Does this count as alternative process?

Joanna Carter

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We once had a very good lunch in Paimpol.
Well, small world. Do you come over here from time to time?
It took a lot of walking to recover from the Calvados. The couple on the next table had a small dinghy filled with seafood.
Ah, the assiette de fruits de mer. I once ordered that when on an evening out with a friend. My co-diner however wasn't a seafood fan and ordered an omelette, followed by a long wait for me to finish :D
Do you never have some respected non-member along to discuss the work? You might be missing something. Once a year, perhaps? I'm not suggesting marks or the accursed thirds.
Did you mean 'their work'? If so, not yet, but we have a committee meeting tomorrow; perhaps I should suggest it.

We used to belong to Lancashire Monochrome before we moved. An excellent club that doesn't have judging sessions, simply sharing and discussion. They meet once a month and twice a year they also invite a "keynote speaker"to a special all day meeting with lunch; something that can be truly inspirational and something I miss here.
 

David M

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#42
A little while since Paimpol.
I belong to a small group who meet discuss their work. Sometimes we stray into discussing Brexaster but I'll keep quiet about my opinion on that.
From time to time, we have someone along to both talk about their own work and look at ours. They are always interested, interesting and helpful. These workshops are held at the weekend because not all members can get to weekday meetings. We find this useful and enjoyable. Very occasionally we give ourselves a small project to do. The communal meals are an important part in my view. We have an exhibition every other year.
Best of luck with the committee meeting.
 

KenS

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#43
I 'just have' to ask... is making a 'properly coloured digital negative' up sized to around 8x10 inches on Pictorico 'film'
from an original silver-gelatin 4x5 negative be considered to be 'cheating' when an print using alternative (ie VDB, Carbon... or 'whatever' hand-applied with my home mixed emulsion to a quality 'watercolour' paper be considered as 'cheating'.. while it it 'reduces' the cost somewhat dramatically.
I'd love to 'do' more using silver gelatin 8x10 inch negatives using my much more experienced Burke and James which tends to increase the cash/cost/'effort' out in the field. HOWEVER... after enlarging the 'end result', from an original 4x5 negative onto my 8.5x11 inch 'inter-negative' and exposing the resulting 'negative' under my UV light-source I (personally), feel no 'guilt' whatsoever. IOW... you get to "dance with the gal that brung you"


Ken
 
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Ian Grant

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#44
I 'just have' to ask... is making a 'properly coloured digital negative' up sized to around 8x10 inches on Pictorico 'film' from an original silver-gelatin 4x5 negative be considered to be 'cheating' when an print using alternative (ie VDV, Carbon... or 'whatever' hand-applied with my home mixed emulsion to a quality 'watercolour' paper be considered as 'cheating'.. while it it 'reduces' the cost somewhat dramatically.
Depends how purist someone's point of view is, so to some it's cheating to others it's not.

The real hard core purists would insist that you make the negative in the camera, usually LF or ULF, and then contact print those negatives mostly using an alternative process, usually Platinum/Palladium.

The reality is a few years ago it was easy to make enlarged duplicate enlarged negatives, Kodak made a Direct Positive film similar in most ways to Harman Direct Positive paper but on a film base, now it's more complex although you can reversal process conventional B&W films which is described on Unblinkingeye.

That Direct Positive film is long gone and the most viable alternative is making a digital negative, if you have access to a a Lambda machine your negative can be written back to film, that's what Bob Carnie does in Toronto, but Inkjet printing onto Pictorio or similar works just as well.

Personally I don't see it as cheating, however it is very formulaic, once your set up is calibrated it's very repeatable.

Ian
 

David M

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#45
We all wonder about this sort of thing from time to time. It seems to me that the cheating doesn't lie in the process, but in the claims you may be making.
As a parallel example, you might, out of curiosity, decide to hand-paint a five-pond note. (Or your own local currency.) Clearly, this would be a very difficult thing to do. If you were to exhibit your handiwork as an example of your remarkable skills with a brush, no cheating would be involved. On the other hand, if you tried to buy something with it, you would be cheating. The note would be a kind of Schrodinger-object in a superposition of cheating and non-cheating states, and the cheating function would only collapse when you decided to take it to either the Tate or John Lewis.
This sort of thing must arise every time that a new technique appears. Until the 1840s each painter ground and mixed their own pigments, but the invention of the flexible tube meant that paint could be bought ready-made and carried into the field quite easily. Presumably, before then, any painter who wanted to paint in the open air would be followed by an apprentice bearing a pestle and mortar, to prepare the colours.
Would this have been called cheating? We can easily imagine some die-hard fresco-painter complaining that all the skill had gone out of painting and nowadays, you just press a tube and out comes the paint.
Did any customers complain that they were being deceived?

I've had a supplementary thought. 1839 and 1841 are very close together. Is this the twin impulse that led to Impressionism?
 

