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LeeSimmons
6-Jan-2016, 12:42
I have two sf lenses and have been exploring my vision with them. Wandering through history most of my favorite soft focus images are from the pictorialism era. It appears the combination of soft focus and grain/contrast during development created that wonderful style of image know of the movement at that time. During the transition to modernism the usage and soft focus has steadily declined. There are beautiful samples on this site from photographers like Gandolfi/JP and Gali who combine the lens and process to great effect.

Nocturne by Karl Struss http://www.cartermuseum.org/artworks/297
Brooklyn Bridge, by Edward Steichen 1903 http://www.flickriver.com/photos/photo-tractatus/4789322126/

Both these samples are beautiful minimalist images.

Do sf images require the alt processes to move you?

What are you favorite alternate processes for soft focus landscape or people images?

For those of you practicing these combinations do you feel like your paying homage to the past or have simply found your chosen medium of expression?

I welcome any discussion or thoughts you may have.

Regards Lee Simmons

Mark Sawyer
6-Jan-2016, 12:56
There's been quite the resurgence of soft lens work over the past decade or two, most of which I think is owed simply to the beautiful signature these lenses give. But one of the funny things about it is that the images are often printed on air-dried glossy fiber-based papers, the choice of the f/64 movement that decried the soft look. I think there are subtleties of the soft lenses that are often lost in the alternative processes, and similarly, the signature of an alternative process is often in competition with the signature of a soft lens. Relatively few are using the soft lenses with the old processes, even as the old processes made their own comebacks...

LeeSimmons
6-Jan-2016, 13:37
I think there are subtleties of the soft lenses that are often lost in the alternative processes, and similarly, the signature of an alternative process is often in competition with the signature of a soft lens.

Thanks for the insight Mark. Food for thought.

"air-dried glossy fiber-based papers"

I think for me that's part of it. My printing to date is a scan and luster digital print which feels incorrect with these lenses. I have no experience with alt processes. I have an interest in Gum bichromate, Platinum and carbon printing. With a family and limited space I have to pick a poison and stay with it for a while.

Again appreciate the thoughts

Lee

Jim Fitzgerald
6-Jan-2016, 17:03
Well, I own and use several wonderful soft focus lenses and have always been a fan of this movement both past and present. For the longest time I have wanted to perfect my work with these lenses for landscape and especially portrait work printed in carbon. As I move into retirement I hope to devote a lot of time to working on making better prints in this style. When I use a soft focus lens I always feel that the mat fiber paper gives me the soft look I am after. Completes my vision so to speak. When I got into carbon some eight years ago I started in the F-64 style of sharp high relief prints. I still print this way and I love it. But for the pictoralist style mat paper is the way to go. My thoughts only. It is just how I print.

jp
6-Jan-2016, 18:36
I have two sf lenses and have been exploring my vision with them. Wandering through history most of my favorite soft focus images are from the pictorialism era. It appears the combination of soft focus and grain/contrast during development created that wonderful style of image know of the movement at that time. During the transition to modernism the usage and soft focus has steadily declined. There are beautiful samples on this site from photographers like Gandolfi/JP and Gali who combine the lens and process to great effect.

Nocturne by Karl Struss http://www.cartermuseum.org/artworks/297
Brooklyn Bridge, by Edward Steichen 1903 http://www.flickriver.com/photos/photo-tractatus/4789322126/

Both these samples are beautiful minimalist images.

Do sf images require the alt processes to move you?

What are you favorite alternate processes for soft focus landscape or people images?

For those of you practicing these combinations do you feel like your paying homage to the past or have simply found your chosen medium of expression?

I welcome any discussion or thoughts you may have.

Regards Lee Simmons

Appreciate the compliment!

I enjoy pictorialism AND the 1920-30's messy mix of pictorialism and modernism.

I develop all film the same, so I don't consider grain and development necessary peculiarities at present. finished output texture is important. Many times the grain in old photos is from the gravure process which didnt use line screens like later printing. hand made prints also used paper with nice texture sometimes. Processes like Gandolfi do definitely create texture in the final product.

SF and alt process. Its not so much a love for alt process, but the simple reality that many photos can be made that don't output well on glossy (or sometimes any) silver gelatin print material. Some alt processes are not practical for fast paced image making (e.g. copper plate photogravure). Due to time constraints I do silver prints, cyanotypes, and inkjet. If I were retired I'd probably get into more historically accurate methods like photogravure, platinum, salt prints, etc.. The most famous pictorialism images seemed to end up as photogravures (camera work featured pictorialists, book illustrations, artists like Edward Curtis whose final output was book), which isn't practical for me as it apparently takes considerable time and money to print that way. Some of the later pictorialist work looked good in silver, but it tended to be matte prints; platinum was in short supply for WWI and wasn't as commercially available after the war for manufactured photo paper.

