U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | RE: dig negs & gum variables & speaking of "urea"

RE: dig negs & gum variables & speaking of "urea"

A propos of this thread about the distance the "field" has come, from the pioneers (as in Barnier) whose essays in diigital negative printing I still have in the file, and, I swear, have read (most of), to this moment when students make digital negs on Workshop Day One, I quote from an article in last Sunday's Times (Oct 1, 2006):

Dennis Lim is writing about David Lynch, "amateur weatherman" returning to film. The opening quote is from Lynch (the "he" of the following)....

"The sky's the limit with digital," he said in a recent conversation, his voice approaching foghorn pitch. "Film is like a dinosaur in a tar pit. People might be sick to hear that because they love film, just like they loved magnetic tape. And I love film. I love it!"

He [Lynch] contorted his face into an expression that suggested pain more than love. "It's so beautiful," he said. But "I would die if I had to work like that again."

A disquisition on "Inland Empire," Lynch's first feature since "Mulholland Drive" follows, it being "the first to be shot on the humble medium of digital video...." and so forth.

But I bring it up because the opening commentary struck a chord -- oh boy, oh girl !... as when I recently came across a page I'd written in Post-Factory about silver gelatin toning, and made the mistake of re-reading it. What a pang. Other folks' labors of love for 150 years plus my own labors for practically that long, full of triumph & despair (except my own usually in reverse order, despair before triumph) and those gorgeous effects, some of which were stable/archival... plus now the knowledge that I can never "work like that again."

Maybe David Lynch could explain it...maybe because once I knew how to do it the thrill was gone ? Or digital/gum sings its own siren song? Or? (But before I forget, I mention that, though it was extremely sweet of Ryuji to explain about "thiocarbamide" being obsolete and the correct term now being "thiourea" & I appreciate his kind wish to save me embarrassment, I in fact knew that, indeed mentioned it on that very page -- but I happen to prefer "thiocarbamide," in the same way perhaps that gum printers seem to prefer "bichromate" to the presumably more uptodate "dichromate." I've wondered why in the latter case, perhaps because we like old terms, as we like old processes, but also because they're nicer to say?-- tho we'd need to consult a linguist on that and I seem to digress... Sorry.)

Of course "the process" itself is also important in gum printing & I don't expect to give gum up.... maybe because it cannot (I hope & trust & fear) ever be fully understood. Speaking of which: CHRIS: You have declared that vat-sized paper sinks ! Unh, unh ! Maybe in YOUR studio, but not in mine. In fact I don't think I EVER saw a gum print sink in the wash (my paper & my students' paper having been generally vat-sized).

That could mean that NY water is stronger than Montana water ? Or that the particular papers and or gelatins and/or hardeners we used had different effects? But it does suggest that my point about every variable being able to affect every other variable still holds -- heh heh heh... And it's certainly been my experience that vat sizing, when done right (P-F #9 distills my own experience on the topic), is easier & less trouble-prone.

Finally, speaking of sizing, I'm wondering if Alberto's friend who got the mold on her gum print had hardened her gelatin size... The conventional wisdom is that the hardening prevents mold (or so we were taught).



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