Hello, I'm new here so I hope this is acceptable, could not pass this one up. I have Mortensen's "on the negative" in front of me.
1) Does anyone still use the Mortensen method? Everyone since the 50's does, Kodak took it to heart and changed the film speeds and development times to slightly under expose and slightly over develope, giving the max. spread to the highlights and mid-tones without blocking-up. They took f/64 to heart with the diffusion enlarger.
2) Meter for the highlights and develope to 'gamma infinity'. Makes perfect sense, it gives the max. density range to the negative that the paper can handle but that is not what he was doing. He metered for the highess detail he wanted texture in and slightly underexposed (zone 7.5?) and developed to gamma infinity, by inspection (1 to 2 hours) with specific films and developers and printed with a CONDENSER enlarger, expecting the 'Callier" effect to block the highlights. These negatives would look weak by contact printing. He also suggested braketing by 2 stops either way as insurance.
3) He did list the films and developers this could be done with, the films this could ALMOST be done with (not to exceed 150% standard dev. times) and films this could NOT be done with, the then new Plus-X, Super-XX and Tri-X, their D-max is too high for the old papers to handle.
4) He did not say anything about cold / stand developing, gamma infinity is max. development before base/fog is increased, which would ruin the effect he was after.
5) For direct sunlight, 10 - 3, or overly contrasty backlit scenes he suggested over expose / under develope (the zone system)
6) As for the anti-christ and f/64, I guess he liked great looking girls wearing a smile, can't blame him.
All in all I guess the Mortensen method is 'to expose for the highlights and develope for the paper', works for me.
Hope it's a help, happy holidays