So to be practical, I think inkjet on matte paper is probably the most versatile option presently. I also do cyanotype as I can tone them warm shades with tea and coffee. Sometimes matte silver paper works well, particularly matte and/or warmtone. Art300 paper is good for some things that are not super soft. Foma makes some super creamy warm papers too. Silver is OK if the images err toward abstract. If it's about the final image, inkjet is not heretical. I'm not a purist. However, pictorialism was part or at least closely related to the arts and crafts movement, so an aspect of physical craftsmanship/handiwork is an essentiail ingredient which may preclude some people from using inkjet. I also mount my own photos, cut my own mattes, etc..so I think I still have handiwork in it. My next step is to get the woodworking tools and skills to build nice simple frames.

As you seem interested in output, another factor is the size. Many images get too sharp if you shrink them, many images get to soft as you enlarge them. Knowing the constraints of output size is also important to success here. They may look nice any size on the computer, but on paper, things work different.

For a reader to determine what they like, there is no substitute for visiting musuems and galleries which have original pictorialist work. I have been to a few exhibits and galleries and observed everything from paper texture, overall shapes, sizes, and tones of images, mattes and frames where original, etc.. Follow that up with books. They are cheap used from amazon and other online book sellers. Visit other artists too. A print exchange and workshop have proved fascinating and inspiring in this regard.

I'm not out to duplicate it or pay homage to the past. I honestly think the movement ran out of steam too soon before it had a chance to grow up and explore it's possibilities. This was due to WWI and the distraction and excitement of modernism. I like to think practicing it today is reviving it and giving the style a chance to grow a little more and see what the possibillities are for it's abiltiy to be expressive, particularly with a century of hindsight. Doing pictorialist photography is learning. I also think pictorialism is excellent and authentic training should one want to pursue 1930s-50's modernism. The composition, minimalism, & mood so evident in pictorialism never go out of style, even when the themes and visual language change. It was a good teacher for the masters of modern.

jp
6-Jan-2016, 18:50
Also, having a couple sf lenses and some curiousity doesn't take you far. You need to use them exclusively for about 15 outings and 100 sheets of film to start getting photos you like consistently. It's a tough learning curve and I think that contributed to it's demise. Sharp and well exposed photos are much simpler and perhaps less subjective to create.

Jim Galli
6-Jan-2016, 19:18
Do sf images require the alt processes to move you?

No. The very early grainy images you're referencing are probably bromoil's. I DO think that process might have something to add, but . . . and this is a big but, you'd just end up with prints that looked like you were trying to copy Alvin Langdon Coburn. Plus I'm too lazy to be bothered.

What are you favorite alternate processes for soft focus landscape or people images?

I promised myself that I'd make a pile of negatives now and print platinum / palladium when I'm retired some day. Odds on that actually happening are poor. For now, I scan to see what we've got and they get filed. I post a few here because y'all are so kind to me.

For those of you practicing these combinations do you feel like your paying homage to the past or have simply found your chosen medium of expression?

The latter. I've found MY voice in the soft focus images, not someone else's. But I'm not locked in that jail. I make many many sharp images too.

LeeSimmons
6-Jan-2016, 20:16
Thank you Jim and JP for your responses. Jim I was looking through your Black Oak Project last night and really enjoyed the images. I like "In my dream" amongst others. Photographing trees for me often brings forth a rich mindfulness. I imagine the prints in carbon are amazing.

JP thanks so much for the relevant and wonderful insights. You articulated many of my internal tripping points so well.

I'm not out to duplicate it or pay homage to the past. I honestly think the movement ran out of steam too soon before it had a chance to grow up and explore it's possibilities.
I know they were competing with painters but it was so staggeringly good I found it hard to believe the movement evaporated. To this day many of the images are truly contemporary and solid.
All of us wish to create a vision and not just dig up an old technique to parade around. Thank you for your perspective.
Also, having a couple sf lenses and some curiousity doesn't take you far.
Thanks for the kick in the ass. You know its funny. I've been a working professional for almost 20 years. I'm paid to know what the image is about before I hit the shutter. However the nuances of soft focus photography are elusive, unknown. That steep learning curve is definitely part of the draw. That and I feel the world is full of sharp information rich images that this style is fresh.

The print output size is a very experienced statement as well. I had experienced this but hadn't identified it as a variable.

Thanks again for the your thoughts

Lee

LeeSimmons
6-Jan-2016, 20:26
You'd just end up with prints that looked like you were trying to copy Alvin Langdon Coburn. Plus I'm too lazy to be bothered.

This has me smiling.

I promised myself that I'd make a pile of negatives now and print platinum / palladium when I'm retired some day. Odds on that actually happening are poor.
As does this.

I've found my voice in the soft focus images, not someone else's. But I'm not locked in that jail. I make many many sharp images too.
Thanks Jim.

And that is what it's about. Finding your voice.

Thanks Gali

Jim Fitzgerald
6-Jan-2016, 20:55
Lee, thanks. The image you reference is a favorite of mine. They really sing in carbon. Again Mat fiber paper completes my vision. They look like etchings when printed this way. I am totally hands on. I build my cameras and make hand made prints. I found my calling with carbon transfer printing. It gives me everything sharp or soft.

