U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: dig negs

Re: dig negs

On Oct 3, 2006, at 3:58 AM, Dan Burkholder wrote:

Hi Joe,

The images on that web site are jpegs of the images that were turned
into hand-coated platinum/palladium and pigment-over–platinum. The
actual prints were much nicer (richer and with more charm) than the
reproductions. I don't find any virtue in photographing (or scanning)
prints and then turning them into jpegs to put on the web. In my
experience, photos of hand-coated prints almost always look dull and
lifeless unless you alter them in Photoshop anyway. Heck, back in the
old days when we had to submit slides for juried competitions and such,
I'd always "cheat" by shooting slides of a silver gelatin prints
instead; a slide of the "real" pt/pd print would look like gray mud in
comparison. I never had final prints rejected because the print didn't
look like the entry slide that I'd submitted. Make sense? In the next
workshop in which we print alt images, I'll get a group shot of everyone
(with a big smile on their faces) holding their lovely prints!
I'm glad Joe asked the question, since I had made the mistake of thinking that what you showed us were prints that were made in the workshop. Now I understand you to say these are the original photos that the negatives were made from, not prints that were made from the negatives.

I have to agree with Joe; showing us the original images rather than the final prints tells us nothing whatever about how well the negatives work, and it seems... ..well, like Joe I don't see the point of offering these images as proof of the success of your method.

I do agree that it's difficult to reproduce prints accurately, as we all know, but I'd rather see the prints anyway.

Having said that, I will say that Dan's book, first edition, taught me how to make digital negatives, back in the days before photo- quality inkjet printers existed, and that his method worked quite well for me; I made a lot of gum prints from negatives printed on a 300 dpi and then a 600-dpi laser printer, using Dan's method for producing imagesetter negatives from bitmap files. (Note that these were also scanned on an ancient scanner, a UMax 300, I think). It's not really fair to compare them to gum prints made from negatives printed from today's inkjet printers, but even considering what I was working with at the time, they don't seem too shabby to me.


These ARE the prints, by the way, but I guess you can tell that anyway, like from the streaks in the background of the apricot. (At that time I thought it was cool to apply the coating very sparsely and streakily in the background area of an image so you could see the brushstrokes).

What I don't understand is the idea that's been bouncing around in this discussion that in Dan's method, the curve that came on the CD was supposed to fit all situations. That's sure not the way I remember it. Dan offered a few curves to try, and showed you how to alter those curves to fit your situation, or make your own curves from scratch. It wasn't a one-size-fits-all method as it's been portrayed here; instead it taught you how to make a curve that would result in your printed image, printed with your own situation and variables, matching the tonal scale of the computer file.

BTW Dan, I'm sorry I didn't know you were going to be so close; I would have stopped by to say hello.


  • Follow-Ups:
  • References: