed; the camera should be like the notebook of a trained reporter, which records contemporary events as they happen without trying to make a picture; that people should be photographed as they really are and not as they would like to appear" — editor (MIP and Picture Post and Bilder Courier) Stefant Lorant

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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  5. #25

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    wasn't abrading the paper emulsion and using lead a pretty common technique?
    the portrait photographer i worked for was trained in the 30s through the new york institute of photography ( correspondence school ). she was still doing rembrant lighting, negative retouching ( with leads ) as well as print retouching ( abrading and lead dust ) through the 1990s.
    Last edited by jnanian; 12-17-2004 at 02:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #26
    RAP
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    It sounds as if Mortensen's techniques are geared primarily for studio work where the photographer is in complete control of the lighting. Apparently he did lots of bracketing and then chose the best negative. If that is the case, then his method has very limited applications in the field. AA did not have a chance to bracket Moonrise Hernandez. In fact, he didn't even use an exposure meter, he couldn't find it!

    As for the Zone System, proper application will encompass just about any lighting situation one will come across and allow the photographer the expand and contract contrast as the artist sees fit. Picker believed that exposing for the high values, not the highlights was the best way. Large parts of the subject would be placed on zones vii and viii such as clouds, snow, clapboard etc. Highlights are generally very small and will usually fall on zones ix and x.

    His workshops required you to do a personal ASA test, and development tests for complete control of your materials. He also believed that it was best to place the exposure range of the subject as high as possible on the "S" curve of the film for maximum separation of tones, then print expressively.
    Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.

  7. #27

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    What's puzzled me about the Mortensen method is that I've always associated stand development with compensation--the "magic" of having your highlights end up in more-or-less the right place even if your exposure is off--which makes metering for the highlights seem a rather odd approach. Was he doing stand development in a way that didn't result in compensation?

  8. #28
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    Mortensen would base his exposure off a metered bright highlight reading on the forehead of the model(possibly a Zonie 71/2-8) and modify this with experience(he didn't entirely trust lightmeters).He would develope to "gamma infinity"(just till develope fog started to set in). Agitation pattern is by rumor and antidote,as Bill never mentions it in any of his books. His development timing was based on the film/developer combination being used(films of which we cannot get on todays market,unless someone starts repackaging Super-XX in 35mm again)
    As for bracketing, his only mention it in "Outdoor Portraiture".Where he says to do a safety of 1 stop more and 1 stop less than metered reading.
    "Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."

  9. #29
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAP
    If that is the case, then his method has very limited applications in the field. AA did not have a chance to bracket Moonrise Hernandez. In fact, he didn't even use an exposure meter, he couldn't find it!
    Actually, this particular image was made more in keeping with Mortenson's methods than with his own. Since he couldn't find his exposure meter, he computed the correct exposure using the Exposure Formula and the luminance of the moon, which he wanted to be Zone VII and which he knew. (250 candles/square foot). The moon is also arguably the item of central interest in the picture. He let the chips fall where they may viz a vis the foreground shadows (which he intensified in selenium some years later). He used water bath development (D-23 if I remember correctly) which also implies development by inspection to keep from blowing the highlights in the clouds. All this is documented in Examples The Making of 40 Photographs. In any case, it's hardly a good example of the Zone System axiom that one should always 'expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights'. Unless you consider Zone VII a shadow.
    Jim

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by garryl
    Mortensen would base his exposure off a metered bright highlight reading on the forehead of the model(possibly a Zonie 71/2-8) and modify this with experience(he didn't entirely trust lightmeters).He would develope to "gamma infinity"(just till develope fog started to set in).
    ...so I guess no one here actually does this, then. Guess I'll have to try it "cold" -- I'm curious as to how much of Mortenson's "look" comes from this development and how much from his specific abrasion and lighting methods.

    Today the abrasion stuff just looks like so much photoshopping, heh. Kind of like aluminum dinner services -- insanely exclusive and expensive in 1800, but near-worthless once they were easy to create by 1900

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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