U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Paper negative

Re: Paper negative

I just found a jpeg on my server that might be somewhat useful. It used to be part of my page on negatives but I don't have that page up on the site right now so I just wrote a little page just for this. It shows a paper negative I used as a test negative for years for all kinds of things, with a gum print made from it. It's very small; the negative and the print are actual size, but the cilia on the leaves, for example, printed as individual cilia; they weren't lost in printing from a paper negative. I offer that for whatever it's worth to help picture what's possible and not possible from a paper negative. I will, though, try to post a sidexside sometime soon.



On Dec 3, 2007, at 5:24 PM, Katharine Thayer wrote:

I had this plan that I was going to print side by side (in gum) the same test image from a paper negative vs a film negative so that you could judge for yourself, but I've run into some problems with that. First, I realized I was out of the paper I use for digital paper negatives (Epson Photo-Quality Inkjet Paper), so I needed to wait til I could go buy some more. Then when I went to buy some more, the store where I used to get it doesn't carry it any more, so I got something else, HP Color Inkjet Paper, that I'm not sure will be an acceptable substitute. So I'll have to do some experimenting first.

In the meantime, the main issues are:
(1) sharpness: paper negatives will tend to be somewhat softer than film negatives, as you thought.
(2) tonality: paper negatives will tend to have less contrast than film negatives, everything else being constant.
(3) texture: many papers have a sort of swirly internal texture that can print. This can be pleasing, or awful, depending on the image and your sensibilities.
(4) compatibility with oil/wax treatment: many coated or glossy inkjet papers IME don't mix well with either oil or wax; some of them seemed fine for a day or so after treating but then the surface went all crackly. So I'd avoid any heavily coated or glossy paper, although a light coating like on the photo-quality inkjet paper works just fine.
(5) treatment to make the paper more translucent: I've tried all kinds of treatments but long ago settled on mineral oil as my favorite treatment for negatives. It soaks in nicely and makes a very transparent negative, dries to a nice finish, maintains its tonality over years, doesn't go rancid (as some vegetable oil I tried once did) and it makes my hands feel soft after I've used it, too.

More later,


To answer
On Dec 2, 2007, at 4:29 AM, Jacek wrote:

Other than the transparency route of producing negatives for alt processes, what are the pros and cons of the Paper negative route? I always thought a paper negative wouldnt give all the detail a transparency negative would give?