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Author Topic: Carbon Gelatine, Silver Halogenide, Inkjet: "What is THE ultimate print?"  (Read 14308 times)
Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2011, 12:47:40 PM »
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Shouldn't it be possible to this this by oneself with selfmade profiles?
I know the old methods are color sensible somehow which might make it a bit more sophisticated,
but I imagine printing a grayscale this way and getting close after some iterations should not be witchcraft - with
any printer which can print on translucent material.
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2011, 12:13:37 AM »
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The key is to set up the temps and concentration of chemicals to water.  They should not ever change.  Then when printing the grayscale you can alter that density till its right on.  Once you use this for any process you will have the standard.  This can be done for silver gelatin, platinum, carbro, gravures, ect.  The grayscale is the key, if you can print that then anything else will have a smaller range.  Like I said before the Smithsonian said I was nuts until I proved the concept.   Tim
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Igor Paratte
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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2011, 03:10:17 PM »
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Not to derail the discussion, but one usually has only one copy of a slide, while making multiple backups of digital shots and distributing the files in physically diverse locations is a trivial exercise. Even if one makes in-camera copies of shots, there will never be more. And digital files don't fade.

Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last 12 years already knows all that. The problem with digital is one of obsolescence. It doesn't do any good to have a digital archive of photos that will never fade if it's stored on media that can no longer be accessed and in a proprietary file format that no one knows how to read (RAW or PSD, anyone?).

Consider that today's memory cards and hard drives are the floppy discs and punch cards of tomorrow. When was the last time you came across a stack of 30-year-old floppy discs in a closet and felt the urge to send them to a specialist to have them read so you could see what was on them? Nobody does this; they just throw the discs in the garbage and forget about them.

I say it's better to have a degraded analogue image than none at all. There is a reason why the professionals who painstakingly restore old Hollywood movies choose to transfer their results to fresh film stock rather than just dumping them on DVD or Blu-Ray and calling it day.

Anyone who thinks that computer files are in any way archival is either being myopic or is fooling himself into believing that all this digital convenience doesn't come at a price.

A digital photo archive may remain accessible for the life of the photographer if he is diligent about backing up and transferring to the latest computer media every 5-10 years, but I wouldn't hold much hope for the archive remaining accessible past his lifetime.
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Igor Paratte
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2011, 03:22:15 PM »
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Frankly, I wish more emphasis was placed on the quality of images rather than how long they will last.

That's a surprising sentiment, considering that the essence of photography is capturing a fleeting moment for posterity.
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feppe
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« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2011, 05:14:10 PM »
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Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last 12 years already knows all that. The problem with digital is one of obsolescence. It doesn't do any good to have a digital archive of photos that will never fade if it's stored on media that can no longer be accessed and in a proprietary file format that no one knows how to read (RAW or PSD, anyone?).

Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last 12 years already knows that copying digital files to the latest format (floppy-CD-HDD-SSD-holographic memory-etc) and currently readable file type (bmp-jpg-cr2-dng-a hopefully non-proprietary RAW format) is the way to go for foolproof and indefinite compatibility.

Any particular reason to grave dig a 10-month-old thread as your first post?
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cats_five
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« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2011, 12:41:25 AM »
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Anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last 12 years already knows all that. The problem with digital is one of obsolescence. It doesn't do any good to have a digital archive of photos that will never fade if it's stored on media that can no longer be accessed and in a proprietary file format that no one knows how to read (RAW or PSD, anyone?). Anyone who thinks that computer files are in any way archival is either being myopic or is fooling himself into believing that all this digital convenience doesn't come at a price.
<big snip>

It's not as if we are going to wake up one morning and every single psd or raw file in the world suddenly can't be read.  Nor as if all of a sudden Photoshop won't run.  If there is going to be a format or media problem it will start to appear a long way in advance, and we will all have plenty of time to convert our stored images to whatever is taking over.

I guess you worry also about all that data of yours stored in proprietary formats in databases across the world..
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joneil
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« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2011, 09:04:15 AM »
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It's not as if we are going to wake up one morning and every single psd or raw file in the world suddenly can't be read.  Nor as if all of a sudden Photoshop won't run.  If there is going to be a format or media problem it will start to appear a long way in advance, and we will all have plenty of time to convert our stored images to whatever is taking over.

