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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Silver vs Ink
Old 05-06-2019   #1
Bill Pierce
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Silver vs Ink

How do you match the look of black and white prints from film negative printed on silver paper to digital black-and-white printed on inkjet? For most of us the answer is you don’t. The tonal range of film images is expressed by a curve that shows loss of contrast in the shadows and, to a lesser extent, the highlights. And the light sensitive printing paper has a curve too that increases this effect. Although it may be altered by the imaging programs that we use to print it, the digital image is linear often showing more seperated lower values and unreclaimable blown out highlights.

The problem is that we have been exposed to a long history of black and white images, and sometimes the digital equivalent just doesn’t look right. What do you do? For openers, you don’t overexpose. Much like exposing color transparency film, you make sure you have highlight detail even if it sometimes means shortchanging shadow detail. (Sadly, there is no digital equivalent to the black-and-white film practice of increasing exposure and reducing development to keep the highlights printable.)

There are any number of programs such as those from Silver Efex Pro, Tonality Pro and DxO Filmpack that will apply curves to digital images that emulate the tonality of black-and-white films. Programs from providers like Mastin Labs use a variety of adjustments to emulate film and many processing programs have black-and-white setting that make slight adjustments to the tonality in addition to converting the image to monochrome.

I do something simpler. I start with a setting in Lightroom that produces a low contrast image. Then I build contrast with the clarity slider, an adjustment available in many image processing programs, and add a touch of the dehaze filter, something not available in a lot of programs.

I suspect there are a lot of us that currently shoot digital who love the look of old black-and-white prints from the wet darkroom. If anybody else has some thoughts on how to lean our digital images in that direction, I’m sure the rest of us would appreciate hearing about it.
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Old 05-06-2019   #2
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These days I shoot on a Monochrom 246, I then print a digital negative to 1 to 1 transparency, then print to silver paper.
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Old 05-06-2019   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
These days I shoot on a Monochrom 246, I then print a digital negative to 1 to 1 transparency, then print to silver paper.
Contact printing from a digital negative on silver is a great way to print limited editions.

Pretty much the ultimate.

Cal
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Old 05-06-2019   #4
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As everyone on TV says these days; that's a good question. I still love the of a wet print on true B&W paper created by optically exposing through a negative. But that supreme pleasure has been taken away from me: no space for a dark room.

Secondly, I like a B&W negative that has been scanned and the file is used to wet print on true B&W paper. Mpix and Fomex are a couple on places that will do this service.

Thirdly, I like a B&W negative scanned and printed on a color paper that is wet printed. For this I now use Costco but they maybe closing down this service in the next two years.

Forth, is a negative file that is used to print on printer paper. This is improving with better and better papers.

Fifth, is a digital camera file that is printed as above.

This is completely subjective and just my preferences.
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Old 05-06-2019   #5
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Another option is to use a lab that prints on Ilford Digital Silver Paper which is a RC photo paper that is process in B&W chemical just like traditional B&W papers.
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Old 05-06-2019   #6
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I gave myself an assignment. Print a series of eight black and white images on silver gelatin and then scan and print those same negatives on inkjet paper. I was able to make prints that students could not tell apart. Maybe they were too unsophisticated, but I thought they were very close. Printing on baryta paper was key. Then I made inkjet prints which I thought were better than their silver gelatin counterparts. Perhaps that just means that after 45 years I am not an accomplished enough darkroom printer, but there simply are things I can do in LR that I cannot do in the darkroom. I now make mostly platinum/palladium prints from digital negatives, both from film and digital files.
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Old 05-06-2019   #7
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Printing on my own, I've never gotten results I even remotely liked, and wasted a lot of paper in the process.

I am lucky to have a local lab that still does C-prints or various equivalents from digital files onto chemistry-based paper. And the folks there know a hell of a lot more than I do about ICC profiling and all that jazz. Even back when drugstores and local shops still had digital minilabs for a hot second, i was happier with that output than inkjet. Maybe I'm just picky.

