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Thread: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

  1. #1

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    Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    I was wondering what everone's opinion was on this - just having started wet contact printing 8x10 again I realised don't like the black notches left by the film holders to I get out my Dahle and cut it off, even for test prints I may not keep. The counterargument is that there's some image area lost (especially in the corners) - does anyone on here keep it for that reason, or for aesthetics? I know adding in rebate where there was none before is all the rage online these days...

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    I print the entire image, including rebate for my platinum prints, but rarely for my carbon prints. Quality of the edges (rebate's) mostly...a bit more controlled with platinum printing. Some images look better floating...some people prefer one over the other...all much of a muchness.

    But I do like including that 'extra' area as part of the image - 3 examples, two recent 5x7s and an older 8x10. Nothing dramatic in those parts of the corners most of the time -- but occasionally a tree trunk or a branch disappearing into the corner. In the first one below, the extra in the upper corners help flesh out the cliffs.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hutchins_CascadeFalls.jpg   Creek,OssogonRocks.jpg   LostManCreek.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #3

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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    I'm with Vaughn. I usually print the entire negative.If the rebate is distracting I mask it out with overmat when presenting.

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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    In the labs, the rebate areas would be covered with silver mylar stripping tape and left on...

    Or, you could make a thin mask of rubylith film, thin black plastic, or clear mylar masked with stripping tape to place under printing glass to make a border mask... Or some would just tape stripping tape under printing glass...

    There are ways to register neg under mask so it's EZ to place neg under glass if you figure out a method for yourself...

    Steve K

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    I wasn't there back in LF heyday, but read once somewhere that studio LF imaging usually allowed extra 'free' space around the subject on GG and neg

    I am not saying rebates are good or bad in any way

    I will say my 2-1/4 X 3-1/4 sheet film negs look very odd with rebate
    sin eater

  6. #6

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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    Like Vaughn, I print the entire negative, including rebate, for my pt/pd prints, but trim the rebate off for my silver gelatin prints. It's really simply an esthetic choice that you'll make for yourself.

  7. #7

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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    But for enlarging, our neg carriers crop out the rebate, so a usual practice...

    Steve K

  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    There was a recent thread on projecting printing the rebate with 8x10 enlargers. I like the framing of the rebate in some prints, but it comes at a cost of including the edges of the negative that are frequently imperfect. So, 90% of the time I crop out the rebate. Not so much as I don't like it or the enlarger carrier cuts it off, but I don't want edge imperfections like this. In my experience, although it looks like it would be easy to 'burn that away' burning only makes things worse.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    I would never retain the rebate. It's a foreign element of the composition. I mean, for cryin' out loud, it's not even consistent around the perimeter. It's also artificial.

    Perhaps, just maybe, if I originally visualized the image on the ground glass with this perimeter, I might retain this border. But, that's unlikely. Why would I went to include an element in the composition, that's not even part of the scene???!!!

    I just finished mounting an 8x10 contact print of the bottom portion of an exterior white door with white siding on either side and dark brick underneath. (Built in 1850's.) Retaining the rebate would have just ruined the overall feeling and whiteness of this print.

    Not for me.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the film rebate for contact prints

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    There was a recent thread on projecting printing the rebate with 8x10 enlargers. I like the framing of the rebate in some prints, but it comes at a cost of including the edges of the negative that are frequently imperfect. So, 90% of the time I crop out the rebate. Not so much as I don't like it or the enlarger carrier cuts it off, but I don't want edge imperfections like this. In my experience, although it looks like it would be easy to 'burn that away' burning only makes things worse.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 11.52.41 AM.jpg 
Views:	43 
Size:	87.0 KB 
ID:	207875.
    I'll have to look at that print again -- it is hanging at the gallery, so it will be a few days. Not quite sure what the imperfection might be...unless you are referring to the reproduction of the print.

    The rebate is part of my image, so it is not 'foreign' as far as my compositions go -- but I understand others feeling quite different about it. Any border, visible or invisible, around a scene does not exist as part of a scene -- that is one of the things photographers do -- create borders. With the lens/camera, with the rebate, with a window mat, with negative holders, with easels, with a straight edge and sharp blade. Which ever way best works for that person.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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