I guess you worry also about all that data of yours stored in proprietary formats in databases across the world..

  Yes and no.    A friend of mine who works in autocad told me about one upgrade where yes, you could open old files, but how on some file, the new version made tiny little changes.  For example, a thin dotted line might be a very thin but solid line.  Maybe doesn't sound like much, but if you use autocad to design aircraft engines or nuclear reactors...   Smiley

    The other thing too - and I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone here - but for "old farts" like myself who have been into computers since the days of 300 baud modems where you plugged the black handset into a foam lined base, I've heard these things said over and over and over, and I now tend to believe them just as much as I believe a promise from a politician (any political party Smiley   ).

   Don't get me wrong, I use digital and digital techniques every day of my life, but from an archivist point of view, not just our electronic media, but issues with our hard copy media, many of us wonder just how much of our history will survive say even a hundred years from now.

  Back to prints, I love visiting both public and private galleries, photography, sculpture, art of any form.  I do find, as an overall trend, but not always, that the phrases used to describe photographic prints is becoming more grandiose and obtuse.  Not just digital either - last "traditional" B&W print that came from a wet darkroom I saw in a gallery had some long rambling phrase I forget now about "silver rich" - blah, blah, blah.   Nobody is innocent here.

    Last thought - whether you can make a platinum print by hand or on a printer is missing the point.   One thing about ALL art forms - not just photography - be it wood carving, oil painting, photography, whatever, the process of how you make your print or your art affect the final outcome just as much as the media you use.  For example, I remember a wood carver telling me how he used to do soapstone, but he liked wood better because of the smell of the wood he was carving and he thought it affect how he "saw" his final product before he finished.  By the same token, I dislike the smell of fixer, but the very smell of that chemistry, and the dark silence of my wet darkroom puts me in a very different mindset than when I am sitting in front of my monitor editing a photograph in photoshop.  One is not better or worse than another, but you must pay attention to how your media and surroundings affect your mood and the final image in your mind's eye.   IMO, that is the most important difference, and for each person, you will have to try and experiment until you find the medium that "clicks" for you.   Even then, you may find that keeping a hand in other mediums helps keep your edge alive.

good luck

joe
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lenny_eiger
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« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2011, 01:33:53 PM »
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It's a little bit of a silly question, or worse, a film vs digital debate. What's missing is the criteria - which is "better" based on what? How enjoyable it is to make, the length of the tonal range it can reproduce, the surface, glossy or matte, etc. If you want the look of a darkroom print, then the best platinum print or inkjet print you can make will be a failure. And vice-versa, of course.

There is only one or two criteria that can be suggestive of 'better'. Both in the scanning process and the alternative printing processes, a negative that is much denser at the high end is used. Experts often disagree at how much, but suffice it to say, a negative which is developed longer yields a more separated mid-tone area, and a potentially more atmospheric, or rich, print. Of course, many like to print contrasty and a rich print isn't what they are after...  I love all those mid tones, and the feel of a paper that was made by a factory that started making paper 500 years ago or more. I love a matt surface, I don't want to see reflections or imagine my image is in a pile of goo. So some of this stuff was made just for me...

When I made my first platinum print, I never bothered to go back into the darkroom. I like that look very much, rich and velvety. When I got in to digital printing, my first task was to make a print that was at least as good as a platinum print. To my surprise, I was able to do that and more, and with more control. It took a while, a good scanner, some of Jon Cone's inks and a lot of hard work (ok, obsession). However, I have a very long tonal range, rich prints with a lot of delicacy and subtlety - and most importantly, they make me happy... so I guess it works.

I think a lot of people who post these types of questions really want to know if its possible to exceed the quality of a darkroom print. Depending on what you want, it is...

Lenny Eiger
EigerStudios
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EigerStudios
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Kukulcan
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« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2011, 10:58:13 AM »
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I'm just a beginner in digital photography and I cannot seriously contribute to thread but... I can easily figure out that is pretty impossible to get an definitive answer to this question.
 
It's like trying to compare skills of an alpine skier to a nordic one.... yes, they both use tools called ski, but have nothing in common.

I met very expert traditional (film) photographers who simply get nervous when in front of a computer; they could never get something good out of an inkjet printer, provided even they succeded in making it works...