Peter York
7-Jan-2016, 10:16
One of my favorite shooting setups is a 4x5 speed graphic with a 7.25" verito attached and calibrated to the rangefinger. I scan the negatives and print them on an inkjet, on matte papers. The effect is very nice, even at 16x20, the largest I've printed. 11x14s are very smooth.

Someday I'll get a plate burner and learn gum and tricolor gum.

Fr. Mark
7-Jan-2016, 23:14
Jim,

I'd like to see a carbon print, soft focus on matte paper. I'm having trouble imagining what that'd look like. Would it be obvious on the computer screen how the paper base affects the image or is it one of those "must hold it in your hands" things? If you think it would be obvious, could you post one, maybe with a comparison image done on glossy photo paper? Thanks!

Just about the only way I can imagine affording getting into 14x17 for contact prints is if I "make" a lens similar to what's at reinvented equipment's site. I think I could start with a 1 and 2 diopter close up lens (1000 and 500 mm f.l.) and with a small f stop and a strong orange filter I might approach good, sharp detail. Or the same lens supposedly is soft focus wider open.

Probably I will jury rig one of these lenses to a lens board and see what it does on 5x7 or 8x10 and a cyanotype on matte paper.

Thanks!

Jim Galli
7-Jan-2016, 23:30
Jim,

I'd like to see a carbon print, soft focus on matte paper. I'm having trouble imagining what that'd look like. Would it be obvious on the computer screen how the paper base affects the image or is it one of those "must hold it in your hands" things? If you think it would be obvious, could you post one, maybe with a comparison image done on glossy photo paper? Thanks!

Just about the only way I can imagine affording getting into 14x17 for contact prints is if I "make" a lens similar to what's at reinvented equipment's site. I think I could start with a 1 and 2 diopter close up lens (1000 and 500 mm f.l.) and with a small f stop and a strong orange filter I might approach good, sharp detail. Or the same lens supposedly is soft focus wider open.

Probably I will jury rig one of these lenses to a lens board and see what it does on 5x7 or 8x10 and a cyanotype on matte paper.

Thanks!

Don't forget that many nearly worthless single anastigmats from old Turner Reich combinations can easily cover 14X17 and be surprisingly sharp. A 25" TR single and 14X17 Xray film can be a force to be reckoned with.

other jim

Jim Fitzgerald
8-Jan-2016, 03:05
Jim,

I'd like to see a carbon print, soft focus on matte paper. I'm having trouble imagining what that'd look like. Would it be obvious on the computer screen how the paper base affects the image or is it one of those "must hold it in your hands" things? If you think it would be obvious, could you post one, maybe with a comparison image done on glossy photo paper? Thanks!

Just about the only way I can imagine affording getting into 14x17 for contact prints is if I "make" a lens similar to what's at reinvented equipment's site. I think I could start with a 1 and 2 diopter close up lens (1000 and 500 mm f.l.) and with a small f stop and a strong orange filter I might approach good, sharp detail. Or the same lens supposedly is soft focus wider open.

Probably I will jury rig one of these lenses to a lens board and see what it does on 5x7 or 8x10 and a cyanotype on matte paper.

Thanks!

Fr. Mark, a soft focus carbon print has the look of a charcoal etching/drawing in my opinion. When you look at a print in the angled light it looks like charcoal. Very subtle relief. The relief is different than that of a glossy print. With any carbon print it is really a "must hold in your hands" thing. I'll post two images one soft and one sharp. The same spot but different focal length lenses. It is hard to tell I feel on the web .

There are lenses as Jim suggests for 14 x 17 and one has to be creative. Now for me I like my soft focus work in 8 x 10 or 11 x 14 but in 14 x 17 I only like some of my still life set ups in soft focus. Maybe I just have not found the right subject. Printing 14 x 17 carbon is another subject all together.

So back to the prints. The sharp one is shot with a Swift and Perkins 10 x 12 Rapid Rectilinear lens and the soft with my Kodak 305 Portrait lens. Hope this helps.

Fr. Mark
8-Jan-2016, 19:16
Thanks for the post of the pictures. I'm afraid it doesn't clear up much.

A very kind member of this forum (who might rather be anonymous) sent me a high sharpness/focus high relief Carbon print by US mail so I'd know what the fuss is about. Thanks again!

The sharp picture on the screen barely resembles the print in my hands even though the subject matter is similar. The unsharp/soft focus on matte paper must be even more different.

What I think I should do is jury rig the close-up lens (positive meniscus with waterhouse stop) to a Sinar board and see what I get on 5x7 printed as a cyanotype on un-coated paper.

That way, I don't need to buy anything right away or make anything overly complex to see what it looks like in real life.

Then, if the sharpness or the look of the meniscus lens is acceptable, consider making a "hack-to-graphic" camera/camera obscura to see what the meniscus lens can do on ULF in terms of coverage and look.

I think I tend to like sharper in general: I've never been 100% happy with pinhole cameras regardless of size of film (I've never used them smaller than 4x5" nor bigger than 8x10").

But, the kind of unsharp here is different from pinhole cameras.