On the other hand i hear a lot of photographers saying one should always print one's own work even digitally, much was the maxim in the darkroom days. It certainly has the potential to be more cost-effective, but I simply don't have the room for a printer or patience for fiddling with it.

All that said: I did get my favorite results printing on Moab fibre-based paper with blacks pushed a little lower in post-processing. The FB papers seem to minimize the halftone look (which somehow really bothers me, even though its not visible at a normal viewing distance) and give a luminousness to the print despite lower contrast. Best part was how much less work they were than silver halide FB papers.
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Old 05-06-2019   #8
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Though going "Big" is pain in the ass to do. Right now, the largest I can do is a 16x11 as that's the largest of the contact print frames that I currently have.
Most of the time I'm just making 5x7's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Contact printing from a digital negative on silver is a great way to print limited editions.

Pretty much the ultimate.

Cal
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Old 05-06-2019   #9
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I make no attempt to simulate the look of silver prints. I like the look of a digital print on matte surface rag watercolor paper. To my eyes the look is cleaner with better detail, the image is sharper and the use of software to process is more precise. When I printed in the chemical darkroom I never had the control I now have with Lightroom and my results were never as good.

When it comes to adjusting the image to print, I muddle through. Every image is different and each needs individual massaging. Usually my first efforts are low contrast with a wide range of gray tones. From there I build contrast with the clarity slider and the color channels. Eventually I get it right...or at least right to my eyes. Like I said, I muddle through the process. To quote a favorite quip of one of my friends, "Even a blind hog sometimes finds an acorn."
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Old 05-06-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
I gave myself an assignment. Print a series of eight black and white images on silver gelatin and then scan and print those same negatives on inkjet paper. I was able to make prints that students could not tell apart. Maybe they were too unsophisticated, but I thought they were very close. Printing on baryta paper was key. Then I made inkjet prints which I thought were better than their silver gelatin counterparts. Perhaps that just means that after 45 years I am not an accomplished enough darkroom printer, but there simply are things I can do in LR that I cannot do in the darkroom. I now make mostly platinum/palladium prints from digital negatives, both from film and digital files.
This echoes my experience, too. In the old days I'd say I was a competent but not especially skilled b/w printer. I just didn't have the patience to execute the workflow necessary to up my game.

But the current level of evolution regarding printers, ink and paper has enabled me to become such a better printer printing digital because my eye knows what it wants to see in the results and the digital workflow and media enables me to work effectively -- almost too easily?? -- to get it.
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Old 05-06-2019   #11
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One of the few remaining local camera stores have very skilled person for bw negatives inkjet prints. Halton Camera Exchange. Feels as good as darkroom prints, if they are framed and under glass. They are using some Ilford paper...

For digital bw I was able to get what I like only few times.
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Old 05-06-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
These days I shoot on a Monochrom 246, I then print a digital negative to 1 to 1 transparency, then print to silver paper.
I do the same, and print onto Azo, Lodima or Lupex.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Pretty much the ultimate.
It is a good approach, but the ultimate is platinum or platinum-palladium on rag, which I have done on a limited scale, but that way madness, and poverty, lie.

Marty
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Old 05-06-2019   #13
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I'm still using an enlarger as light source and then using contact frames and generally ilford MC paper. I did a workshop last year and got to play with platnum/paladium printing for a weekend, we even learned to add color. It was great, but the buy in on equipment/chemicals was just kind of killer for me in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freakscene View Post
I do the same, and print onto Azo, Lodima or Lupex.



It is a good approach, but the ultimate is platinum or platinum-palladium on rag, which I have done on a limited scale, but that way madness, and poverty, lie.

Marty
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Old 05-07-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
Though going "Big" is pain in the ass to do. Right now, the largest I can do is a 16x11 as that's the largest of the contact print frames that I currently have.
Most of the time I'm just making 5x7's
FT,

I understand. Larger negatives than 8x10 should use a vacuum frame for best results.

