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Thread: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

  1. #1

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    Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    Hi, I have a really nice 8x10 Large Format Foma 100 negative and I would like to make a contact print, however, there is a 1/4" long scratch about 1/8" from the border that unfortunately shows up as a dark line in a light area of the image. Basically it ruins what could be a really nice print.

    What options do I have to try and repair this?

    PS-
    There is no way any amount of dodging will likely take care of this because that would be too noticable in the surrounding area.

    Thank you

    -Larry

  2. #2

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    First retouch the negative and then retouch the print. If you do not possess these skills you may want to consider cropping the image.

  3. #3

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    I was looking for advice on "how" to retouch the negative.


    Quote Originally Posted by gypsydog View Post
    First retouch the negative and then retouch the print. If you do not possess these skills you may want to consider cropping the image.

  4. #4

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    The complexity of this depends a lot on the variety of tones and image information involved in the damaged area. On a most basic level you need to build density in the negative to produce a tone just lighter than the surrounding areas of the print. Then using a proper medium for your chosen paper reproduce the information missing from the print (blend the light area to match) carefully matching tone after dry down and matching any grain structure. If it's detailed there will be a learning curve, you will need to practice. Have a matching print to test tone, color and grain structure before applying to final print.

    Keep in mind, in the time of film photography people had careers as professional retouchers.
    Quote Originally Posted by LFLarry View Post
    I was looking for advice on "how" to retouch the negative.

  5. #5

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    Show a picture of how bad the damage is.

    It is far easier to spot a print from white than to retouch a black mark. So I use opaque on the negative and leave what would be atrocious white marks on the print if you left them there. Then I spot down the best I can.

    It would work best if there is texture in the scene. But if it's in plain skies you may have trouble.

  6. #6

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    That is very helpful, thank you.

    I just went back and looked at the negative again and the scratch is on the emulsion side and the scratch shows up as a dark line on a light area of the sky, unfortunately.

    I think I am going to try a couple things that don't involve the negative directly to see how close I can even get it before I even venture doing any direct work on the negative. I was thinking of getting some optical mylar and using a soft pencil to mirror the scratch and laying that clear mylar on top of the negative when contact printing. That may be a train wreck, but I guess I won't know until I at least try.

    This is a harsh lesson because this negative was made 900 miles from home... I am thinking about leaving my negatives in a clear sleeve when contact printing in the future to avoid these types of things. We have all had these sorts of things happen and they are good reminders of how focused and careful we need to be when handling the film.

    I will loop back after I have tried a few things to report any progress or failures.

    Thanks






    Quote Originally Posted by gypsydog View Post
    The complexity of this depends a lot on the variety of tones and image information involved in the damaged area. On a most basic level you need to build density in the negative to produce a tone just lighter than the surrounding areas of the print. Then using a proper medium for your chosen paper reproduce the information missing from the print (blend the light area to match) carefully matching tone after dry down and matching any grain structure. If it's detailed there will be a learning curve, you will need to practice. Have a matching print to test tone, color and grain structure before applying to final print.

    Keep in mind, in the time of film photography people had careers as professional retouchers.

  7. #7
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    Before doing anything to the negative, make a quality scan so you at least have that as backup. I use Bill Burk's technique as mentioned in post #5. A very fine tipped water color brush or spotting brush is the right tool for this. Build up the density in the scratch gradually until it is at least as dark or a little darker than the surrounding sky. The print will probably require some retouching, too.

  8. #8

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    Excellent point Jim. Thank you!


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Before doing anything to the negative, make a quality scan so you at least have that as backup. I use Bill Burk's technique as mentioned in post #5. A very fine tipped water color brush or spotting brush is the right tool for this. Build up the density in the scratch gradually until it is at least as dark or a little darker than the surrounding sky. The print will probably require some retouching, too.

  9. #9

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    I have used a grey fine tip marker on the back side of the negative to fix pinholes and small scratches rather than doing it on emulsion side. It works surprisingly well. Practice on a waste film sheet with intentional scratches even if you use a retouching products.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  10. #10

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    Re: Seeking Large Format B&W Negative Repair Tips

    I use regular Kodak red opaque on the base... it washes off easily if you think it's worse, or if you want to try again.

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