David M

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#46
Ian,
We have overlapped.
Which part of the process is the candidate for "cheating"? Is it using an enlarged negative, rather than a camera-made one, or is it the intervention of another technology? Is it even failure to get the contrast right in the original neg?
Or does it all depend on the prickliness of the conscience of each commentator? Could a fundamentalist alternative photographer scorn electric light and insist that sunshine is the One True Way?
 
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Ian Grant

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#47
A few years ago there were a group of photographers who formed "The Contact Printers Guild" they were a disparate bunch who had a collective website to sell their images.

I was in contact with one member, George Gastreano, he posted a lot on APUG (he was a moderator for a short time) and the US based Large Format Photography Forum. All the members were die hard purists shooting and processing their camera negatives specifically for contact printing. I know George did feel making intermediate negatives particularly from scanned negatives and then inkjet negatives was cheating, he was very vocal about it and eventually got banned from both websites. I have one of his Mexican church ruins images and it's a superb Platinum-Palladium print.

Ultimately "The Contact Printers Guild" failed because some members had quality issues and that reflected on the rest of the group. George had left sometime before it disappeared later giving up photography completely after a serious illness.

I think Ken's point about costs is valid, few of us could afford to shoot ULF, and the costs of making conventional film copy negatives is high, we have to move on and use what's now available to us. It's only cheating if you pass something off on false claims. I have a Platinum-Palladium print on the wall in Turkey given to me by another LF photographer he made no secret of the fact that the image was shot with a DSLR.

I remember Edwin Land writing many years ago (1980's) predicting that Photography would become a fluid mix of Analogue and Digital and we'd have choices of how to capture and output our images. It's our personal choice how "Purist" we want to be.

Ian
 

David M

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#48
Ian,
I've tried a few alternative processes and came to the conclusion that it's relatively easy to produce some sort of print, but very difficult to produce one you're really happy with. "Relatively easy" is still not as straightforward as the two routes to printing that mostly feature on this forum.
 

Ian Grant

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#49
Ian,
I've tried a few alternative processes and came to the conclusion that it's relatively easy to produce some sort of print, but very difficult to produce one you're really happy with. "Relatively easy" is still not as straightforward as the two routes to printing that mostly feature on this forum.

I think a lot depends on the route you use to make the negatives. I was taught to make Platinum/Palladium prints using Digital negatives, here all the variables from a negative made in a camera are adjusted and corrected before printing so results are very predictable. David who taught me didn't have a darkroom and in practice he could make Platinum/Palladium prints at a reasonable cost per print, once a system and UV light source are calibrated there's almost no wastage. He'd had some tuition and help getting set up from the late David Chow in Cambridge.

I think using a camera negative or home produced analogue enlarged copy negative is going to be harder, so I'd totally agree with you're comment that "that it's relatively easy to produce some sort of print, but very difficult to produce one you're really happy with." That was my experience making Kallitypes a few years ago from camera negatives, the Kodak Direct Positive film helped a lot because you could do some dodging/burning if needed, it's an odd experience a bit like dodging/burning Cibachrome/Ilfochrome as the technique is the opposite of conventional negative - positive printing.

Ian
 

David M

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#50
All of my small experience with alternatives was with camera negatives. I came to the conclusion that the only certain way would be to expose two identical negatives (plus matched pairs of brackets in tricky situations). The first neg would then be developed to a best-guess contrast and a best-guess print made. Then the second negative could be developed more precisely and the final print made. I never did any of this, but merely speculated. Digital negatives seem much easier.
 

Alan9940

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#51
Ken,

Is it cheating if I remove some trash from the view my camera is providing? Is it cheating if I increase contrast in a print to more fully realize my vision? Is toning allowed? Personally, I don't consider much to be cheating...however the creator wishes to craft their work is just fine with me. I can choose to like it or choose not to, but who am I to question their vision?
 

David M

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#52
Ken,
Two separate questions.
...who are you to question their vision? You're as equal as everybody else when it comes to vision. All questions are valid, although some observers may bring extra expertise to some images.
When it comes to removing something from the subject, that depends on the purpose of the photograph. If you were an estate agent concealing a damp patch, that would be cheating. If you picked up a Coca-Cola can or a McDonald's box from a wilderness, you might not be. But if you were trying to show the despoliation of wildernesses, it might be considered cheating to add them. It would certainly weaken your case if anyone found out.
I'm sure we've all moved an inconvenient twig out of view.
Can't see any problem with contrast adjustment or toning. Changing a coloured scene to monochrome is a much bigger change. On the other hand, you might be increasing contrast to hide something in the shadows...
 

Alan9940

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#53
Great points, David. I really enjoy this type of discussion! To my mind, it pretty much all boils down to documentary or interpretive. If shooting the former, I think the resulting image should be absolutely true and honest to what is being conveyed; if the latter, then all bets are off. I can choose to appreciate the work or dismiss it, but I don't think I have any right to question the creator's intentions.
 