Definitely great for fine art printing for limited editions.

The IQ possible is crazy-good. Pretty much we can do a "Salgado" without the best labs in Paris.

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Old 05-07-2019   #15
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I do the same, and print onto Azo, Lodima or Lupex.



It is a good approach, but the ultimate is platinum or platinum-palladium on rag, which I have done on a limited scale, but that way madness, and poverty, lie.

Marty
Marty,

Trying not to poison myself. I agree that platinum-palladium has the better blacks and shadow depth.

The advantage of silver is scale, and able to print larger.

AZO for me has the tonality and detail. 20x24 sheet size limit I believe. Single ply.

How big can you print?

BTW I'm without the space and darkroom living currently in Madhattan.

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Silver print
Old 05-07-2019   #16
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Silver print

I still do silver B&W printing on Ilford FB Multigrade paper. I enjoy the process of retreating into the darkroom, putting on some music and spending the day printing. I am saddened by the fact that I as I age, I am finding it hard to go on long (5-10 mile) hikes with my MF (=heavy)equipment and may end up carrying only a digital camera in the future. My wife generally takes a Fuji X100 with us and the files are nice to turn into photos around our home or make into a photo book or calendar. But somehow, to me anyway, they are not "real" prints. They seem plastic and artificial. But as I seem to be heading that way, I better learn to like them. Ugh.
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Old 05-07-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
AZO for me has the tonality and detail. 20x24 sheet size limit I believe. Single ply.
I finally tried AZO, making contact prints from 8x10 negatives. Made other prints using Ilford Galerie and Ilford Warmtone, and finally someone else made a few contact prints on Lodima using a variety of techniques (he was well-versed in using Lodima is the point). All developed w/ Ansco 130.

I found the AZO to have an ever so slight bit of "glow" in the lower midtones after staring at all the prints over several sessions and under different lighting condition. This was nice and all, but not nearly the "revelation" many espouse wrt AZO.

While I am by no means a master printer, I am confident that Ilford Galerie is more than good enough for contact printing, and is much cheaper than AZO or Lodima alternative. No longer am I wondering about the supposed "silver bullet" that AZO seems to be in many peoples' minds. My 8x10 contact prints on Galerie, IMO, look fantastic.

Just my opinion.
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Old 05-07-2019   #18
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The secret to film is Leica, Zeiss, and to a certain extent I have not fully explored Nikon Ai or AiS lenses. Years of trying prove Pentax is a total failure for monochrome.

I love my darkroom and recently started teaching my son.
When I said not full explored, I bought a Nice Nikon F2 AS.
Keep in mind I tried split grade years ago. I was not impressed. However I found Ilford tutorial on You Tube by an ex employee. I tried it with a roll used to test the nikon F2.
I made four prints in an hour and they are among the best I ever made. I can control the density of highlights and shadows and the contrast within the plus the contrast in zones 3 to 8. That part you do not get from tutorial.

Now digital . Luminosity masks for darks, lights, & midtones.
Adjust them for match to wet prints or anyway you want.

Now it comes down to archival quality.
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Old 05-07-2019   #19
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Here's the thing, if you create your own negative and print to silver g paper, you will get that all that digital workflow plus you'll have archive quality from your prints.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saul View Post
This echoes my experience, too. In the old days I'd say I was a competent but not especially skilled b/w printer. I just didn't have the patience to execute the workflow necessary to up my game.

But the current level of evolution regarding printers, ink and paper has enabled me to become such a better printer printing digital because my eye knows what it wants to see in the results and the digital workflow and media enables me to work effectively -- almost too easily?? -- to get it.
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Old 05-07-2019   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Trying not to poison myself. I agree that platinum-palladium has the better blacks and shadow depth.
There is nothing about platinum printing that is more poisonous than silver printing or the aerialised solvents that are produced from inkjets. I'm experienced with working with chemicals; when I was a student I made some income by synthesising amidol for a local camera group and QAing batches imported into Australia. I also work with chemicals much more hazardous, so neither silver nor platinum printing worries me.

