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Thread: 8x10 negs

  1. #41
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    Ah, it's just me being over the top, and I'm only speaking for myself here...
    I have this thing with how digital images are captured and controlled, including traditional images converted to digital. I feel that digital is only a numerical representation of what was actually there vs. the physical 'capture' of light that film provides. Digital seems to be a highly altered numerical representation that's almost a false truth, a trick in some sense to the human eye. I think the difference between film capture and digital capture are extremely different. The image that hits the ccd/cmos in a digicam, has a lot of missing information, sort of empty gaps in what couldn't be realised by the sensor. Software then fills in these gaps with best guess information. -BAM- right there the truth begins to deteriorate rapidly. When light is burned into film some may say developers and lenses add or remove information too, just like digital does -I disagree. I think film is very different than digital because with digital the original information from the scene no longer exists and becomes unnaturally altered in the digital realm. I hold up a piece of film and there is no denying that an essence of that moment of light lives in the emulsion, it's physically there, stored in the film. That's very important to me because I photograph moments of my life, and I want a physical record not only of the moment, but the light of that moment burned onto the film. It's special to me. When I print, the moment becomes even more magical, giving the original moment more life of it's own. I have never felt the same with digital capture (I own 2 digital cameras by the way). Digital just seems lifeless in that regard. The digital capture alters the information, then you apply levels or filters in photoshop and everything is lost, not to mention the good ole clone tool, layers, removing info adding info, then it's printed by a machine. It's just not my cup of tea and never will be. Digital has it's uses there is no doubt, but I believe photography as an artform needs to be analog and hand crafted to be truly valid. I know that's a bold statement to make, and I may be wrong, but I follow my heart and my heart doesn't feel computers and fine art photography mix. There is Photography and there is Digital Imaging, two different art forms.

  2. #42

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    I always see more detail in the original in-camera negative than the one scanned. Something is definitely loss in the transfer. On the other hand, it is great for cataloguing my negatives quickly. I personally could never use it for fine prints. I cannot get all the original information and detail to show itself.
    Francesco

  3. #43

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    I think the phrase "soul of your image" makes a very good point. Its soul is as a photograph; once you digitize the image it becomes a graphic. Any conversion loses information, especially converting to 1's & 0's. Interpolation tries to add information that's not there anymore. We live in a digitized world closer to the Matrix than we realize. Traditional photography enables me to step out of the digital rat-race (I'm a programmer), at least for awhile.

  4. #44
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    Photographic paper (even some enlarging papers) are sharp enough to reproduce the structure of the actual grains of the film. While it may be claimed that a scan (or other digital capture) has as much image detail as a film/paper combination, the film detail is inadvertently lost.

    This is also why a MF negative enlarged to 8x10" can never look like a 8x10" contact print: It lacks the ultra-fine structural detail. The difference isn't visible to the naked eye, or even with a 10x loupe, but the "soul" is lacking.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  5. #45

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    Actually, I have begun to think that shooting with a large camera 8x10 is the simplest way to go. More and more of them are coming on to the used market at lower and lower prices. Used lenses that are excellent for producing negatives for contact printing are getting cheaper all the time.

    On the other side of the equation you have no need for an enlarger, you can stick with one paper, AZO, one developer, maybe or maybe not Amidol, and have a pretty consisce data base available from Michael's site. To me, this is about as simple as it can get and have outstanding results. And I don't think you are going to waste a lot of paper getting good prints. You may use a lot of paper discovering you need to adjust how you expose and develop negatives to take advantage of AZO, but a negative exposed for the range of the paper makes printing pretty straight forward.

  6. #46

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    Well, it is something how these threads split into various discussions.

    To, first, get back to the question of quality. A friend recently gave me and Paula a book, "Wooden Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard." We do not sail and have no interest in boats, and he knew that, but he knew of our continual pursuit of excellence and thought we would enjoy reading it. I finished the book last night. (Recommended, by the way.) These lines, I thought, were relevant to the discussion we had been having:

    "The danger was not that they would cease to be built, but rather that they would cease to be built well (italics in the original), and that we would therefore lose our understanding of what was good and what was inferior. That inferior standard would then become accepted as the norm. And once inferior workmanship became the norm, the value of the thing itself would diminish . . . "

    So it is important to make the finest crafted prints one can possibly conceive of (I hope it goes without saying, that a well crafted print can still be insipid, or worse), but that without the "best" excellent prints, something is truly lost.

