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  1. #71

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    All I can say is that it wil be a silver chloride contact printing paper. We hope it will be even a finer paper than Azo always was. We are working toward that goal and are confident we will reach it.

    Another thing someone said--and which I agree with: a good print on enlarging paper is better than a bad print on Azo. Silver chloride paper is not a magic bullet--although it is so damn easy to use that it sometimes feels that way. You still have to know what a good print is--and I believe the only way to know that is to have sat down and viewed hundreds of great prints--prints on silver chloride paper and prints on enlarging papers. And have looked at them side by side. And then have taken your own prints and set them side by side with the great prints. This used to be easy to do--museums, and individual photographers were open to it, but that is less likely to be the case now, although with effort that can still be done.

    I remember one evening visiting a collector--he set a photograph of mine on his mantelpiece so he could view it from a distance. It happened, just by chance, to sit there next to two very famous photographs--iconic photographs--enlargements, however, on enlarging paper--by two very famous photographers. Even though I had compared my photographs many times to prints by great photographers, I had never set them next to these two prints. I was shocked by the difference. The other prints paled in comparison to mine. This was certainly not due to any greater skill I had. Those other photographers no doubt had greater skill than I did--they had to to make the prints they did on the paper they used. My print was a finer print and had more glow and "presence" because it was printed on silver chloride paper.

    Which is why we are having a silver chloride paper made and why we will not stop until it is produced.

  2. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith View Post
    All I can say is that it wil be a silver chloride contact printing paper. We hope it will be even a finer paper than Azo always was. We are working toward that goal and are confident we will reach it.
    Michael,

    People who have seen your work and know your committment to the craft would never doubt this.

    Along with many others, I hope, and am confident, that you will reach your goal.

    I would say, however, that the quality of your work is due more to your mastery of the skills than in the materials. And that was not said to in any way detract from the qualities of AZO/silver chloride papers, whicih are my favorite silver papers.

    Sandy King

  3. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith View Post

    You still have to know what a good print is--and I believe the only way to know that is to have sat down and viewed hundreds of great prints--prints on silver chloride paper and prints on enlarging papers. And have looked at them side by side. And then have taken your own prints and set them side by side with the great prints. This used to be easy to do--museums, and individual photographers were open to it, but that is less likely to be the case now, although with effort that can still be done.
    Michael,

    How about throwing in hundreds of other great prints of different process, say albumen, collodion, carbon, gum bichromate, cyanotype, palladium and platinum, etc. etc.

    Your analysis suggests that the only great prints are silver gelatin prints. I don't believe you really mean that?

    Sandy King

  4. #74

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    No, I do not mean that prints other than silver cannot be exquisite. It is just that I am comparing one type of silver paper to another. I make a lot of photographs and if I used an alternative process I would be printing all year--and I have other things to do. Printing on Azo is relatively easy, and very quick. If the results were not beautiful I would not care about ease and quickness. You do what you have to do--however long it takes. but if ease and quickness come with it, hey, I'm all for that.

    Some albumen prints by Watkins and others are as rich and as beautiful as any photograph I have ever seen. They make the richest silver prints look, well not weak, but not all that rich either. The blacks in albumen prints can be astonishing. And carbon prints can be incredibly beautiful.

    I do not like "flat" prints--and some of the alternative processes often yield flat, dull prints.

    Take platinum. I have seen so very many platinum prints that people say are beautiful just because they are platinum, but in reality the prints are flat and dull--lifeless, to put it in a word. Now, as some of you may know, Paula and I have had platinum prints made of some of our work. Large platinum prints--mine, from 8x20 negatives are one meter wide. Paula's from 8x10 negatives are 23 x 29 inches and are printed on hand-made Japanese paper. These platinum prints are printed by the printer of our books and they are rich with a full tonal scale. The blacks have densities of over 2.0. Each print is printed from 5 enlarged digital negatives (printed in register)--which are made from drum-scanned negatives of ours. This is nothing I could ever do, nor could anyone who does not have the equipment the people who do the work have. George Tice, who was the first one in "modern times"--beginning in the late 1960s--to revive platinum printing, saw our prints and he is having his platinum prints made by the same folks. He has said, " They do things that I cannot do."

    So, I'm not opposed to alternative processes. It is just that I find something very special and emotionally stirring about a sharp well-seen long scale silver print. And if the print is not well seen--forget it. A great print (print-quality wise) of something poorly seen is worthless. The seeing comes first. Always. And I never forget that. Nor should anyone else. But these discussions are about materials.

  5. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith View Post
    .......

    --and I believe the only way to know that is to have sat down and viewed hundreds of great prints--prints on silver chloride paper and prints on enlarging papers. And have looked at them side by side. And then have taken your own prints and set them side by side with the great prints. This used to be easy to do--museums, and individual photographers were open to it, but that is less likely to be the case now, although with effort that can still be done.