So the point is that we are talking about the same subject(photography) but basically different professions with different tools, and very very few people with proficiency in both field.

Anyway I cannot imagine how a wet print can be so better than my B&W prints made by an Epson 7900 on a Canson Baryta, or piezography carbon inks on Hahnemuhle matte papers
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joneil
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« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2011, 07:16:24 AM »
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So the point is that we are talking about the same subject(photography) but basically different professions with different tools, and very very few people with proficiency in both field.

Anyway I cannot imagine how a wet print can be so better than my B&W prints made by an Epson 7900 on a Canson Baryta, or piezography carbon inks on Hahnemuhle matte papers

-snip-

  give yourself the chance to get out there and see more.    For example,  I once attended a workshop for "digital negatives" and contact platinum prints.  In short how it works is you shoot 4x5 film,  then the negative is drum scanned at high resolution.  Then you print a 20x24"  print on clear film, but as a negative.   It's quite an art to get that "negative" right on the computer before you print, from what I saw.

    Then you do a contact print on a large sheet of specially prepared paper, and then develop basically via traditional methods.   A complete blend of both old and new, wet and digital darkroom techniques, and also, IMO, one of the best ways to drive a stake through the heart of these endless "which is better - film or digital" threads you see and almost every other photo forum, because you are faced with the reality that the best answer to that question is "both".  Smiley

   Bottom line is though, you'll have a very unique looking product that cannot, IMO, be completely duplicated by either traditional or digital techniques alone.  Ask yourself, so what's wrong with that?  Smiley

  Back to your original question,  it is not about what is better, but what you like better.  Is the Mona Lisa better than most Ansel Adams prints?   How do you judge art, any art to begin with?  If  you are talking the technical analysis of which is better, that depends on the technician.   If you ever get the chance to sit in a wet darkroom and see an old master ( or an old fart like myself Smiley  ) at work, do so.   Not to convince you that one technique is better than another, but this one bit of advice - whatever your medium, explore different  mediums, as it will help you see things differently and make your work all the much better.

good luck
joe

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MHMG
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« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2011, 08:22:12 PM »
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... For many years I have been inventing processes, some for the Smithsonian proving what couldn't be done or so they said.  ... I have not written up what I invented at the Smithsonian, but will be happy to share this with you if you want to go this direction.  I am not a writer, but am willing to share nearly everything I have invented.  Tim

Hi Tim, admittedly this is an old thread that just got resurrected, and you may not be following anymore, but I'll bite.  I was the Senior Research Photographic Scientist at the Smithsonian from 1988-1998 and was never asked to weigh in on what could or couldn't be done in terms of modern photographic processes. That said, the SI has 16 different museums, and you could have been talking to one "expert" at anyone of them. I'd be curious to know what division dismissed your work so lightly. I'm well aware of Evercolor and the people involved.

cheers,
Mark
http:/www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 09:28:46 PM by MHMG » Logged
MHMG
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« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2011, 09:23:30 PM »
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The term "archival" is actually quite meaningless...print longevity is more useful.


An old thread, but someone brought it back to life, so I read it, and I'll weigh in on the topic.

It's true, "Archival" has no precise definition (means many things to many people), but "print longevity" is an equally bastardized concept today. Even an image printed with cheap litho inks on the the most acid-choked, lignin filled newsprint paper can last centuries if properly cared for. Media durability is the correct concept, not media longevity.

Manufacturers and printmakers both play a strong part in determining print durability, but not print longevity. Manufacturers can produce more durable inks and media. Printmakers can choose printer/ink/media combinations that favor greater print durability (i.e. resistance to light fading, gas fading, thermal fading, and humidity cycling). Thus, print permanence is best expressed in terms of durability ratings, not grossly oversimplified longevity ratings. Manufacturers and printmakers have precious little control over longevity.  It is the end-user(s) (ie., print collectors, museum curators, etc) that overwhelmingly determine print longevity... by choosing environmental conditions for storage and display conditions wisely or not. One can take a very fragile print process and get it to last longer than a highly durable print process simply by handling the fragile print with informed care while treating the otherwise more durable print with neglect.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 09:25:17 PM by MHMG » Logged
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