U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Family snaps to gum bichromate

Re: Family snaps to gum bichromate

Hi Don,
One thought that occurs to me is that I've heard that most consumer photo labs do their printing digitally now, so if you had 4x6 prints made, what you'd be scanning would be a digital print rather than a photo print. I used to scan and enlarge 4x6 prints, as you are proposing in option #2, with good results, but that was in the days when photo labs used a photo process to produce their prints. My experience scanning digital prints is that they don't tend to scan well, but then that's been more than 10 years ago so maybe you should check out current wisdom on this, or have one print made first and try scanning it, before doing a lot. I don't know how the price compares; I'd guess you'd be paying considerably more to scan negatives. If not, or if money is no object, I'd say scan the negatives.

It might be fun to experiment with making color separations using a slide copier and filters, but if you're not already skilled at tricolor gum printing, and if tricolor gum prints are your object, I wonder if it makes sense to add another layer of complexity to the process of getting there.

My understanding is that current wisdom says that 360 is the optimal file resolution for producing digital negatives for any process, not just gum. If that collective wisdom has changed, I trust someone will set me straight.

On Apr 12, 2007, at 4:03 PM, Don Sweet wrote:

I would be grateful for guidance on this topic (details of which are covered in the archives I know).

Among my 30+ years of family snaps are some that I see as potential 3-colour gum pictures, about A4 size or maybe slightly bigger. Many of the surviving 6 x 4 prints are tatty and faded (and some have been re-worked in what appears to be an expressionist manner with felt pens, scissors, etc). Most of the 35mm negatives are pretty good.

Would anyone in the group like to recommend whether I should produce the necessary negatives:

1. Taking the best negatives to be scanned by a photo processor - I have been quoted a resolution of 1200 dpi - and use Photoshop to make colour separations, or

2. Get some more 6 x 4 prints made by a photo processor and scan them myself at something like 400 dpi, and then use Photoshop, or

3. Make colour separations myself on document film using a slide copier and filters, and enlarge them on to lith film.


Don Sweet