It's good to know that anastigmat cells are around at reasonable prices that might cover 14x17. I tend to like to have normal or longer lenses, though moderate wides have their place for architectural subjects.

Another part of me says "enlarged negatives." I've got a 4x5 enlarger that needs a fair amount of work or they could enlarged digitally, too (if I had a lot of expensive gear I don't currently have). Do I really want to squire around these giant cameras? I thought I wanted something LIGHTER than the Sinar kit...but at least whole plate sized...but Ektascan is made in 14x17...I've been happy with a few pictures contact printed at 4x5 and 5x7 but sometimes even 8x10 is too small...except when you have to move it...but to build a 14x17 I'd have to build everything to be able to afford it.. See, you don't need to get a petzval lens to go around in swirly circles...

tgtaylor
8-Jan-2016, 21:20
I am becoming more and more convinced that the subject determines what lens and which printing process to use to bring it out. For example, the image below was shot with a soft focus lens and processed as a silver gelatin on Oriental cold tone glossy paper:

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Sgt_Taylor.361145006_large.jpg

In this image the soft focus imparts the feeling of looking into the distant and “fuzzy” past - which is indeed the subject – and printing it in one of the “alternative” processes may not materially enhance it. Writing this, however, makes me question if printing it as a salt print would further enhance that feeling. Incidentally, if you googled Sgt Taylor and followed the links you will be transported back to that time in the history of the nation and perhaps have a different take on the Jay Silverheels characters name.

However I have the strong suspicion that this image, also shot with a soft focus lens and processed as a silver gelatin on Bergger warm tone glossy paper, that printing it as a Van Dyke Brownprint would be an enhancement simply because of the subjects colors.

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Coastal_Barn.363161248_large.jpg

in any event i am convinced that it is the subject that is the primary determining factor of which lens and process to use.

Thomas

Mark Sawyer
8-Jan-2016, 21:26
I am becoming more and more convinced that the subject determines what lens and which printing process to use to bring it out...

No, it's always the photographer who makes the choices. We may allow the subject to influence our decisions, but they're our decisions. No fair blaming the subject! :)

LeeSimmons
9-Jan-2016, 21:42
Hi TG,

I am pecking at this idea as well. It definitely depends on your ascetic. Still being newish to soft focus I personally respond to image with less inherent detail with more focus paid to shape, form and contrast. That was the driver for posting this thread. Many high contrast alt process renditions of the pictorialist era removed the desire for inherent detail. They felt painterly. In the end it comes down to experimentation and finding our voice. Sometimes it's nice to get a little head start.

After the discussion surrounding this thread. My next forays in soft focus will be exercises in shape, form and high contrast printed on mat,warm toned textured paper. I look forward to sharing.

Lee

jp
10-Jan-2016, 05:01
Lee, a pursuit of shape and form is truthful to pictorialism! Go for it. That's how Arthur Wesley Dow taught and he worked closely with Clarence White, Coburn, and I think Kasabier.

durr3
10-Jan-2016, 11:10
Approaching digital "pictorialism" ... not quite there yet, but still trying.144837

mdarnton
10-Jan-2016, 11:46
Cool. Like it!

Randy Moe
10-Jan-2016, 12:29
I think that works well.


Approaching digital "pictorialism" ... not quite there yet, but still trying.144837

Ken Lee
10-Jan-2016, 12:59
You might find this previous thread helpful: Pictorialism Images (www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?100311-Pictorialism-Images)

Quoting myself in post number 11 (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?100311-Pictorialism-Images&p=992765&viewfull=1#post992765):


"Although Pictorialism is commonly associated with soft-focus and romantic themes, many pictorialists used sharp focus and shot abstract subjects. Pictorialists were amateurs in the strict sense of the term: amateur (from the Latin amātor) denotes one who does something out of love - as opposed to professionals, whose work the pictorialists considered manufactured and uninspired.

Pictorialism was a movement in reaction to commercial photography. Today, we would call it "Fine Art Photography". The term pictorial was first used by Henry Peach Robinson in 1869 to distinguish fine art photography from technical, scientific, and documentary approaches."

seezee
10-Jan-2016, 13:04
See, you don't need to get a petzval lens to go around in swirly circles...

;)

LeeSimmons
10-Jan-2016, 19:40
Hi Ken,

Thanks so much for the link.

It was a great thread. I followed this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictorialism Then cruised here https://www.flickr.com/groups/pictorialist

This was the nut of it for me.


refers to a style in which the photographer has somehow manipulated what would otherwise be a straightforward photograph as a means of "creating" an image rather than simply recording it. Typically, a pictorial photograph appears to lack a sharp focus (some more so than others), is printed in one or more colors other than black-and-white (ranging from warm brown to deep blue) and may have visible brush strokes or other manipulation of the surface. For the pictorialist, a photograph, like a painting, drawing or engraving, was a way of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer's realm of imagination

Then of course aptly followed up with this.


One of the challenges in promoting photography as art was that there were many different opinions about how art should look.