I also think the risks associated with inkjet printing, like a lot of things we do in modern life where we have been told it is safe and exposure if hard to estimate (you can't smell or see inkjet solvents) are vastly underestimated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
The advantage of silver is scale, and able to print larger.
This: http://michaelandpaula.com/mp/herbst_azo_amidol.html shows that silver contact prints have a similar length of scale to platinum. The advantages of platinum are better DMax (deeper blacks), local contrast and image permanence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
AZO for me has the tonality and detail.
The advantages of silver chloride are cost, convenience (someone else coats it for you), surface finish (I like air dried glass FB paper) image tone consistency (not influenced by ambient temperature and humidity) and speed.

My guess is roughly that both are about as archival as each other. Rag paper and better metal stability probably favours platinum prints, but that's far enough into the future that natural disaster and social stability are probably more likely to be real issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
How big can you print?
I have a 24x36 inch vacuum frame.

I'm not saying anyone else should do what I'm doing, and my shed which doubles as a darkroom is fairly large. It has advantages and disadvantages. My prints look very nice, but if someone asked me to make 20 in a night I'd either be forgoing sleep or saying no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I finally tried AZO, making contact prints from 8x10 negatives. Made other prints using Ilford Galerie and Ilford Warmtone, and finally someone else made a few contact prints on Lodima using a variety of techniques (he was well-versed in using Lodima is the point). All developed w/ Ansco 130.

I found the AZO to have an ever so slight bit of "glow" in the lower midtones after staring at all the prints over several sessions and under different lighting condition. This was nice and all, but not nearly the "revelation" many espouse wrt AZO.

While I am by no means a master printer, I am confident that Ilford Galerie is more than good enough for contact printing, and is much cheaper than AZO or Lodima alternative. No longer am I wondering about the supposed "silver bullet" that AZO seems to be in many peoples' minds. My 8x10 contact prints on Galerie, IMO, look fantastic.
By the time it gets here (Australia), Lupex costs about the same as Galerie. Foma FB papers are less expensive.

The main differences between chloride contact prints and prints on normal chloro-bromide papers (these days they are often chloro-bromo-iodo papers) are length of tonal scale, local contrast and image colour. But to get the first two you need to make very high contrast negatives (like you would for platinum) and print through them. It takes a lot of getting used to.

Ansco 130 produces an odd image tone on chloride papers, it wouldn't be my choice.

BUT There are no magic recipes. All processes have advantages and disadvantages. I'm just explaining what I do and why. Frankly, it's a lot of work, if I wasn't experienced with silver printing and if I didn't have a kilogram of amidol that was going to go off if I didn't use it, I would never have even thought of taking this approach. Lots of beautiful work is done all sorts of ways.

Marty
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Old 05-07-2019   #21
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I have no idea what is or is not "chloride paper" but I've found 130 to be a wonderful developer for most papers. Never seen any odd image tone. It has neutral tone on classic papers and subtle warmth on warmtone papers. When I mention my opinions on AZO I am sometimes told I'm "doing it wrong" (especially since I'm not using Amidol) but I think that's more silver-bullet thinking.

Regardless, I think the image matters more than the super subtle differences between papers and developers.
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Old 05-07-2019   #22
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Here's my solution. I retired in December so in three months I built myself a classic B&W silver darkroom without compromise. Now TODAY I am starting to print

getting there 2 by Nokton48, on Flickr

Note: the spatulas were for handling glass dry plates in trays, and they have gone bye-bye.

getting there 1 by Nokton48, on Flickr
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Old 05-07-2019   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I have no idea what is or is not "chloride paper" but I've found 130 to be a wonderful developer for most papers. Never seen any odd image tone. It has neutral tone on classic papers and subtle warmth on warmtone papers. When I mention my opinions on AZO I am sometimes told I'm "doing it wrong" (especially since I'm not using Amidol) but I think that's more silver-bullet thinking.

