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Thread: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

  1. #11

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    Re: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Arentz View Post
    I have been asked by former students to discuss the differences between in-camera and digitally generated negatives for Pt/Pd printing.

    Advantages of Pt/pd Printing from In-camera Negatives

    • The Pt/Pd print from an in-camera negative is the benchmark of Pt/Pd imagery.
    • Vision is transferred directly from the ground glass to the negative. No intermediate steps.
    • Viewing the image up side down is a distinct aid in learning to see in a contemplative study- a characteristic of most nineteenth century processes. Compositional elements of images are enhanced over subject matter.
    • Selective viewing is prioritized because the photographer is limited by the weight and cost of film.
    • The tonalities and lines per mm clarity of an in-camera negative are superior to digitally generated negatives. This is obvious in silver gelatin contact printing, but not as noticeable with hand-coated processes.
    • The H & D curve of film creates images that characterize the distribution of tonalities of film-based photography.
    • Pre-visualization from color to B & W is less complicated than working from a computer. The mental transfer from color to monochrome can occur instantaneously as the film is exposed.
    • Film must be selectively exposed and developed to match paper characteristics. (In the hands of an expert, Pt/Pd prints may reach a level of sublimity unmatched by most photographic processes).
    • It is likely that, following this era of computerization; prints made by historical processes will maintain their artistic and monetary value more than their digitally generated counterparts.
    • In documentary or journalistic photography the print made from an in-camera negative has more credibility. (See the National Geographic cover photo of the Pyramids).

    Disadvantages of Pt/pd Printing from In-camera Negatives

    • The equipment is cumbersome. In most cases, it requires an introspective approach to image making.
    • The size of the image is determined by the size of the camera. Cropping can only be done by masking or “guillotining” the negative.
    • Certain types of film are scarce and becoming more so.
    • Today it is nearly impossible to transport large film by air.
    • Film has limited shelf life.
    • Extreme care must be taken in the field to prevent light leaks, dust and scratches. Routinely, prints must be spotted.
    • Film must be selectively exposed and developed to match paper characteristics. “Bracketing” is nearly impossible. In the hands of the less experienced, many unprintable negatives may occur.
    • Because of the H & D curve, to achieve separation of print shadows, lower Zone III levels must be printed at 90% Dmax. (See Minor White Convincing Black).
    • Reproduction of images in web site or book form requires scans of large negatives or photographing of actual prints.


    Advantages of Pt/pd Printing from Digitally Generated Negatives

    • Small and intermediate cameras can be used. In many cases, a tripod is not necessary, opening the opportunities for more spontaneous imagery.
    • No airport hassle with security cretins.
    • It is much easier to get an acceptable image with computerization. With digital capture, most exposures are perfect. They can be transferred from RGB color to monochrome and honed to satisfaction with raw and Photoshop editing.
    • Darkroom tools, such a dodging and burning are built-in Photoshop tools and are easily used. (Or misused- See disadvantages).
    • With newer technology and the hand-coated print, the lines per mm. (dpi) from 8 and 12 bit printers is virtually the same as from an in-camera negative. With larger prints, the average viewing distance is twice the diagonal of the print, obscuring any difference in print acuity between in-camera and digitally generated negatives.
    • With the straight-line curve given to digital images, print shadows can include Dmax reflective densities.
    • It is easy to produce prints with posterized prints paper-white highlights and black-black shadows (to wow the NY crowd). (See disadvantages).
    • Image size is not determined by camera size. (See monstrous-sized prints).
    • Reproduction of images in web site or book form is easier working from digital files.


