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Clint Chadwick
14-Mar-2011, 10:04
I've been searching the internet and this site and I cannot find a good answer to how people are masking their LF film for contact prints. I am trying to create 4x5 prints on 5x7 paper so there is a fairly significant border around the print.

I am making cyanotypes and if I make cover an area of the paper with sensitizer that is larger than my negative I will see marks from the film on the finished print. This is most obvious in the film notches and the parts of the film that were not exposed at all, but still alter the print.

I need to make a mask that is slightly smaller than 4x5 so only the exposed part of the film is printed. My first attempt at a mask was a cheap frame mat and that did not work so well as the mat was not completely opaque. Is there a "best way" or "better way" to create a mask for this purpose? Print masking with a contact frame must be a lost art because I cannot find anything on the subject so I assumed there was no magic to it.

My question is more about the trend. If the internet is any indication the current "rage" in alternative processes is to use a brush to coat the paper and then leave painterly brush marks along the edges of the picture area. Most of these seem to contain the entire negative, but have no film marks that I can see. Maybe they are using lith film or digital negatives?

In any case, I have a hard time finding any cyanotypes or newer alternative process prints on the internet where someone has "properly" masked the image during exposure. Is this not using a mask a new trend to show the paper was hand coated or has this always been the case and a tradition?

Scott Walker
14-Mar-2011, 10:11
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=71870

Try this thread

Clint Chadwick
14-Mar-2011, 10:16
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=71870

Try this thread

Thanks Scott. I learned about Rubylith tape from that post, but the thread never seemed to have a concensus other than the author deciding he preferred masking tape in the end.

BarryS
14-Mar-2011, 10:26
You can buy Rubylith in sheets or rolls. See http://home.comcast.net/~amitphotography/article%20pl%20pa%20printing%20pt2%20sdavis.htm for a good example.

bsimison
14-Mar-2011, 10:27
I use rubylith tape. Just don't pull it too tight when you apply it or it will shrink back and cause the negative to curl.

Scott Walker
14-Mar-2011, 11:01
Thanks Scott. I learned about Rubylith tape from that post, but the thread never seemed to have a concensus other than the author deciding he preferred masking tape in the end.

The Rubylith leaves a beautiful crisp edge that is superior to even a good adjustable bladed easel. I ended up using duct tape on the cover glass because the rough edge reminded me of the edge on some of the prints I made in a printmaking class I took while in art school. That seemed to be a good look, at least for that print in particular.

Clint Chadwick
15-Mar-2011, 09:58
Thanks for the help. Lacking a convenient place to buy Rubylith tape in Switzerland, I ended up using masking tape to affix fogged roll film to the glass of the contact frame. In my test print, it creates a very crisp edge (or crisp enough for me).

I was going to use electrical tape, but the kind I has leaves a sicky residue which I wanted to avoid if I wanted to change/remove the mask.

PViapiano
15-Mar-2011, 10:50
You can use low-tack 3M Blue tape to mask the paper before you hand coat it. After a few seconds of soaking into the paper, you can remove it and have a crisp edge to the coating itself.

Payral
15-Mar-2011, 10:57
Lacking a convenient place to buy Rubylith tape in Switzerland,

You can buy in Switzerland from
Kurt Meyer
Route de Nonfoux 13
1417 Essertines-sur-Yverdon
TÚl. 024 435 15 93

Wayne Lambert
15-Mar-2011, 11:03
There was a similar thread over at APUG in 2009. In it I described a technique for masking in-camera negatives that works well for me. www.apug.org/forums/archive/index.php/t-63409.html

Wayne Lambert
15-Mar-2011, 11:09
I should also add that I use the technique for 4x5 negatives.