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Thread: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

  1. #1
    Robert Taylor
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    20

    Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    Hello all. I need your help. After 40 years of "regular" printing, I finally have need to print a subject as a negative, as Paul Caponigro and others have done. I have a friend with a large ranch on which a giant Valley Oak stands. She wanted a photograph of it, but after seeing the negative, wants a matching photograph of the negative; a negative print. We all know how beautiful 8x10 negatives can look in and of themselves and I must confess that this negative, with the tree delineated against a foggy background, would make an interesting match. Understand that I am not going to do this digitally so I need another old geezer's advice who has done this successfully the traditional way in the darkroom. In general terms I am assuming I would sandwich the original 8x10 negative atop a piece of 8x10 film (hopefully another sheet of the same, HP5+), emulsion to emulsion, on a black sheet of paper with a piece of glass (ANR?) on top to hold everything flat. Then, positioned under the enlarger, I would expose and develop the same way I developed the negative. Am I right or wrong with this? Also, what ball park help can you provide about f stops and exposure times under the enlarger? I am thinking I would cut up a piece of film and test for exposure times...but what do you folks who have done this advise to help me with the learning curve? Any details you remember would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance for any help you can provide!! Robert

  2. #2

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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    You've got it all right. I have not done it in years. Just place the new film on the bottom and the film with the image on top -- emulsion to emulsion. CLEAN glass on top. The bottom is best a BLACK material. Exposure depends on the film and amount of light, but a good start would be an incident meter on the top. The films do not need to be the same type.

    A good approach would be to make a test strip of the first exposure. Let's say the meter says 30 seconds. Make strips of 10, 20, 30, etc. to 120 seconds. Contrast can be varied with development, etc. to make a good match.

    Then with the positive negative make a negative print! With VC paper under an enlarger you can vary the contrast to suit -- assuming B&W. For some "scenes" reversing works out great.

    Tons of fun. Brings back memories! I'm working on a small print from 1941 that I have to turn into a decent negative for enlargements!
    Last edited by xkaes; 24-Jan-2018 at 13:19.

  3. #3

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    Pacifica, CA
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    If you make the inter-positive emulsion to emulsion you will have to print base to emulsion. So think that part through.

    You will want to develop longer than usual to get a 1:1 tone relationship. Exposure will not be critical since you will be able to adjust final exposure on the print.

  4. #4
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    It's pretty easy. He's one from 5X7 original neg to 4X5 inter neg enlarged to 11x14. I had too much empty space on the 5X7 original.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...=1#post1419896

  5. #5
    Robert Taylor
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    May 2008
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    XKAES, Thank you very much for the information and your time. I wish you the best with your 1941 print/negative project. The ones I've done like that were tricky not only due to the number of defects on the original print but also due to the defects of the photographer; e.g. my mother, who always seemed to have a case of the "wobblies" behind the camera. Take it easy, and thanks again! Robert

  6. #6
    Robert Taylor
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    Bill, Thanks for the heads-up that I would end up printing with an inter-positive that would need to be placed emulsion side up in the negative carrier (I think that's what you've warned me of). I've never actually done that except by accidentally reversing a contact print when proofing. Hopefully that doesn't create a problem regarding sharpness or anything (?). Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Robert Taylor
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    Thank you, Randy. It was nice to see the example image you provided--quite a nice one! Robert

  8. #8

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    May 2012
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    Bitterroot Valley, Montana
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    I've made lots of contact prints from paper negatives so I see no reason that a "contact negative" from a print wouldn't work out. As long as the print doesn't have something on the back, Kodak paper would defiantly not work!
    You can't teach an old dog new tech's!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    The internegative route is one option, one that is a bit more chemically involved is a direct reversal print: expose a print through the negative, develop the print, then bleach it in a non-rehalogenating bleach, then fog (chemically or optically) and develop again. With VC paper, I think the internegative route is quicker to dial into the right contrast though.

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    Barcelona
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    Re: Help: How to convert a negative to positive to print as a "negative print"

    If you only want a negative image on paper there is a simpler solution. Just contact
    copy a nice positive copy - that is, one with full tonal range - on the paper you want.
    Develope it as usual or, to control contrast, you can combine two developers,
    HC110 at 1+100 and Dektol or Eukobrom, usual dilution, just remember to stop
    with water between developers. I use this last approach. Depending on the paper
    you're using, its threads may be visible. It is also a way to obtain enlarged negatives
    on paper. If necessary, the paper can be treated later to make it less opaque.

    One of the advantatges of this approach is that you can work with normal safelight
    conditions. Another, from my point of view, is that increases the ways to manipulate
    the image: you can use the new negative to produce new positives...
    Best,
    Pau

    Some pictures in Flickr.

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