PDA

View Full Version : The point of contact sheet projects ?


Lauffray
08-28-2014, 10:20
Genuine question, not trying to be snarky.

As I go back to darkroom printing this fall I'll start putting together a little contact sheet project. I have my own reasons, but I'm interested in hearing (reading) what others think.

Would you guys do this ?

mfogiel
08-28-2014, 11:45
Contact sheets help editing. They also help archiving, unless you scan everything as well. If you have the luxury of the darkroom, in my opinion, you should also try contact printing from large negatives, like 5x7 or 8x10 - this is the top in terms of image quality.

shortstop
08-28-2014, 12:03
Contact sheets would be necessary to keep a well organized archive and are very helpful in printing. Unfortunately I'm lazy and not all my rolls have a corresponding contact sheet.
The other aspect is the utilizazion for a true final print. Ideally the negative should be at least 5x7. I stop at 4x5, that enlarge, but since I have a '30 years 6x9 folding I'm intrigued in doing contact prints directly, in the same way people did in '30s.

Ljós
08-28-2014, 12:21
Genuine question, not trying to be snarky.

As I go back to darkroom printing this fall I'll start putting together a little contact sheet project. I have my own reasons, but I'm interested in hearing (reading) what others think.

Would you guys do this ?

Lauffray, I understand you don't wanna give away your reasons at the beginning of the thread :-), but I am also getting the feeling that you are not talking about "conventional" contact sheets for proofing. So, throw us a bone, what sort of "project" do you have in mind?

Greetings, Ljós
(who wishes someone came and contactprinted all my negatives. I am so backlogged, it's not funny.)

Lauffray
08-28-2014, 12:38
I actually got the idea from a graphic design blog. Sharing process by publishing contacts is a way of showing how you work, how you think, how you went from point A to B on a particular project etc
I also think it will magnify any 'weak' spots, either in technique or approach, to myself (and others, hoping to get more than crickets or one word pokes). Not to compare myself to Magnum, but then I remembered they published contacts as a book, from there I got the idea to make a project out of my process

At this point the idea is still pretty fresh and it will change again, but that's what I have in mind

Lauffray
08-28-2014, 12:44
Oh and I totally hear you, I'm way backlogged too. But making contacts doesn't take that much time, compared to scanning or making a proper print, it's just a lot of paper

oftheherd
08-28-2014, 12:45
I actually got the idea from a graphic design blog. Sharing process by publishing contacts is a way of showing how you work, how you think, how you went from point A to B on a particular project etc
I also think it will magnify any 'weak' spots, either in technique or approach, to myself (and others, hoping to get more than crickets or one word pokes). Not to compare myself to Magnum, but then I remembered they published contacts as a book, from there I got the idea to make a project out of my process

At this point the idea is still pretty fresh and it will change again, but that's what I have in mind

Well, you do run the risk of showing the warts with the good photos. If it is only for yourself, that is one of several advantages of contact sheets. It is probably better these days to scan to a contact sheet that darkroom printing if you have a scanner. That means you can look at it on the computer, and only spend the time and expense of a sheet of photo paper when really needed.

Lauffray
08-28-2014, 12:50
Well, you do run the risk of showing the warts with the good photos. If it is only for yourself, that is one of several advantages of contact sheets. It is probably better these days to scan to a contact sheet that darkroom printing if you have a scanner. That means you can look at it on the computer, and only spend the time and expense of a sheet of photo paper when really needed.

Sure, but that's the interesting thing about process. Besides, who are we kidding here, I do this for fun, there aren't that many amazing shots I'll be ruining with all my warts :D

As for scanning, I hate it. I just spent 3 weeks of my life scanning 50+ rolls of film and I hated every minute of it

Ljós
08-28-2014, 12:50
Going a bit off on a tangent here, Lauffray, but bear with me:

I have Magnum "Contacts" and love, love, love it. Also, if you have not seen it already, there are clips like this one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEA4poq-mh4
on youtube: Elliott Erwitt showing and talking about contacts. The part with the couple on the beach and the umbrella that just won't close is hilarious.

Well, as I mentioned above I am woefully behind with my contactprinting, but nevertheless I have a certain strategy in the back of my mind when I take pictures. I will very often take pictures where I know from the getgo that I won't ever wanna print them. They are not meant to be "keepers". They are more like jotting down a memory, meaningless and random to others, but connected with a situation or a feeling etc. for me.
And I like how the contact strips can be like a story in a comic book/graphic novel.

That is also how I made my peace with low light and the limitations of 400 speed film in the age of 12800 and higher digital ISO. Often there will be situtations where I am taking a picture and know then and there that it will be mostly empty shadows, or camera shake, or movement blur and whatnot... I know I will not be able to pull a print that will be the equivalent of a flash exposure or truly high ISO. But the moment will be captured anyhow.

sanmich
08-28-2014, 12:52
I never used contacts as an end product.
Since I started scanning, contact sheets and small work prints have gone the way of the Dodo. Unfortunately, wet printing too, albeit I hope to get back to it some day.

Jerome, I guess you are aware of the series "contact" by William Klein. If not, IMHO it's a must if you engage in such a project.

Good luck!

Lauffray
08-28-2014, 13:25
Going a bit off on a tangent here, Lauffray, but bear with me:

I have Magnum "Contacts" and love, love, love it. Also, if you have not seen it already, there are clips like this one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEA4poq-mh4
on youtube: Elliott Erwitt showing and talking about contacts. The part with the couple on the beach and the umbrella that just won't close is hilarious.

Well, as I mentioned above I am woefully behind with my contactprinting, but nevertheless I have a certain strategy in the back of my mind when I take pictures. I will very often take pictures where I know from the getgo that I won't ever wanna print them. They are not meant to be "keepers". They are more like jotting down a memory, meaningless and random to others, but connected with a situation or a feeling etc. for me.
And I like how the contact strips can be like a story in a comic book/graphic novel.

That is also how I made my peace with low light and the limitations of 400 speed film in the age of 12800 and higher digital ISO. Often there will be situtations where I am taking a picture and know then and there that it will be mostly empty shadows, or camera shake, or movement blur and whatnot... I know I will not be able to pull a print that will be the equivalent of a flash exposure or truly high ISO. But the moment will be captured anyhow.

Sure but that's how you "work", and if you were to make contacts I think they would be fairly representative of that. I don't shoot every frame with the intent of printing it either, not sure if this is good or bad, but definitely an influence of the digital times (even though I don't have a digital)


I never used contacts as an end product.
Since I started scanning, contact sheets and small work prints have gone the way of the Dodo. Unfortunately, wet printing too, albeit I hope to get back to it some day.

Jerome, I guess you are aware of the series "contact" by William Klein. If not, IMHO it's a must if you engage in such a project.

Good luck!

Well you're right, they're not meant to be end products, they're just a tool for the printer or editor. During my last scanning madness I hit the limits of what my scanner can do for me and what I need at that step of my process. Here's hoping I don't end up hating contacts as well and that entire step altogether.

And yes, I do know the series by Klein :)