    The soul of a print: Iím not sure there is such a thing, but I wouldnít say there isnít either. I do know, and have known for a very long time, that there is a special relationship between a photograph and what was photographed, and between a negative, developed or undeveloped, and what was photographed. This relationship does not exist for a reproduced photograph or once there has been an intervening digital processing. It seems to have something to do with the light itself.

    I cannot say exactly what this relationship is. But in the book "The Secret Life of Plants," there is a chapter, "The Radiance of Life" I believe it is called, where a business that two scientists had is described. One of them, I recall, was a professor at Princeton University. These men had a business of eradicating farmerís fields of grasshoppers and other pestilent insects. They did this by photographing the fields and then putting the photographs on a Radionic device. When they sprayed the photograph with insecticide while it was on this device and "tuned in" (it has to do with vibratory frequencies), they found that 90% of the pests died. (I have always believed that the 10% that did not die were in the shadows and that no light from those parts reached the film.) In an experiment, they covered a corner of the photograph so it did not get any insecticide. When they went back to the field they found that 90% of the pests had been killed in that part of the field corresponding to the part that had been sprayed. But 0% had been killed in that part of the field corresponding to the part of the photograph that had been covered.

    This business was thriving and was conducted with full Department of Agriculture knowledge and approval. It ceased when lobbyists from the chemical companies asked the Department of Agriculture to close it down.

    The implication of this is clearly that there is indeed a special relationship--an energetic connection--between the photograph and what is photographed. I believe that this connection is, at least in part, what gives photographs their power and ability to further connect us as viewers to the world and to each other. I further believe that the more "in tune" the photographer is with what he or she is photographing, the more powerfual this connection can be, and the greater the power that can potentially inhere in the photograph. (For the photographer is an integral part of the process and not an automaton who is just pushing a button.)

    Perhaps the Indians and other so-called "primitive" people were right when they refused to be photographed because they believed that a photograph could capture their soul.

  7. #47

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    Jay, I have 2 prints made by Dan Burkholder and the quality is excellent. The contrast range is beautiful, and the prints are very beautiful. Of course if you look real close you do see some "graining" caused by the stochastic method he uses, but really it is not objectionable. I have to say though that these were done from negatives made at a service center and are not from an ink jet printer and they are more than 10 years old, so I am sure he has advanced in his technique. I do not know how well the negatives made on a printer will work, but given enough care and patience you can make some damm good digital negatives.

  8. #48

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    I have seen terrible prints from digital negatives, and I have seen fine prints from digital negatives. It depends on the dpi of the negative and the skill of the maker. As with everything else (including Azo, Platinum, etc.) ultimately it is not the process that makes the difference, it is to what degree of excellence the work is done. Here at the printing plant, they make digital negatives for contact printing and the resultant prints are excellent. Their image setter sets the dpi at 10,140, I believe, and with the strongest loupe it is impossible to see any dots whatsoever.

    The LensWork Editions are made with digital negatives. I saw one of those once and it was certainly very, very good. With a loupe, however, you did see a dot pattern. Is that important? Not necessarily--one does not look at photographs with a loupe.

  9. #49
    roy
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    [quote="jdef"]Just curious, have any of you ever seen a contact print made from a digital negative, and if so, what was your impression of it?

    I think the book by Dan Burkholder indcates that it is possible to get the right neg for contact printing but not easily if you do not possess the right equipment. He has made a follow up article detailing a different technique which some people are using and getting good results although I have not seen this article yet.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    Well, that's encouraging, but what about the "soul" of these prints? Is there some indefinable quality lacking in these prints that would favor traditionally enlarged negatives?
    Not that I can see, I have had this prints for long time and still like them after all this time.

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