View Full Version : Making 8x10 contacts

Robert Skeoch
30-Jul-2004, 20:39
If you're making final high quality contact prints of your 8x10 b&w negatives do you print them on 8x10 size paper or on 11x14 and trim them down a bit?

Paul Hamann
30-Jul-2004, 20:46
I print them on 8x10 paper and trim off the black edges when I mount them.

Ralph Barker
30-Jul-2004, 22:05
Currently, I use 8x10 paper, leaving the black border as assurance/evidence that it is, in fact, a contact print. I have thought about centering it on 11x14 paper, leaving a white surround around the black border. Doing so gets a little complicated, however.

Merg Ross
30-Jul-2004, 22:35
I have always printed 8x10 negatives on 8x10 paper and then trimmed and mounted. Certainly not an original idea. Edward Weston was a tremendous influence early in my career.

George Losse
31-Jul-2004, 08:06
Paul, It depends on how you want to present the work. If your going to show the full edge of the negative then an oversized paper will be useful. If your triming down the print and drymounting it, then printing on 8x10 paper is fine.

I have done both. I have had shows where I corner mounted the 8x10 image printed on 11x14 paper showing the full negative image leaving the large black to go under the mat. I found that outside of the photography crowd the average viewer did not why there were black edges on my prints and they found them distracting.

Now I'm mounting my contact prints and I trim them down to the image area, so I print 8x10 negatives on 8x10 paper.

1-Aug-2004, 17:48
I also have a bit of Weston influence but I don't trim the prints.

I contact print 8x10 on 8x10 paper, and dry (island) mount the entire sheet, untrimmed. I take great care to make sure that the negative edges are parallel to those of the paper.

I also enjoy being able to see the notch marks. I don't know, just something personal, I like the look if they're barely-there but can be seen in close inspection.

jonathan smith
3-Aug-2004, 14:08
If you want a little room on the paper, you can get 8.5 x 11 inch paper of some types, without going to 11x14. Check B&H. I also use 8x10 paper, but occasionally there's a misalignment after I shut the contact printer.

29-Aug-2004, 11:14
Forgive a curmudgeon's response...

George Losse got it right when he noted that "I found that outside of the photography crowd the average viewer did not why there were black edges on my prints and they found them distracting. "

I think it should give an photographer/artist pause to adopt an artistic device or convention that demands that a non technical viewer know the difference between, say, roll and sheet film, or that he or she care.

Devices like showing the notches / film ID info on the edges, etc can be great if one is making a technical demo to a camera club, but often become a distraction when imposed on a non technical audience.

My opinion, if you are displaying to a non-photographer audience, eliminate anything that panders to photo geeks only. The general audience should not be distracted from your hard won image by mechanical details that might appeal to, say, photo students.

While LF photographers may hardly notice a set of notches and the evidence of a filmholder - the average gallery goer is a different story.

I don't care what recording equipment is used to create a Yoyo Ma record; I care about the sound of the music and only the sound of the music. I don't want a voice on the record saying this was recorded on an Ampeg blah blah... Same with photographs. Ditto for cute digital borders or overly clever matting.

Exceptions? Avedon's notched edges. Maybe Avedon's work is strong enough to overpower the borders. I'm wary of critiquing Avedon... Arbus' prints with deliberately softened border edges? The borders work. They contribute to the power and feel of the image and the visual story.