Regardless, I think the image matters more than the super subtle differences between papers and developers.
Azo, Lodima and Lupex are pure chloride papers. They are very slow and are for contact printing.

The image tone of pure chloride papers is affected more by the developer than modern papers. It's not a question of doing it wrong, just that amidol produces the most neutral image colour and supports good separation of close values.

I am not saying what I do is better. I am describing what I do and what I get out of it. I agree re content, but I have a lot more control and skill with process, so at to at least a significant proportion of the whole process that's where I exercise it.

I'd also add that for family reasons it's easier for me to print than to shoot, and I have a huge backlog, so printing, for now, is mostly how I do photography.

Marty
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Old 05-08-2019   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I finally tried AZO, making contact prints from 8x10 negatives. Made other prints using Ilford Galerie and Ilford Warmtone, and finally someone else made a few contact prints on Lodima using a variety of techniques (he was well-versed in using Lodima is the point). All developed w/ Ansco 130.

I found the AZO to have an ever so slight bit of "glow" in the lower midtones after staring at all the prints over several sessions and under different lighting condition. This was nice and all, but not nearly the "revelation" many espouse wrt AZO.

While I am by no means a master printer, I am confident that Ilford Galerie is more than good enough for contact printing, and is much cheaper than AZO or Lodima alternative. No longer am I wondering about the supposed "silver bullet" that AZO seems to be in many peoples' minds. My 8x10 contact prints on Galerie, IMO, look fantastic.

Just my opinion.
Corran,

Thanks for your post and insights.

Back in art school in the seventies I developed good printing skills, but that was decades ago. I have a full darkroom in public storage waiting for the day when I have the space and time.

Meanwhile over the decades I have gotten better at making better negatives and have a consistency that should make printing even easier.

Back in art school I was trained to make negatives that I could "straight print" on a single grade number two fiber paper. I was prolific back then, and now I have an archive that records a disappearing New York City.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2019   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freakscene View Post
There is nothing about platinum printing that is more poisonous than silver printing or the aerialised solvents that are produced from inkjets. I'm experienced with working with chemicals; when I was a student I made some income by synthesising amidol for a local camera group and QAing batches imported into Australia. I also work with chemicals much more hazardous, so neither silver nor platinum printing worries me.

I also think the risks associated with inkjet printing, like a lot of things we do in modern life where we have been told it is safe and exposure if hard to estimate (you can't smell or see inkjet solvents) are vastly underestimated.



This: http://michaelandpaula.com/mp/herbst_azo_amidol.html shows that silver contact prints have a similar length of scale to platinum. The advantages of platinum are better DMax (deeper blacks), local contrast and image permanence.



The advantages of silver chloride are cost, convenience (someone else coats it for you), surface finish (I like air dried glass FB paper) image tone consistency (not influenced by ambient temperature and humidity) and speed.

My guess is roughly that both are about as archival as each other. Rag paper and better metal stability probably favours platinum prints, but that's far enough into the future that natural disaster and social stability are probably more likely to be real issues.



I have a 24x36 inch vacuum frame.

I'm not saying anyone else should do what I'm doing, and my shed which doubles as a darkroom is fairly large. It has advantages and disadvantages. My prints look very nice, but if someone asked me to make 20 in a night I'd either be forgoing sleep or saying no.



By the time it gets here (Australia), Lupex costs about the same as Galerie. Foma FB papers are less expensive.

The main differences between chloride contact prints and prints on normal chloro-bromide papers (these days they are often chloro-bromo-iodo papers) are length of tonal scale, local contrast and image colour. But to get the first two you need to make very high contrast negatives (like you would for platinum) and print through them. It takes a lot of getting used to.

Ansco 130 produces an odd image tone on chloride papers, it wouldn't be my choice.