I spend most of my working days working with a digital camera and my hobby is large format B&W. For me Large format photography is one of the few things in this world that get me into a blissful state of mindfulness. Regardless of the print quality digital workflows don't do that for me. The working of an art project from ideas from conception to completion is one of the great joys in life. One of the other tenants of pictorialism appears to be "hand crafted".

That flickr album is really inspirational. The Litho and bromoil prints jump right out as they seem to convey emotion well to me.

Thank you all for the continued discussion.

Lee

Jim Fitzgerald
10-Jan-2016, 22:24
Lee, when you find the printing process that moves you, you will know. Find a hand crafted process that works for you and when you do you will know it. Then enjoy!!

photojeff3200
11-Jan-2016, 07:03
Well said Jim! It took me a few years to finally settle in to a process that I love and resembles the pictoralist style. I shoot large glass negatives for POP printing and had tried albumen, salt, and carbon before stumbling on oil printing. I'm so enamored with the process that I'm inclined to sell off/get rid of all the clutter in my darkroom and focus on just oil.

Jim Fitzgerald
11-Jan-2016, 08:56
Jeff, I did just that. I sold all of my enlarging equipment etc. and only print carbon. A hand made print for me is who I am. It is the right way for me to express myself. When you find the process that is you it is a wonderful feeling. I'll never forget it.

Fr. Mark
11-Jan-2016, 20:26
I'm not sure I've found the right process yet, but when I look at the equipment I've amassed in a couple years, oh my!
I've made a few contact prints that make me happy enough that I question the enlargers, but I'm repeating myself.
Anyway, you guys frighten/inspire me.
What's a good resource for oil prints? I don't know much about them at all.

Fr. Mark
11-Jan-2016, 20:35
Another question that may not exactly belong here: in Harrisburg, PA there's the amazing used bookstore "The Mid-town Scholar." They have a section for selling prints made with a printing press. Etchings, wood cuts linoleum, that sort of thing.

That has had me thinking about photography and creation of printing plates and high relief carbon printing as a way of preparing a printing plate for oil based inks. Is this an existing process?

I kind of envision needing a carbon print as a negative not a positive so the low lying areas carry the ink.

I'm not sure what this would gain over other photolithography type processes. Other than I might already have some of the tools. And, if one could keep things in registration or selectively apply inks, split coloration of prints. But that can be done with other printing types.

Thoughts?

The guy running the prints shop was quite knowledgable but had not heard of Carbon printing.

Jim Fitzgerald
11-Jan-2016, 21:14
Fr. Mark. Simplify and learn carbon transfer. Done! It just takes time and focus on learning. It may take some time but once you get going there will be no going back.

photojeff3200
11-Jan-2016, 21:52
Fr. Mark Oil Printing or Rawlins Oil Printing is the parent process to the Bromoil Process. There's not a lot of info out there but I'll leave you a few links that helped me. I love the process because it's extremely forgiving, and since I use wet plate negatives, my plates are never perfect. Minimal materials needed too!

http://www.bromoil.info/PDF%20BOOKS/Oil%20and%20Bromoil/Oil%20and%20Bromoil%20Processes.pdf
http://www.bromoil.info/ARTICLES/oil%20prints%20ern.html
http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processes/bromoils/bromoil-oil-pigment-printing
http://unblinkingeye.com/AAPG/OP/op.html
http://bostick-sullivan.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/1013-my-first-rawlins-oil-print/

durr3
12-Jan-2016, 12:23
145030

In camera pictorialism attempt. Shot with a Graflex Super D and a 10" Dagor lens on expired Adox 100 film.

Any help or advice?

Jim Graves
12-Jan-2016, 18:14
Approaching digital "pictorialism" ... not quite there yet, but still trying.144837

That is GORGEOUS!

Fr. Mark
13-Jan-2016, 22:14
Photojeff: thanks for the links. I don't think I'm cut out for Bromoil/Oil Prints but I admire the people who do them! I think I'm going to stick with cyanotypes and head into Carbon printing. I need a little more sharpness and repeatability and away from the budgetary problems of using lots of Silver atoms. This is not to say that I don't admire the work and would not display some of the prints in the gallery section on my walls, I would, I just don't think I want to quite that look for all my work.

Randy
14-Jan-2016, 04:21
Fr. Mark, I am kind of like you, I have been really enjoying doing cyanotypes and plan on sticking with it. Not sure if the link was in with what Jeff posted, but did you read where some have taken silver gelatin printing paper, like Ilford, fixed it out, then coated it with the dichromate as instructed for oil printing - completely eliminating the process of coating the paper with gelatin, as it is already coated...I hope to give that a try.

Fr. Mark
14-Jan-2016, 21:11
Randy, I know that Jim Fitzgerald often uses expired, fixed-out printing paper as a final support of carbon prints. I'm not sure why you'd coat fixed out silver paper with dichromate though. But I don't completely understand the oil printing processes.

durr3
14-Jan-2016, 22:12
That is GORGEOUS!