Ian Grant

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#54
It's about what the image maker is claiming.

I remember talking to Simon Roberts at the MAC in Birmingham just before a talk he was giving. He'd been the artist chosen to cover the 2010 General Election (here in the UK) and had shot it on 5"x4" C41 and had RA-4 prints made. He didn't hide the fact that many of the images were composite made from more than one negative. That's his artistic licence and many of the images could only have been made that way.

So it's about honesty.

Ian
 

KenS

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#55
Ken,
Two separate questions.
...who are you to question their vision? You're as equal as everybody else when it comes to vision. All questions are valid, although some observers may bring extra expertise to some images.
When it comes to removing something from the subject, that depends on the purpose of the photograph. If you were an estate agent concealing a damp patch, that would be cheating. If you picked up a Coca-Cola can or a McDonald's box from a wilderness, you might not be. But if you were trying to show the despoliation of wildernesses, it might be considered cheating to add them. It would certainly weaken your case if anyone found out.
I'm sure we've all moved an inconvenient twig out of view.
Can't see any problem with contrast adjustment or toning. Changing a coloured scene to monochrome is a much bigger change. On the other hand, you might be increasing contrast to hide something in the shadows...
[QUOTE="David M,

David...

Might it be considered ‘cheating’ when I make use of my electrically powered ultra-violet light source to print images using the alternative print processes that rely on the 'shorter/natural’ UV wavelengths provided by direct sunlight to John Herschel when he ‘invented’ the Cyanotype print process? Here in S. Alberta we are probably blessed with more 'natural sunlight' than what might be 'available in UK's summertime... but my fluorescent light tubes emitting the UV wavelengths allow me to print 24/7 should I so decide print whenever I 'feel like it'?

Ken



..
 

David M

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#56
Alan,
Documentary or interpretive is a good way to make the distinction clearer.

I think we should all be grateful to Joanna, who started us down this interesting road.
 

Ian Grant

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#57
[QUOTE="David M,

David...

Might it be considered ‘cheating’ when I make use of my electrically powered ultra-violet light source to print images using the alternative print processes that rely on the 'shorter/natural’ UV wavelengths provided by direct sunlight to John Herschel when he ‘invented’ the Cyanotype print process? Here in S. Alberta we are probably blessed with more 'natural sunlight' than what might be 'available in UK's summertime... but my fluorescent light tubes emitting the UV wavelengths allow me to print 24/7 should I so decide print whenever I 'feel like it'?

Ken



..
Well here in the UK a dedicated UV light source would be the the only way to be sure of a good UV light source, our weather is to unpredictable, wouldn't want to confined to the few sunny days each year.

I was taught Platinum/Palladium printing on the south west Mediterranean cost of Turkey where you're pretty much guaranteed sunlight 360+ days of the year. However use of a dedicated UV light box allows careful calibration and very consistent repeatability. Is that cheating ?

Some purists may say it is, but to many of us it's common sense. I did an Albumen printing workshop at Dimbola House, the Museum which is Julia Margaret Cameron's former house, I don't remember seeing a UV light box and we took our contact printing frames outside for exposure. That added to the mystique and excitement of the process but if one was making modern albumen prints off historic negative maybe a dedicated UV light source would make more sense.

Ian
 

Joanna Carter

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Continuing on the subject of "cheating", Helen just pointed out that, even the great AA was prone to a bit of "manipulation".

From his book Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs, talking about the image Winter Sunrise

winter-surise.jpg

… he says this :

The enterprising youth of the Lone Pine High School had climbed the rocky slopes of the Alabama Hills and whitewashed a huge white L P [the letters “L” and P”] for the world to see. It is a hideous and insulting scar on one of the great vistas of our land, and shows in every photograph made of the area. I ruthlessly removed what I could of the L P from the negative (in the left-hand hill), and have always spotted out any remaining trace in the print. I have been criticized by some for doing this, but I am not enough of a purist to perpetuate the scar and thereby destroy — for me, at least — the extraordinary beauty and perfection of the scene.
If it's good enough for AA, then what are we arguing about? :p;)
 

David M

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#59
It makes good sense to use all the modern conveniences available.
We should remember that photography, as we know it, was invented in these foggy isles. There's a famous picture of WHFT's Reading establishment where all the prints are being exposed out-of-doors, so it it possible.
I understand that any kind of daylight will produce a print eventually, but that the contrast of the print changes as the exposure lengthens. Can't put my finger on the reference, so can't be more informative
 
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Ian Grant

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#60
Continuing on the subject of "cheating", Helen just pointed out that, even the great AA was prone to a bit of "manipulation".

From his book Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs, talking about the image Winter Sunrise

View attachment 1377

… he says this :



If it's good enough for AA, then what are we arguing about? :p;)
That's exactly what I mean by honesty, an excellent example.

Ian
 
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