    I remember one evening visiting a collector--he set a photograph of mine on his mantelpiece so he could view it from a distance. It happened, just by chance, to sit there next to two very famous photographs--iconic photographs--enlargements, however, on enlarging paper--by two very famous photographers. Even though I had compared my photographs many times to prints by great photographers, I had never set them next to these two prints. I was shocked by the difference. The other prints paled in comparison to mine. This was certainly not due to any greater skill I had. Those other photographers no doubt had greater skill than I did--they had to to make the prints they did on the paper they used. My print was a finer print and had more glow and "presence" because it was printed on silver chloride paper.

    Which is why we are having a silver chloride paper made and why we will not stop until it is produced.
    I've seen your print, in my friend Galley, Dearno Gallery, I agree with your statement, your print seem more glowing, and more tonal rich compare to the others photos by great photographers that use enlarging paper, side by side stand in that gallery (the photos that made from Enlarging paper is very very beautiful photographs)

    Very tempting, so sad both amidol and azo beyond my reach, too expensive for me

    I hope and pray for your succes to making that lodima,
    GBU

  6. #76

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    Michael,

    First, I thought these discussions were about aesthetic issues as well as materials.

    Some of the most beautiful prints I have ever seen , in the flesh, were Peter Henry Emerson's low key (flat) prints of the Norfolk Broad. I doubt the DMax of these prints was log 1.2, if that. Gum bichromate prints by the French pictorialsit Demanchy are also low in Dmax, but they also rank high on my all-time list of most beautiful photographs.

    The preference for maximum Dmax is an acquired tast, IMO. We are not born with it. I have no specific objection to it, unless it becomes the major preocupation. In fact, in my own work in carbon I work for high Dmax and maximum relief. It is a very distinctive and beautiful look, but not necessarily the only valid one. In fact, no look is necessarily better than anotther IMO. Our artistic preferences are acquired from education and experience, not encoded into our genetic make-up.

    Let's not forget that it is now possible to make carbon pigment prints from some inkjet printers and papers up to a reflective density of 2.4 and higher, well beyond the Dmax of any silver papers, or for that matter, photographic prints by any process. If you hang your hat on max Dmax someone will eventually one-up you, whatever your process.


    Sandy
    Last edited by sanking; 03-03-2007 at 12:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #77

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    While silver chloride papers are very nice and produce beautiful glowing prints I have seen MAS prints next to albumen prints done by a master and I have to say I prefer the albumen. Not to take anything away from MAS' print which was very beautiful, I simply prefer the pleasing warm tone of albumen to the more neutral tone azo prints.

    There does however appear to be a modern attitude that if you are doing contact silver prints they must be processed in pyro and printed to azo using amidol or they are inferior. I simply do not agree and personally prefer warm tone prints but I also feel strongly that every image deserves its own treatment. While silver chloride prints are awesome there are other prints using other developers on other paper that are very nice as well.

  8. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    ...Our artistic preferences are acquired from education and experience, not encoded into our genetic make-up...
    Whether discussing artistic preferences or any other aspect of human behavior/personality, I'm not sure one can ascribe causation to any particular point along the nature-nurture spectrum.

  9. #79

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    If we all liked the same things it would ge pretty boring. But Kodak might still be making azo if we all liked azo !

    Intersting story, I had a fellow photog over to view prints - he had to have one that I thought was rather 'dark' and somewhat 'flat' - but he likes those kinds of images...the other photog I had over disliked the same print because he thought it was 'muddy'...

    I happen to think its kind of flat/muddy, but it is supposed to be kind of a dark/flat mood...but I am glad the fellow photog loves it and wants it!

  10. #80
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    I have curves for 3 Kodak papers, drawn to the same scale and compared to Azo. Looking at them, Azo appears to have the shortest tone scale and lowest Dmax of all of the papers represented and published on Kodak's web site.

    The Dmax of the Azo paper is about 1.8 compared to about 2.0 - 2.2 for the rest which is in-line with my experience.

    These were all exposed with about 1 - 10 second exposures and tested in the developer or activator that Kodak chose for the release test. In most cases it is Dektol.

    So, the preference for Azo is somehow in the development, in handling or in exposure which reveals its unique qualities. In other words, it is the art involved. But then it is only good art in the hands of an expert, it is only art or good but not both in the hands of the common photographer.

    But then, isn't that what we have all been saying.

    And, the bottom line is also what is implicit here. We can achieve similarly good results with other products if one is a good artist. Whatever product works best for a good artist will move the viewer.

    One of my bosses used to say "we sell photogrphs, not sensitometric curves". The curves I have only serve to show that Azo does not stand out when compared to other papers. This same could be said about Pt/Pd, or any other medium of imaging.

    PE

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