BUT There are no magic recipes. All processes have advantages and disadvantages. I'm just explaining what I do and why. Frankly, it's a lot of work, if I wasn't experienced with silver printing and if I didn't have a kilogram of amidol that was going to go off if I didn't use it, I would never have even thought of taking this approach. Lots of beautiful work is done all sorts of ways.

Marty
Marty,

Thanks for taking the time to give a detailed response.

I surely have to look into the hazards of inkjet printing. Like you indicated I was not aware. Certainly the dangers are downplayed.

I know someone who did suffer a mild poisoning doing alternative process.

As far as silver goes I have avoided HC-110 because back in art school my professor mentioned it is a carcenogen. Also the Diafine I utilize is evil. I work at a hospital so I use boxes of latex gloves.

I was invited to be an early adopter of Piezography Pro, mainly because I was a heavy K-7 customer. It seems that along the ways I inadvertently became a very good printer that specializes in B&W. Not a big step to go into printing digital negatives for contact printing.

At age 61 I have only a few more years working my day-job, and soon I'll be setting up a studio.

BTW my Piezography prints have their own look. I print on Baryta coated papers, and perhaps due to my analog training my ascetic is a silver wet print. My prints confuse people and I get asked if they are silver wet prints a lot.

I'm looking forward to wet printing and having a large vacuum frame.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2019   #26
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Azo, Lodima and Lupex are pure chloride papers. They are very slow and are for contact printing.

The image tone of pure chloride papers is affected more by the developer than modern papers. It's not a question of doing it wrong, just that amidol produces the most neutral image colour and supports good separation of close values.

I am not saying what I do is better. I am describing what I do and what I get out of it. I agree re content, but I have a lot more control and skill with process, so at to at least a significant proportion of the whole process that's where I exercise it.

I'd also add that for family reasons it's easier for me to print than to shoot, and I have a huge backlog, so printing, for now, is mostly how I do photography.

Marty
Marty,

I think there is wisdom here. For me I have not settled into my stride. In a way I'm hedged because I have hoarded enough gear to sustain digital and analog; and with analog across small, medium and large format.

I am pretty unlikely to be like Dan above to build out such a versatile darkroom, but I like the idea of contact printing limited editions.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2019   #27
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Back in art school I was trained to make negatives that I could "straight print" on a single grade number two fiber paper. I was prolific back then, and now I have an archive that records a disappearing New York City.
I was getting good at this and printing really nice prints on Ilford Galerie G2...

And now they've discontinued it .

G3 is a lot contrastier. I still have a few hundred sheets of G2 so I guess at some point I'll have to recalibrate...
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Old 05-08-2019   #28
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I was getting good at this and printing really nice prints on Ilford Galerie G2...

And now they've discontinued it .

G3 is a lot contrastier. I still have a few hundred sheets of G2 so I guess at some point I'll have to recalibrate...
Corran,

My friend John went to a different art school and was taught to optimize negatives to print on a grade 3 paper. Pretty much the same exercise to learn how to make negatives that are easy to "straight print."

Recalibrating should not be a big issue for you.

Old man Steve from the NYC Meet-Up once said, "You can't print what's not there."

Also Christian, a large format shooter, said "With negatives like these you don't need a 4x5." I was showing him some 6x9 negatives on a light table.

Pretty much I admire large format shooters and try to emulate their IQ even if shooting small format. With the Monochom (CCD sensor) I'm able to transcend formats.

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Old 05-08-2019   #29
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Of course, then they may discontinue G3 .

VC paper handles delicate highlights poorly in my opinion based on printing landscape images of waterfalls with lots of highlight detail.

Worse to me is a big loss of sharpness when doing split-filter printing. Changing filters makes the focus change slightly. Of course a better head with filtration done through color of the light would be preferred. If anyone wants to make a donation let me know...
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Old 05-08-2019   #30
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Of course, then they may discontinue G3 .

