View Full Version : paper recommendations? Looking for very silky mids

9-Apr-2006, 17:39
Im fiddling around with various papers to try and get a very velvety smooth look like how the bechers make their prints...Ive tryed forte papers, oriental and bergger nuetral glossies...all are very nice papers but they dont have that amazing looking mid tone (oriental non variable was a very nice paper, but graded papers are too much of a PITA for me right now)...anyone contact print with matte black and white papers?

also, is this a reason why that non variable papers are still around? that they offer more range if the negative is spot on over variable contrast papers?

any suggestions would be appriciated-


9-Apr-2006, 19:01
i'd suggest looking at your negatives ... what film you're using and how you develop it. getting smooth midtones shouldn't be an issue with any decent paper; cetainly not with the ones you mentioned.

i also don't think the bechers would be near the top of my list of 'silky smooth' printers. you shouldn't have trouble getting results as nice as theirs.

can you be more specific about what qualities you're looking for, and what qualities you're getting?

9-Apr-2006, 19:24
i think those prints are gorgeous...not the typical black and white extreme range but i still think they look amazing

they have a very small difference between the blacks and the whites when compared to something like bergger...

its easy to knock off some really nice looking contact prints with the bergger stuff but its not really that look...maybe i just need to go down in contrast a lot...


Patrik Roseen
10-Apr-2006, 09:02
I had the opportunity to look at the Becher's german industry pictures a few months ago in a gallery in Stockholm and they were originals on fiber paper. I was also amazed at the lack of clouds/dark areas in the sky (typically blank) and also the lack of shadows. This to me would mean that the pictures were shot on an overcast (?) day, whereby the contrast in the pictures are very low.

Yet, in many of the pictures there were clear signs of shadows although very very pale, one would not really see them at a quick glance but only if you were really looking for them. There were even shadows on the ground from electrical cables etc. Could it be that they toned the pictures after printing (is this not the typical thing to do to preserve them?) or could they have been using 'blue filters' to lighten up the sky and other dark areas? Anyone knows how they did it?

Eric Biggerstaff
10-Apr-2006, 10:49

The Becher prints are lovely.

I think the tonality you are looking for comes from SO many areas that need to be considered. For example, your film and developer combination is one place to look, then your development method, then your paper choice, your paper developer choice, etc. There may be a lot of factors at play.

Also, need to consider the light you are photographing, remembering of course that we all photograph light first and subject second. The time of day and type of light will have a great impact on the look of the final print.

Good luck, keep experimenting and you will eventually hit on a combination that feels right for your own work!


Thanks for the nice post.

tim atherton
10-Apr-2006, 10:57
I think when the photographs were taken is very important, as has been mentioned.

I recall the Bechers are very particular about the type of light they photograph in - overcast but not too dull etc etc. They don't like bright sunny days or "lovely" sunsets at all :-)

10-Apr-2006, 20:54
unless one day they decide to do "lovely sunsets" in the same manner that they did "blast furnaces" ... in a large grid of consistently framed, repetitive loveliness.