WoW, Thanks Jim

photojeff3200
15-Jan-2016, 06:38
Fr. Mark the final support paper isn't treated with dichromate. The final support could be; fixed out photo paper, water color paper or even glass. If you were so inclined Jim Fitzgerald, Andrew O'neill and Borut Peterlin have amazing videos demonstrating the process. I've watched each of these an embarrassingly large number of times.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmpTgDlsr3o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssri5PlpPXU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl5FK7PTkFw

Randy
15-Jan-2016, 13:12
Fr. Mark the final support paper isn't treated with dichromate... This per A Method for Making Oil Pigment Prints By Ernest J. Theisen - (http://www.bromoil.info/ARTICLES/oil%20prints%20ern.html) "So the process goes like this: I start with perfectly good silver bromide paper and immerse it in plain fixer. I use Kodak Rapid Fixer and leave out the acid. I use two baths, three minutes in each bath. From there into a hypo clearing agent, wash and dry. I tape the dry sheet of (now) oil paper to a piece of mat board and coat it with the Bichromate solution"

Am I confused? It reads to me that Mr. Theisen fixes out bromide photo paper and then coats it with either Ammonium or Potassium Dichromate, then contact prints a large negative, washes in water and he now has his matrix for making his oil print.

ImSoNegative
15-Jan-2016, 20:44
I really enjoy looking at sf images, especially portraiture, just something about it. I posted this in the portraits section the other day and plan on printing it this weekend

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1450/23737321004_7f1a2df822_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CazYxf)Darla5 (https://flic.kr/p/CazYxf) by john golden (https://www.flickr.com/photos/126756312@N03/), on Flickr

photojeff3200
15-Jan-2016, 21:40
That paragraph from Ernest J Theisen seems right Randy. I guess it's the same principle as using carbon tissue since it's basically gelatin covered paper though not colored.

LeeSimmons
15-Jan-2016, 21:46
John,

Beautiful execution!

I took a look at the flickr page, love the bench as well.

ImSoNegative
16-Jan-2016, 07:20
thanks Lee, that bench was shot using the 8x10 and 200mm imagon I was wanting to see if it would cover the format, wouldn't be good for portraits I don't think but perhaps it would work for some still lifes

angusparker
17-Jan-2016, 10:49
I have two sf lenses and have been exploring my vision with them. Wandering through history most of my favorite soft focus images are from the pictorialism era. It appears the combination of soft focus and grain/contrast during development created that wonderful style of image know of the movement at that time. During the transition to modernism the usage and soft focus has steadily declined. There are beautiful samples on this site from photographers like Gandolfi/JP and Gali who combine the lens and process to great effect.

Nocturne by Karl Struss http://www.cartermuseum.org/artworks/297
Brooklyn Bridge, by Edward Steichen 1903 http://www.flickriver.com/photos/photo-tractatus/4789322126/

Both these samples are beautiful minimalist images.

Do sf images require the alt processes to move you?

What are you favorite alternate processes for soft focus landscape or people images?

For those of you practicing these combinations do you feel like your paying homage to the past or have simply found your chosen medium of expression?

I welcome any discussion or thoughts you may have.

Regards Lee Simmons

Highly recommend Pt/Pd process. Quite easy to do with minimal equipment and only a dim room. Best Angus

mdarnton
17-Jan-2016, 16:59
Did someone earlier in the thread recommend the book Impressionist Camera - Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918? Because of that, or reading a post somewhere else, I bought the book and have been reading it. It's not just of a picture book, though it does have them. The bulk of it is essays on pictorialism, and I'm finding them fascinating. I'm seeing pictorialism as more of a movement than a style at the moment. Good read, anyway, for those of you who read.

By the way, Durr, your dancers photo is epic!

jp
17-Jan-2016, 17:07
I'd been eyeing that book but hadn't pulled the trigger on it. Then it got mentioned I think on "Art of Photography" youtube channel. After that, the price has been too high for me. (I do plenty of reading on photography too.)

Yes, Durr's photo is excellent!

ScottPhotoCo
17-Jan-2016, 17:31
Approaching digital "pictorialism" ... not quite there yet, but still trying.144837

This is fantastic. Frame worthy for sure!

Toyon
17-Jan-2016, 21:22
Pictorialism was an inseparable product of its time and sensibility. I have seen a lot of soft-focus work from recent decades, but it is all nostalgic kitsch. Art moves forward.

photojeff3200
17-Jan-2016, 23:35
Artistic styles, like fashion find there way back to the main stream. Pictoralism is alive and well and incorporating itself into our modern time. Check out the amazingly beautiful game LIMBO and the wonderful photographs of Rocky Schenck.

Toyon
18-Jan-2016, 02:04
Artistic styles, like fashion find there way back to the main stream. Pictoralism is alive and well and incorporating itself into our modern time. Check out the amazingly beautiful game LIMBO and the wonderful photographs of Rocky Schenck.

Artistic genres do not come back. Do you know any art history? The only attempt at that was the pre-Raphaelites, and they based their work on a philosophical approach to art, not mere style. What you call "pictoralism" may be alive and well as some kind of kitschy nostalgic genre (as exemplified by the gimmicky Schenck), but it is not pictorialism. The game Limbo is certainly interesting, but its an improbable stretch to say that is a new form of pictorialism.

durr3
18-Jan-2016, 05:19
This is fantastic. Frame worthy for sure!

