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Thread: Alternative processes help please

  1. #1

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    Alternative processes help please

    I have seen lots of different old ways of printing a negative. But a lot look like they are only done by contact printing.
    The ones I have looked at and like are bromoil, gum bichromate, cyanotype, argyrotype, kallitype, and salted paper. I have a 4x5 sinar and was wondering if there is any easy way to enlarge the negative.
    And print like normal onto the paper if not is there any other ideas in the group please.
    Nothing to technical I am new at this just like the look of these processes.
    Thank you
    Al

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative processes help please

    Hello!

    I suggest not worrying about enlarging and instead, dive into a process of your choice with 4x5 negatives. Easier and cheaper then making bigger prints.

    Once you find a process you really like and have experience with, then deal with one of the many ways of enlarging negatives. Then you will also know what kind of quality is possible with contact printing a camera negative and you'll know what to aim for when making enlarged negatives.

    PS -- and if you want an alt process that is like silver printing on massive steroids, try carbon printing!

  3. #3
    Arca-Swiss
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    Re: Alternative processes help please

    In the 19th century when most of these were invented they were so slow, as they still are, that you had to contact print. An enlarger does not use actinic or blue light, which most of these processes are most sensitive to. So either a larger camera or an enlarged negative was the only way to do it. You can enlarge on Lith film using a paper developer like dektol at 1:20 or so. Be sure you put black paper on your easel as Lith doesn't have antihalation backing and will fog with a light colored easel. Work with the lith like paper and change the contrast by adjusting the dilution of the developer. Stronger, higher contrast. Weaker, lower contrast. Contact printing is better with a higher contrast neg, but not too high. Even Weston, Stieglitz, and Steichen made some enlarged plates.
    Rod Klukas
    US Representative
    Arca-Swiss International
    480-755-3364


    Digital Camera Solutions including R-series Technical Cameras, Large Format View Cameras and Ballheads. 480-755-3364

  4. #4

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    Re: Alternative processes help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Albert.Adderley View Post
    I have seen lots of different old ways of printing a negative. But a lot look like they are only done by contact printing.
    The ones I have looked at and like are bromoil, gum bichromate, cyanotype, argyrotype, kallitype, and salted paper. I have a 4x5 sinar and was wondering if there is any easy way to enlarge the negative.
    And print like normal onto the paper if not is there any other ideas in the group please.
    Nothing to technical I am new at this just like the look of these processes.
    Thank you
    Al
    Oh don't be confused. These days there is tons of information available on the internet. Starting out plan on just using your 4x5 camera and make beautiful little jewel like prints. Once you learn to make excellent prints you may not want to enlarge the negatives.

    Take a look at the Unblinking Eye website for starters.

    http://unblinkingeye.com/

    That website alone will possibly keep you reading work days if not weeks.

    The first think to know about alt. process prints made from in camera negatives is that you will normally need a very contrasty negative. One that would print well on a grade zero silver gelatin paper.

    But my comments are very general. Just read, read, read, for a while. If you are well heeled and have a lot of time on your hands take some workshops.

    Good luck,

    Don Bryant

  5. #5

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    Re: Alternative processes help please

    I too am interested but have never seen a carbon print, Lodima or any other alternative contact prints. Can you recommend photo books or do I need to see the original print to get the "picture"?

  6. #6
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative processes help please

    There are books for alt process stuff, but you really have to see the examples in person to appreciate them. Lots of subtleties that can't be reproduced in a book or on a webpage. Trying some alt process stuff is even more fun than looking at them. Perhaps there is a gallery or exhibit somewhere nearby showing a portion of what is capable.

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative processes help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Rayt View Post
    I too am interested but have never seen a carbon print, Lodima or any other alternative contact prints. Can you recommend photo books or do I need to see the original print to get the "picture"?
    I taught myself carbon printing from a magazine article (ViewCamera Magazine) in the early 1990's and made prints for several years before ever seeing someone else's carbon prints. The advantage of this is that I did not know what they were "suppose" to look like, so I was free to tweak the process without any pre-conceived notions.

    I re-invented the wheel several times, but I ended up with a printing method that best matched my vision and subject...and not just prints that were like other carbons prints being made at the time. Not saying mine were "better", but just better for me.

    My prints have a raised relief -- something that can not be seen in reproduction (books or web). This is the same for many alt processes that have any kind of texture (most of them, depending on the paper used, etc.)

    The best book out there is Christopher James' The Book of Alternative Processes. Get the Second Edition -- more processes (including Carbon) and more photographs.

    http://www.christopherjames-studio.c...d/thebook.html

    Vaughn

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