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Thread: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

  1. #1

    Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    Hi all,

    There is often a lot of discussion in the forum dealing with various alternatives to conventional panchromatic film. Many are interested in X-ray film, orthrochromatic print film, Harman's DP paper, etc. Personally, I'm working with Harman's DP paper (still in the testing phase) with very promising results.

    When I try to search the web for examples of work produced on orthchromatic material it is often a bit of a dead end because very little work if referenced based on the type of sensitive material used. I'd be very interested in seeing work which is known to have been made on orthochromatic material. I'm hoping that people will contribute example images.

    My contribution: Edward Weston used orthochromatic film until 1921 when he switched to panchromatic film. The below image, "Breast 1920, 6N", was made on orthochromatic film in 1920.

    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  2. #2
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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    More recently orthochromatic film has been used in portraits, especially of men, for a slight enhancement of skin tones. An example is this, shot on the discontinued Kodak Professional Copy Film 4125. It had an upswept characteristic curve to improve critical highlight detail. This further improved skin texture in men. A similar effect can be achieved in panchromatic film with a minimum exposure and enough development to bring contrast up to a printable level. Yousuf Karsh used that technique to good effect.
    Last edited by Jim Jones; 23-Dec-2011 at 07:52. Reason: wrong image

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    This is a quite relevant question today since Ilford released the ORTHO PLUS film yesterday in 120 and 35mm. I would think it would even be more interesting in LF sheets. Unfortunately no one ever answered this thread with examples

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    I'll add a few to your list who worked , for at least most of heir careers, with orthochromatic emulsions.
    Hurrell, Clarence White, Mortensen,Curtis,Strand,Stieglitz plus most of the Hollywood portraitists of the 20's - 40's.

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    Quote Originally Posted by otto.f View Post
    This is a quite relevant question today since Ilford released the ORTHO PLUS film yesterday in 120 and 35mm. I would think it would even be more interesting in LF sheets. Unfortunately no one ever answered this thread with examples
    The Ortho Plus emulsion has been available in 4X5 and 8X10 sheets for many, many years. Its not new - only the smaller formats are "new".

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    I believe wet plate coatings are orthochromatic, so most photography from the 1800s (Watkins jumps immediately to mind) will be ortho. I believe that is also why wet plate photographers used to “add in” skies, because with ortho film, blue photographs as white, which made for boring skies. Switching subjects only slightly, I was at the Ilford booth at the PhotoPlus expo in NYC today, and they had the new ortho film on hand in 35, 120, and 4x5, and said that the sheet film was available for a long time, but was not actively marketed. They have also reformulated their multi grade RC paper, but have not made any changes to their fiber based papers.

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    I believe wet plate coatings are orthochromatic
    No, those were mainly UV & blue sensitive, not sensitive to green as Ortho is. Ortho is a consequence of the emergence & use of sensitising dyes in emulsions from the late 19th century onwards. A lot of photography up until the 1930's (both amateur and professional) was done with 'normal' (aka blue sensitive) or ortho (often something-'chrome' films with green sensitivity and higher speed) & panchromatic films began to gradually dominate between late 1920's and the early 1950's, see Verichrome, later Verichrome Pan for an example of the change from ortho to pan as a market dominant snapshot film. A lot of male portraits well into the later half of the 20th century were shot on ortho stocks - indeed it was strongly pushed by the manufacturers for this purpose. Failing that, a lot (most?) of Stieglitz's work was shot on ortho (the Equivalents used various yellow filters on an ortho stock I recall) - early Strand up until perhaps the late 20's (at least from what I could tell from the skin tones) & most of the iconic August Sander portraits are on ortho - the latter often with a yellow filter I recall (which cuts the blue sensitivity & makes ortho look somewhat more panchromatic-ish).

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    Internet, thanks for the correction. Many of the Google results, which I used to double check my (incorrect) memory describe emulsions, or coatings, which are sensitive only to blue as “orthochromatic.” They explain that is the reason for the typically blank skies, stating that clouds and blue sky photograph as identical white on what they call “ortho.” I admit that I am quite confused. Unfortunately Ilford did not have any comparison prints of the same scene taken on their standard films versus the “new” ortho film.

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    I believe wet plate coatings are orthochromatic, so most photography from the 1800s (Watkins jumps immediately to mind) will be ortho.
    Adding...

    In 1873 Vogel discovered dye sensitization, before that all wet and dry plates were "color blind", not sensitive to red and not sensitive to green.

    Both Dry Plates and Wet Plates can be orthocromatic if simply adding some Erythrosine, or panchromatic if adding other sensitizing dyes.

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    Re: Examples of Work Known to be Orthochromatic

    [QUOTE=interneg;1522024]No, those were mainly UV & blue sensitive, not sensitive to green as Ortho is.

    In the book "Summit" that Aperture published on Vittorio Sella, Ansel Adams writes in the forward "Sellas photography was accomplished with orthochromatic plates which are sensitive to all colors of light except those of the red regions of the spectrum." page 9

    Sellas's photos are astounding, and they have the sky with nicely rendered atmosphere.
    Thad Gerheim
    Website: http:/thadgerheimgallery.com

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