Well, thank you very much Tim!

durr3
18-Jan-2016, 05:24
I'd been eyeing that book but hadn't pulled the trigger on it. Then it got mentioned I think on "Art of Photography" youtube channel. After that, the price has been too high for me. (I do plenty of reading on photography too.)

Yes, Durr's photo is excellent!

Thank you

durr3
18-Jan-2016, 05:25
Did someone earlier in the thread recommend the book Impressionist Camera - Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918? Because of that, or reading a post somewhere else, I bought the book and have been reading it. It's not just of a picture book, though it does have them. The bulk of it is essays on pictorialism, and I'm finding them fascinating. I'm seeing pictorialism as more of a movement than a style at the moment. Good read, anyway, for those of you who read.

By the way, Durr, your dancers photo is epic!

Thank you

durr3
18-Jan-2016, 05:46
Cool. Like it!

Thanks

durr3
18-Jan-2016, 05:47
That is GORGEOUS!

Thanks Jim

mdarnton
18-Jan-2016, 06:01
Artistic genres do not come back. Do you know any art history? The only attempt at that was the pre-Raphaelites, and they based their work on a philosophical approach to art, not mere style. What you call "pictoralism" may be alive and well as some kind of kitschy nostalgic genre (as exemplified by the gimmicky Schenck), but it is not pictorialism. The game Limbo is certainly interesting, but its an improbable stretch to say that is a new form of pictorialism.

A bit brutal, but probably accurate. This problem has been bothering me lately. I've been doing the portraits I shoot (which are bare-faced retro) as an exercise, and I think the exercise has run out. Finding a new new direction is a difficult problem, which I am trying to rationally work my way through. Thus the book Impressionist Camera, which is proving inspirational in an unexpected way.

MDR
18-Jan-2016, 07:28
Renaissance ring a bell the rebirth of antique ideals, thoughts and yes art, british gothic architecture 200 years after the end of the gothic/medieval architecture in the rest of Europe, neo-romanic, neo-gothic, etc.... I almost forgot St. Ansel and the rebirth of mid to late 19th century landscape photography. They all have one thing in common they are reinterpration just like good modern pictoralism is a reinterpretation of the real thing and not 100% identical with original pictoralism. Also soft focus has very little to do with pictoralism it was just one of the many tools in the pictoralists box,

I agree with toyon when he says that a lot of what is referred to as modern form of pictoralism is kitsch that is missing the philosophical approach the original pictoralist had, but this is not always the case. But like in any photographic genre the number of bad work is much higher than of good work. But then again all that really matters is that the photographer is happy with result and had fun creating it.

papercam
18-Jan-2016, 07:34
145030

In camera pictorialism attempt. Shot with a Graflex Super D and a 10" Dagor lens on expired Adox 100 film.

Any help or advice?

You could focus closer to you, so the lens will be able to do its
"wide open" thing, or unscrew one of the elements a little bit, or
introduce a ziplock bag into the field of focus (shoot through it )
these things might add diffusion and softness. Nice photograph BTW!

Toyon
18-Jan-2016, 09:13
Renaissance ring a bell the rebirth of antique ideals, thoughts and yes art, british gothic architecture 200 years after the end of the gothic/medieval architecture in the rest of Europe, neo-romanic, neo-gothic, etc.... I almost forgot St. Ansel and the rebirth of mid to late 19th century landscape photography. They all have one thing in common they are reinterpration just like good modern pictoralism is a reinterpretation of the real thing and not 100% identical with original pictoralism. Also soft focus has very little to do with pictoralism it was just one of the many tools in the pictoralists box,

I agree with toyon when he says that a lot of what is referred to as modern form of pictoralism is kitsch that is missing the philosophical approach the original pictoralist had, but this is not always the case. But like in any photographic genre the number of bad work is much higher than of good work. But then again all that really matters is that the photographer is happy with result and had fun creating it.

Those are interesting examples, but architecture is a somewhat different story. The revivalists selected retro features then synthesized them with modern construction materials and uses (e.g. railroad stations). Some of the results are remarkably beautiful, but the real progress was made by architects who used it as a jumping off point for a new creativity. Louis Sulivan's riff on renaissance skyscrapers, Frank Furness' creative use of Romanesque masses and Gaudi's wild take on Gothic are the most striking.

As for what you call "modern pictorialism", please bring out some examples.......

MDR
18-Jan-2016, 09:23
Those are interesting examples, but architecture is a somewhat different story. The revivalists selected retro features then synthesized them with modern construction materials and uses (e.g. railroad stations). Some of the results are remarkably beautiful, but the real progress was made by architects who used it as a jumping off point for a new creativity. Louis Sulivan's riff on renaissance skyscrapers, Frank Furness' creative use of Romanesque masses and Gaudi's wild take on Gothic are the most striking.

As for what you call "modern pictorialism", please bring out some examples.......