    Disadvantages of Pt/pd Printing from Digitally Generated Negatives

    • Without visual discipline gained from exposing film in the field, a “motor drive” approach may occur when hammering out digital images.
    • Working digitally, weeks or months later, the photographer may have problems in recreating the mood and particulars at the time of exposure when viewing hundreds of screen images of the same subject.
    • The highlight portion of a straight-line paper curve is linear, as opposed to the paper “toe”, found in film-based Pt/Pd printing. This can give an unnatural effect; however, it can be modified using Mark Nelson’s hybrid correction curves.
    • Working digitally, there is no limit to size, leading to Pt/Pd prints of monstrous size to accommodate the market.
    • Without experience in the field, there is a tendency for a photographer to get obsessed with the image on the monitor, placing a barrier between the visualization and the monochrome image.
    • Perfect is the enemy of good. Applying an in-camera negative to hand coated paper is a funky process, full of imperfections. No two prints are exactly identical. This is the charm of the non-silver methods. The many tools in Photoshop can lead to a form of perfection, where such darkroom maneuvers, such as dodging and burning or changing paper grades can take on a “mechanical” appearance.
    • Over-sharpening is the bane of digital imagery. This may work in commercial photography, but when attempting to match the standards set in Pt/Pd printing, significant Photoshop skills are needed.
    • Many RGB image on the monitor are spectacular. For the undisciplined eye, color beats monochrome nine times out of ten. For personal achievement and satisfaction, a different frame of mind is needed. (See Edward Weston).
    • A “Photoshopped” image will, may times, contain an element of doubt. For this reason digital images are usually not admitted during legal proceedings.

    Dick Arentz
    Where to begin? I think you are over-inflating the argument. Many of these concerns are completely irrelevant to platinum printing. For example, how many people are using platinum prints during legal proceedings? How is it easier to preserve the "mood" with a negative months later than it is with a digital image? The argument about "visual discipline" with film has no evidence. Careful photographers are careful photographers. In fact, the immediate results from digital images enable a quicker feedback loop - the value of which can be attested to by the use of millions of sheets of polaroid film over the years. There is a film in airports thread which seems to contradict your statement that it is "nearly impossible" to transport film by air.

    I think you are doing your students a disservice by feeding them half-truths and what appears to me to be propaganda mixed in with some good advice. Strip out the rhetoric and you have something which is worthy of passing along as knowledge.

  2. #12

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    Re: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

    Jack,

    I'm guessing you don't know Dick. Don't take it quite so literally. I'm happy to see that Dick's wry and dry sense of humor is undiminished.

    Cheers,
    Keith (former student of and assistant to Mr. Arentz) Schreiber

  3. #13

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    Re: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

    OMG would it not be SO COOL if forensic photographers were using PtPd?
    Dead bodies, bullet holes, tire skidmarks etc. all in full darkroom-crafted PtPd!

  4. #14

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    Re: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

    Thanks Dick,

    Great thread, humor and even macabre!

    Asher

  5. #15

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    Re: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by keith schreiber View Post
    Jack,

    I'm guessing you don't know Dick. Don't take it quite so literally. I'm happy to see that Dick's wry and dry sense of humor is undiminished.

    Cheers,
    Keith (former student of and assistant to Mr. Arentz) Schreiber

    I agree. There is no need to take every point and treat it like the Lord's word on stone. On the other hand, sniping aside, this is one of the most comprehensive list of pros and cons of digital negatives versus contact size negatives made in the camera I have ever seen, and thanks to Dick Arentz for putting it up here.

    Sandy King
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
    [url]https://groups.io/g/carbon

  6. #16

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    Re: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

    Likewise, kudos to Mr. Arentz for posting this. While never his student, I have had the pleasure of sifting through his prints accompanied by his informed commentary. His years in the tranches and constant exploration of the medium give him credibility that few possess IMHO. Sandy would be another on my short list of those who have earned their stripes and share their hard gotten experience. Thanks.

  7. #17
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    Re: Pt/Pd Prints From In-Camera Negatives Vs. prints From Digital Negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    "A “Photoshopped” image will, may times, contain an element of doubt. For this reason digital images are usually not admitted during legal proceedings."

    I don't know where this myth got started but it is indeed a myth. Digital images have to be authenticated just as film images must be in order to be admitted into evidence. The method of authentication may be somewhat different and there may be more objections on the ground that the image has been altered. But as a general rule digital images are as admissible into evidence as film images in both federal court and every State court I know of.

    For anyone who'd like to delve deeper into this subject, here's a good short, simple article about it
    .
    http://www.crime-scene-investigator....ofdigital.html
    You're right Brian. When I worked in the ER we had to use a Polaroid camera. This was before digital and film was suspect. Now digital is used.

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