But practice and lots of it makes perfect !!
Originally Posted by photomc
For years I tried to make a printers , print. As far as I could push the envelope, I think this is a good approach in the beginning as it will make you try a lot of different styles.
Now I am not as crazy in my day to day printing and sometimes I leave areas in a print that in the past I would have tried to fix. Little abberations actually seem to add character. As well when I am close to being finished with a print I will make one darker and lighter to see the next day, funny how I sometimes pick the second or third print.
When you make contact sheets of random images , when you get the balance you like , make a contact 1/2 stop darker or 1/2stop lighter.
It is amazing what you will see with a darker or lighter print.
I agree with making your life simple in the darkroom, but only after you have developed a good working style and approach to your photographs.
I still make very complex prints, but only when required .
like those before me good negs make it simple. That is where I would consentrate first. Then the print is easy. Also, the bigger the neg the easier to print in my estimation.
I agree with Lee's comment about larger negatives. 4 x 5 negatives often just seem to fall automatically onto the paper; 35mm usually requires more effort.
Couldn't agree more. Big negs help a lot. A little dodging or burning and a water bath with Azo and I'm usually getting what I want in a couple of test prints.
Originally Posted by lee
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Nature seldom, if ever, puts the light down just right.
A year ago I printed a portfolio of negatives from a 10 year span, 1983 to 1993. They were all 4x5 or 5x7. Many of the negs I had printed before, some not at all. I started by printing about 60 of my favorite (from several thousand) on RC paper. These were just proof prints. Not much if any alteration. These I lived with for a while. From this I printed about 20 really good prints on fiber and from this I chose 12. None of the prints are straight. Some are simple prints -- a little dodge or burn. If some print required life threatening surgery, sorry...RIP. But there were some that I felt were worth extra effort. I'd print a quickie in some direction to see if it was where I wanted to go, think about it, and work on it the next weekend. I was printing 20 hours a week and sometimes it would take 4 or 5 hours to get a really good print worked out. By this I mean that the composition could be enhanced by stearing the eye within the photograph. I usually do this with a mask of plastic over the negative that I apply pencil to. If is very effective and once you have it, the subsequent prints are easier. The majority of the time is not spent on the print, it is spent on the discovery of how to control the composition.
As others have mentioned, I don't like prints that look contrived or that have the look of 'the hand of god.' There are many very popular photographers that print this way and I know there work is very popular, but this is not how I see my world.
I like my printing process to be as organic and tactile an experience as possible. I like to mold the image under the lens using my hands, held in improbable contortions, to burn and dodge. Sure, I use some other basic tools but I don't want the printing experience to become a tedious, technical effort. That's what they make computers for. Millions of pixels in an image and if you have enough time, you can adjust every single one of them just exactly as you like. What fun.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
Well said! That's just how I feel, too.
Originally Posted by Flotsam
KISS to me is measuring the negative with my EM10, deciding on paper grade, then making one full unmanipulated print. Then process and dry that, look long and hard at it, then back to the darkroom for final prints with appropriate burning in. For some reason I don't dodge, but may burn in everything but one tiny spot...
Sometimes this process fails; I then try a different paper. Not often.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Personally, I think people do what they are capable of. Ansel Adams did more simply because he understood his materials and how they interacted like the back of his hands.
As for myself, if you look at my gallery, you can see that a few of my prints contains extreme modification in the darkroom, etc. BUT, I know where my limitations are. I still havent tried Contrast Masking, for lack of courage. I also have not tried selective reduction using Farmers Reducer, etc.
My train of thought is, the more well rounded you are at facilitating your craft, the more options you will have to come to what you see in your minds eye. Some people are constrained from their inability to interpret what they see in their mind because they don't have the full understanding of the craft to make it a reality.
Money is not the problem. The problem is, I don't have any.
That's my style. If I do more I mess the print up, as I still am in the beginner category
Originally Posted by Sean