I consider Joyce Tenneson to be one or at least to be heavily influenced by them, the same applies to Susan Burnstine, I agree with you pure imitation without thought is worthless as art (can still make nice decoration though), but to use a certain aesthetics and thoughts as jumping points is perfectly valid. Renaissance artists used antique statues as jumping point and created something different, I expect the same from people who use the pictoralists as starting point, they might start out with something simple like using soft focus lens and will find their own voice in the future at least some of them.

mdarnton
18-Jan-2016, 09:54
Artistic styles, like fashion find there way back to the main stream. Pictoralism is alive and well and incorporating itself into our modern time. Check out the amazingly beautiful game LIMBO and the wonderful photographs of Rocky Schenck.

Actually, I went and checked Rocky Schenck's work. In his commercial work, if his images look familiar, it's probably because some of them are--there's one, for instance, of two people sitting with their backs to the camera in bathing suits that could be out-takes from this Horst P. Horst shoot: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e2/e0/e7/e2e0e73d2c6aabc55883b0117e99dc8b.jpg
I'm not sure I think of this as a positive thing regarding the current discussion.

jp
18-Jan-2016, 11:19
I like Rocky's landscapes. That looks pictorialism. The commercial stuff is high quality and admirable but certainly derivative. To make a landscape like he has, he to be able to see and translate scenes into pictorialism.

Modern pictorialism can go two ways. first and most common is the a step below derivative which is sappy kitsch lacking, to quote MDR "missing the philosophical approach the original pictoralist had".
Less common is people who study the original approach and then take pictorialism in new directions. Pictorialism was so narrow in subject it left out many contemporary themes and became less relevant. They could do mythology like Pan in the woods well but could do not hard hitting relevant subjects like social issues of the day or co-opt modernism. F Holland Day personally helped immigrants and his family provided some philanthropy in those areas but such people were generally not subjects of pictorialism. Clarence White's NY models were also philanthropers of immigrant issues which never made it into photos either (see Rose Pastor Stokes). These masters simply did not expand the subject matter for pictorialism.

It's up to those of us with interest, an understanding of the philosophy of old pictorialism and a hindsight of modernism, to make a new pictorialism.

Randy
18-Jan-2016, 12:15
Well, I just google'd Joyce Tenneson, Susan Burnstine, and Rocky Schenck and I am captivated. I am not sure why, but when I see images like theirs, which I don't see very often, my first thought is almost always - please don't be digital. I desperately want their images to be the product of some traditional process...but that's another topic.

I would like to understand why I am so captivated by such images. When I first became interested in photography, the work of Ansel Adams was it for me - large, sharp B&W prints was what I wanted to produce. And I still like those, but the feeling I get when seeing the images from these photographers is quite different.

SergeiR
18-Jan-2016, 12:53
Well, I just google'd Joyce Tenneson, Susan Burnstine, and Rocky Schenck and I am captivated. I am not sure why, but when I see images like theirs, which I don't see very often, my first thought is almost always - please don't be digital. I desperately want their images to be the product of some traditional process...but that's another topic.

I would like to understand why I am so captivated by such images. When I first became interested in photography, the work of Ansel Adams was it for me - large, sharp B&W prints was what I wanted to produce. And I still like those, but the feeling I get when seeing the images from these photographers is quite different.

we getting older, eyes weaker.. ;) This is how normal humans see world around , in dreamy state.

Paul Metcalf
22-Jan-2016, 15:57
My only "official" training into the world of Pictorialism (ok, I actually have no official training in anything photography LOL) is from Arthur Hammond's 1946 text on Pictorial Composition in Photography. No mention of softness or the like at all that I recall but clearly a prominent focus (no pun) on line, mass and tone in any pictorial composition, "so that the lines are decorative and pleasing and so that the shapes of the masses bounded by these lines are interesting in form and tone... the picture maker must do something besides setting up his camera and letting it photograph just what happens to be before it." I guess this is the modern form of pictorialism because it doesn't necessarily include the use of any source of image diffusion (soft focus or alternate processes).

LeeSimmons
25-Jan-2016, 16:22
This post has been an education experience.


I would like to understand why I am so captivated by such images. When I first became interested in photography, the work of Ansel Adams was it for me - large, sharp B&W prints was what I wanted to produce. And I still like those, but the feeling I get when seeing the images from these photographers is quite different.

Randy Agreed. That is what drove the initial post. I also for whatever reason also feel the please don't be digital feeling as well. I guess I personally value the digital craftsmanship less than the analogue craftsmanship.


No mention of softness or the like at all that I recall but clearly a prominent focus (no pun) on line, mass and tone in any pictorial composition, "so that the lines are decorative and pleasing and so that the shapes of the masses bounded by these lines are interesting in form and tone

With this definition the minimalist work of Michael Kenna would be modern pictorialist. I also checked out Rocky Schenck's landscapes and very much enjoyed them.

I'm thinking "inspired by the pictorialist movement" as a jumping off point.

Randy Moe
25-Jan-2016, 16:46
Rolling Stone quote, David Bowie's music, "...Blackstar is a ricochet of textural eccentricity and pictorial-shrapnel writing."

Caught my eye.