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  1. #1

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    The intimate contact print

    What are people's opinions of contact prints smaller that 5x7?

    Is there a photographer who you feel does a masterful job with these smaller contact prints?

    I have seen only one small contact print 2.25x2.25 that I have been very impressed with but I am sure there are others out there.
    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

  2. #2

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    hi mark

    i LOVE them.
    shawn dougherty makes
    wonderful small azo contact prints.

    john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  3. #3
    ajmiller's Avatar
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    Agree with John.
    I've long admired Shawn Dougherty here on apug for his work with smaller contact prints.
    regards,

    Tony

  4. #4

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    I've made many 3x4 contact prints. They can be surprisingly wonderful.

  5. #5
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    I think it takes a bit of skill to pull it off, but if it works, it's beautiful. I saw some work by Jed Devine where he does platinum prints from 6x17cm negs of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines from the relative riverfronts under the bridges. They demand close inspection and work beautifully.

  6. #6

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    I love 'em and I don't think they get enough appreciation. It wasn't that long ago that 2x2 and 2x3 were ordinary print sizes; photo albums from a couple of generations ago are routinely full of contact prints in those sizes. I sort of like playing with the "looks like an old photo" reaction that people have to small prints; I've got photos from the last couple of years that people routinely assume must be preserved from the 1950s.

    This whole business with ridiculous gigantic print sizes like 4x6" will blow over eventually, just you watch. :-)

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  7. #7
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    What are people's opinions of contact prints smaller that 5x7?

    Is there a photographer who you feel does a masterful job with these smaller contact prints?

    I have seen only one small contact print 2.25x2.25 that I have been very impressed with but I am sure there are others out there.
    I take it you mean 5 X 7 inches. I have always liked the carte de visite, which I assume were contact prints-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carte_de_visite

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #8
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    They are underappreciated. Sometimes you need a medium or large print, but too often, a small contact print is nice too. Particularly where the composition/shapes are simple or minimal and you're not trying to do f64 style landscapes.

    I make bookmarks with strips of MF negatives. On silver gelatin FB paper or cyanotypes, they are wonderful triptychs. 35mm makes nice bookmarks too.

    I've got nice 4x5 contact prints as well, such as cyanotypes or toned cyanotypes. I generally don't frame such photos, but I could. They are nice in hand or on fridge.

  9. #9

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    Here at George Eastman House we've been holding workshops on how to make photosensitive materials for a variety of contact printing processes. Many of these have been matched with period camera negative processes...but we also use film and digital negatives as an alternative.

    These printing processes range from photogenic drawing [Talbot, halide fixed] to salt print, chromotype [Hunt's direct positive], Bayard's direct positive process, albumen on paper and glass, collodion transparencies on glass, collodion on paper [gold and platinum toned] and various gelatin emulsions [gaslighjt and silver bromide].

    Often it's a question of the particular type of negative that fits the printing medium. Paper negatives for example have a lot of noise, where glass negative don't.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    Thank you for the kind works, John and AJ. =)

    After 5 years shooting 8x10 I've settled into making 4x5 and 2.25x2.25 / 2.25 2.75 inch contact prints exclusively.
    For me they have a delicate, jewel like quality about them which naturally draws the viewer in to examine the work more closely. And being contact prints that's exactly what I want.

    I only use a ground glass for viewing my MF work and obviously the 4x5. I like being able to see the image projected on the glass, with both eyes, at the size it will be viewed as a print. What will work at that size becomes easy to determine when you think of it in those terms. And of course let's not forget that no small number of the original "f64 style landscapes" WERE 4x5 contact prints...

    As far as presentation, I like to mat my 4x5s on 13x15 inch board to seperate them from the wall and I believe it also lends a sense of formality. I mount my 2.25s (be they square, horizontal or vertical) on 10x12 inch vertical boards and weight the bottom. At my home I use photo-shelves instead of hangers so people can easily pick of the framed (or unframed) prints for a closer look.

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