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

Re: dig negs (Burkholder)

On Oct 5, 2006, at 8:05 AM, Katharine Thayer wrote:

On Oct 4, 2006, at 8:08 PM, Ender100@aol.com wrote:

Hi Katherine,

I just wanted to clarify one statement you made—i know you like accuracy in statements on the list.

The price of the PDN eBook, software and calibration palettes that come on the CD is $75 not $100+.

As I said before , when people ask, I recommend they get both Dan's Book and mine (PDN).

Mark, my comment referred directly to the recommmendation that people buy both systems, which I said was a fair recommendation and would give people a complete picture, but that not everyone can afford to do. I wasn't saying that your system by itself cost $100 +. I was saying that both systems together would cost $100+. I would have thought that would have been clear.
I think maybe people are reading something into my comments that isn't there, which happens so often that it shouldn't surprise me but always does.

I'm not pitting the two systems against each other and advocating for one over the other. Each to his own, has been my mantra as long as I've been on this list, and this is no different. Whatever works for someone is what they should use. Anyone who has read my remarks to mean anything otherwise has simply misunderstood me.

As I said, and repeated above, I agree that getting both systems is probably best, if you can afford it. I have nothing against Mark and wouldn't want to be perceived as being against Mark and his system. I'm not, at all. I'm simply against overstated claims, which should have been obvious when I also objected to Dan's showing original images instead of final prints as proof of the success of his system (although I guess it's never been cleared up whether those were original images or final prints; there's still some confusion about that, at least in my mind). I should also make clear that I'm not accusing Mark of overstating the merits of his system; as far as I know he's never done that.

As I said in the post under scrutiny here, which I copy in its entirety below for reference, I used Dan's system way back when I needed it to get decent negatives from a laser printer, but I haven't used it, or any system, since Epson introduced photo-quality inkjet printers in the late 90s. So to read that post as an argument for one system over the other makes no sense at all. It was simply intended to reassure people of limited means that in printing gum, one can get along fine without either system.

On Oct 3, 2006, at 3:15 AM, Loris Medici wrote:

Just for the record: My results were pretty consistent, reliable and
beatiful before reading Mark's book also. I mean you can get quite
consistent, reliable and beatiful results without PDN too - I don't quite
understand why PDN is presented as an absolute must for this purpose?

I couldn't agree more.

To me, the test of a product or new method is the prints that result. If the hyperbole surrounding PDN had merit, one would expect the PDN system to be producing gum prints that are vastly superior to anything that's been made before, but so far they just look like gum prints to me-- not better, not worse, than other gum prints that have been made. The gum prints, present and past, that I consider extraordinary in terms of the quality of the printing, tonal scale and so forth, have been made from a variety of negative types, from imagesetter negatives to continuous tone, and there's nothing about PDN that's suddenly blowing everything else out of the water as far as I can see.

I agree with Mark; about getting/reading both books to learn as much as

I have nothing against this recommendation on principle; it's fair and if you've got both, you'll have more of a complete picture. On the other hand, it may come as a surprise to some, but there are actually people in the world to whom $100+ is a whole heck of a lot of money, maybe even some people on this list who aspire to gum printing. So I'd like to offer another point of view to reassure those people: if you can't or would rather not spend that kind of money, you can make perfectly acceptable gum prints without either system, and save your money for gum and paper.

As I said the other day, I used Dan's system in the days before photo- quality inkjet printers, because it was the only way to get a decent negative out of a low-resolution laser printer. But since I got my first Epson Photo Stylus printer, I've simply inverted the file and printed the negative as is. (And if I ever decide I need to tweak a curve, that's what the Photoshop Adjust Curves feature is for).

For example, a couple of demonstration prints on my site that I made for another purpose, but are typical of tricolor prints made from inkjet separations printed straight from the inverted color file without added adjustments:

(top of page)

I keep forgetting to scan or take slides of work before I deliver it, so I don't have recent exhibition prints to show, and the earlier prints made from inkjet negatives that are on my site were mostly made during a period (2001-2004) when my project was to print high- key images with very subtle tonal gradations within a short range (in other words, very pale very subtle images) so they look very different from the saturated, more contrasty demonstration prints I've just showed. But it might be worth looking at one of those in comparison, to consider that there's absolutely nothing different in the negatives, or in the files, between these two kinds of prints; both examples were printed directly from scanned and inverted color images that were not altered in any way. The difference is entirely in the printing, in the choice of pigments and pigment concentrations, but also in the choice of exposure and development times, in order to achieve the very pale, delicate and subtle results in one case, and the more saturated and contrasty results in the other case.


(Both of these jpegs match exactly the original prints, at least on my monitor; whether you see what I see is of course not guaranteed).