VC paper handles delicate highlights poorly in my opinion based on printing landscape images of waterfalls with lots of highlight detail.

Worse to me is a big loss of sharpness when doing split-filter printing. Changing filters makes the focus change slightly. Of course a better head with filtration done through color of the light would be preferred. If anyone wants to make a donation let me know...
Corran,

Nothing like a perfect negative. LOL.

Cal
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Old 05-08-2019   #31
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Certainly preferred, but never guaranteed. SF printing is still a valuable tool for many situations and some use it as standard on every negative. It helps localize B&D easier.
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Old 05-08-2019   #32
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Of course, then they may discontinue G3 .
I share your fear in general, if not specifically about Galerie.

There are other options, and I plan to settle on Foma and Adox for fixed grade paper because I think they have the best chance long term:
https://www.fotoimpex.com/photopaper...r-fixed-grade/

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VC paper handles delicate highlights poorly in my opinion based on printing landscape images of waterfalls with lots of highlight detail.
The problem is twofold - there are no VC papers with high highlight contrast, and the contrast curves of VC paper are less linear than those of fixed grade paper. In practical terms, when you change filters with VC paper the shadow contract changes MUCH less than the highlight contrast, and even where they are matched the highlight contrast is lower than for graded paper where the negative matches the contrast. I get sick of printing dark and bleaching shadows to get highlight contrast in photos like you mention where there is a lot of highlight detail or the photo is high key but needs tonal separation.

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Worse to me is a big loss of sharpness when doing split-filter printing. Changing filters makes the focus change slightly. Of course a better head with filtration done through color of the light would be preferred. If anyone wants to make a donation let me know...
Have you tried holding a VC filter under the lens, like you might a dodging card? That may help.

I have a Durst 1200 which handles this well, but I still run into the problem of inadequate local contrast in the highlights.

Marty
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Old 05-08-2019   #33
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Marty, Thanks for taking the time to give a detailed response.
You are welcome. I know you think and care about this stuff.

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I surely have to look into the hazards of inkjet printing. Like you indicated I was not aware. Certainly the dangers are downplayed.
With the Piezo inks you probably have the best chance of finding out what the solvent is and from there what its risk profile is. Jon Cone seems quite open. Try finding out what is in Epson ink though, and good luck.

There are solvent, water, and mixed solution mixes used in inkjet inks. It is hard to find out what is what. We installed an extractor in the printing room at my work.

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I know someone who did suffer a mild poisoning doing alternative process.
No offence meant to your friend, but you'd have to "soaking in it" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wSO0-OOgBA to make yourself sick unless maybe s/he was using a process where cyanide is the fixative. And I suspect the poisoning would not have been 'mild' if that had been involved. It's pretty simple; it can't hurt you if it never comes into contact with your body. Gloves, mask, goggles, lab coat and good practice.

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As far as silver goes I have avoided HC-110 because back in art school my professor mentioned it is a carcenogen. Also the Diafine I utilize is evil. I work at a hospital so I use boxes of latex gloves.
Developers are all mildly carcinogenic. So is car exhaust, and most of us have a car that burns fossil fuel and/or live in cities. Risk is relative.

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I was invited to be an early adopter of Piezography Pro, mainly because I was a heavy K-7 customer. It seems that along the ways I inadvertently became a very good printer that specializes in B&W. Not a big step to go into printing digital negatives for contact printing.
No, it wouldn't be a huge step. Platinum makes inkjet paper look cheap, though. You could start with Lupex.

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At age 61 I have only a few more years working my day-job, and soon I'll be setting up a studio.
I also have plans, but they pretty far off.

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Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
BTW my Piezography prints have their own look. I print on Baryta coated papers, and perhaps due to my analog training my ascetic is a silver wet print. My prints confuse people and I get asked if they are silver wet prints a lot.
Ascetic or aesthetic? Or both because of how much you spend on ink and paper?

Don't get me wrong, inkjet prints look great. I just do what I do because I like it.

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I'm looking forward to wet printing and having a large vacuum frame
I look forward to seeing them.

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Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
I think there is wisdom here. For me I have not settled into my stride. In a way I'm hedged because I have hoarded enough gear to sustain digital and analog; and with analog across small, medium and large format.
Deciding what you want to do, then doing enough of it to learn the craft is more of the struggle than most give it credit for. Shooting is the same; you get better when you do it.

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I am pretty unlikely to be like Dan above to build out such a versatile darkroom, but I like the idea of contact printing limited editions.
You can do platinum-palladium in a dim room. It makes it easier.

Marty
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Old 05-08-2019   #34
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unreclaimable blown out highlights.
When in business, I worked to make sure this didn’t happen. Lighting balance. Not quite so hard with digital capture using RAW.

Even now I still work to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Our brain has evolved to have our eyes to go first to the brightest areas of a photograph. It’s instinctive. Perhaps we evolved so as we sense danger. I want the brightest areas of a photograph to be the faces.

I believe ink jet prints offer more than darkroom prints. Just look at all the different papers available. Relative to life, perhaps darkroom black and white prints will last longer but I won’t be around to determine that! And I believe it’s the digital file and/or the negative that’s most important.

Printing is a piece of photography that I had others do for me. I once had a young lady who could make beautiful black and white prints using watercolor paper.

Any way, I found that if the client is happy with the end product then I’m happy.
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Old 05-08-2019   #35
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... The tonal range of film images is expressed by a curve that shows loss of contrast in the shadows and, to a lesser extent, the highlights. And the light sensitive printing paper has a curve too that increases this effect. Although it may be altered by the imaging programs that we use to print it, the digital image is linear often showing more seperated lower values and unreclaimable blown out highlights ...
Sorry, Bill. This is absolutely wrong. I can't even begin to explain it if that's your real opinion.

To first order approximation, a digital capture is linear AT THE TIME OF CAPTURE ON THE SENSOR only. By the time that raw data is converted to RGB channel data, it's not at all linear having been through both demosaic and gamma conversion processes.

Personally, I don't give a sailor's damm whether a B&W photograph captured digitally and printed with an inkjet printer looks like some film image or not. I care only whether it is a pleasing photograph with contrast, detailing, etc etc, that expresses its content and the intent of the photographer well.

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Old 05-08-2019   #36
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Mainly, no UV light. Chemical costs though are not cheap, so that's the first big buy in, then you're UV source is the next big cost. lastly it's paper.

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You can do platinum-palladium in a dim room. It makes it easier.

Marty
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Old 05-09-2019   #37
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Mainly, no UV light. Chemical costs thought are not cheap, so that's the first big buy in, then you're UV source is the next big cost. lastly it's paper.
Indeed. You can start with the sun if you live somewhere bright.

At Freestyle the Edwards 11x14 UV source is $695. A chemistry kit to start platinum-palladium printing is $2-300, although you can start with kallitypes (an iron-silver process that is very nice itself) for $60-70. Paper varies wildly. I like Adox’s unsensitized baryta paper, which is quite inexpensive, but I also have some Japanese hand made papers that were $50+/sheet. It doesn’t make sense to cut corners anywhere in the process if you plan to use platinum or palladium.

In the end cost largely depends on how many prints you want to make, how big, and how important your photography is to you.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Tell-M.../dp/1857883772

To start printing silver chloride contact prints, of course, all you need is some paper, a desk lamp, a piece of foam or polystyrene, a sheet of glass, three trays and some chemistry. Maybe $200.

Marty
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Old 05-09-2019   #38
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The sun method is really inconsistant as a whole and I wouldn't suggest it.

So for the price of that Edwards 11x14 UV, you should be able to buikld a unit for 1/2 that costs.
And if you want to big with your platnum, it was suggested to get a Nuarc unit as it also has the vacuum frame built into it.
For the class I took, we used Hahnemühle Platinum Rag.
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