[alt-photo] Re: Multi-Neg Printing Methods

Francesco Fragomeni fdfragomeni at gmail.com
Sun Oct 30 05:52:11 GMT 2011

I'm gaining some insight into this regarding how both Penn and Salta made
their negatives. I may have found what was confusing me. I'll have to
consider it a bit more before I know. Thanks to all for the help!!


On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 4:31 PM, Francesco Fragomeni
<fdfragomeni at gmail.com>wrote:

> Etienne,
> Thank you for the information! My primary concern is exactly what you
> describe in your response on exposure. I understand that the "shadow neg"
> will be blocked up in the mids and highlights effectively producing little
> exposure in the midtones and highlights in the print. Likewise, the
> highlights values will be blocked up in the "midtone neg" preventing most
> exposure to the highlight areas of the print. My concern is that the areas
> in the "midtone neg" and the "highlight neg" of lesser density will cause
> an overprinting over what has already been printed in the lower print tones
> by the previous negative printings. Is this just a non-issue for some
> reason that I'm not seeing or is any increase in density in the mid
> and lower print tones simply something that needs to be worked out and
> compensated for through test strips? I'm just not seeing how the mid and
> low print values can be maintained after the "midtone neg" and "highlight
> neg" are printed. Do you follow my question?
> Julian,
> What I'm after is what Etienne described above. The goal isnt to create
> tones that are outside of the printing process's exposure scale but to have
> selective contrast control effectively expanding the density range of the
> negative which will help to match the exposure scale of the process. Its
> about selective control. Also, what we call HDR has nothing to do with the
> results I am after. I've seen prints made from HDR files turned into digi
> negs and it just looks like HDR printed in platinum. Thats not what we're
> after here. These are two different workflows that yield different results.
> As a follow up, I spoke with a friend earlier who has had work printed by
> Salto Ulbeek in Belgium. According to him, Salto uses 5 negatives produced
> on an imagesetter from a scan. The paper is coated (most likely multiple
> coatings) and then two negs are printed together in register followed by
> two more in register followed by the last neg. Exposure times are worked
> out for each phase of the printing. Thats about all I was told but it was
> confirmed that he does not glue the paper to aluminum and coat in between
> exposures like Penn did. I wish I could watch Salto print for just one day
> to clarify the points I'm missing.
> Thanks to all for your contributions so far! Keep 'em coming! :)
> -Francesco
> On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM, Julian Smart <juliansmart at virginmedia.com
> > wrote:
>> I seriously doubt that you could possibly produce more tones from
>> seperation negs than are in the original shot. Like Tomas says, HDR would
>> probably be the way to go, but doesn't platinum yield a huge tonal range
>> anyway??
>> Julian.
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Francesco Fragomeni" <
>> fdfragomeni at gmail.com>
>> To: "The alternative photographic processes mailing list" <
>> alt-photo-process-list at lists.**altphotolist.org<alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>
>> >
>> Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2011 8:59 PM
>> Subject: [alt-photo] Re: Multi-Neg Printing Methods
>> Denny and Tomas,
>>> Thanks for your replies. I've seen the article and threads linked to from
>>> DPUG.org and while it offers some interesting information, it doesn't
>>> cover
>>> exactly what I'm interested in. While multi-neg printing and HDR share
>>> similar concepts they yield very different results. I don't think anyone
>>> who
>>> has seen Penn's platinum prints would ever say that they look like HDR
>>> and I
>>> don't know anyone bold enough to compare any HDR work to Penn's prints. I
>>> certainly think HDR has its place but the results that it yields are not
>>> what I'm looking for. I'm particularly interested in learning exactly how
>>> multiple negatives can be printed when using separate negatives to print
>>> highlight, midtones, and shadows. Consolidating them into one negative is
>>> definitely an option but my question is specific to using multiple
>>> negatives
>>> printed in register. What I'm not understanding is how exposure is
>>> determined and how to keep subsequent layers from overprinting the
>>> previous
>>> layers. I'm just not understanding how to this is done with multiple
>>> negs.
>>> I'm going to place a call to a friend who has had work done by Salto to
>>> see
>>> if he can offer any insight. Anyone else have any insight into this
>>> method
>>> of printing?
>>> Tomas,
>>> Its a pleasure to meet you here and thanks for the conversation on the
>>> Cuban
>>> street photographers. Since our convo I've found various accounts of such
>>> photographers all around the world. Very fascinating!
>>> -Francesco
>>> On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM, Tomas Sobota <tom at sobota.net> wrote:
>>> Hi Francesco
>>>> Nice to meet you here. If you remember, we had some interchange about
>>>> that Cuban street photographer on your website, some months ago.
>>>> I was about to answer some of your questions when I read the post
>>>> pointed to by Denny, with which I mostly agree, so it saved me a lot
>>>> of writing :-)
>>>> In short: with a fully digital workflow you probably don't need
>>>> several negatives. You can apply a HDR processing to your original
>>>> image to maximize the range of information, and then you adjust your
>>>> negative to your process using one of the well-known techniques, such
>>>> as Burkholder, Mark Nelson's PDN, QTR and so on. One exposure under
>>>> this negative should be enough, but if you want extra contrast you can
>>>> always recoat and expose again under the same neg.
>>>> I'm naturally speaking of monochrome work. With color you will usually
>>>> need separation negs for three or four color work, but that is another
>>>> history and not every process can be used for color work. Pt/Pd
>>>> certainly not.
>>>> Also, as a special case, gum dichromate will usually require two or
>>>> more coats/exposures to get a reasonable color density, even in
>>>> monochrome. But then the usual procedure is to use the same negative.
>>>> Varying pigment density, time of exposure and dichromate concentration
>>>> you can control in which zones the pigment will be deposited.
>>>> About your worry on overprinting. Well, at least with gum, the coats
>>>> are transparent to a certain degree, which varies with coat strength
>>>> and the pigment used. So, a new coat never covers fully all of the
>>>> previous ones. That is actually the reason why you can get an ample
>>>> range of colours using only the three substractive primaries.
>>>> The same would happen with the mixed processes: gum on cyanotype and
>>>> so on. Some degree of transparency is required in the uppermost coats.
>>>> Tom
>>>> On 10/29/11, Denny <dspector at charter.net> wrote:
>>>> > Francesco,
>>>> > You might find this useful, or at least interesting:
>>>> >
>>>> http://www.dpug.org/forums/f8/**learning-master-platinum-**
>>>> printer-irving-penn-2<http://www.dpug.org/forums/f8/learning-master-platinum-printer-irving-penn-2>
>>>> > 047/
>>>> >
>>>> > Denny
>>>> >
>>>> > -----Original Message-----
>>>> > From: alt-photo-process-list-**bounces at lists.altphotolist.org<alt-photo-process-list-bounces at lists.altphotolist.org>
>>>> > [mailto:alt-photo-process-**list-bounces at lists.**altphotolist.org<alt-photo-process-list-bounces at lists.altphotolist.org>]
>>>> On > Behalf
>>>> Of
>>>> > Francesco Fragomeni
>>>> > Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 9:14 PM
>>>> > To: The alternative photographic processes mailing list
>>>> > Subject: [alt-photo] Multi-Neg Printing Methods
>>>> >
>>>> > Hi all,
>>>> >
>>>> > I'm doing a bit more research into multiple negative printing. I've >
>>>> been
>>>> > printing from multiple negatives for a long time using a technique
>>>> that
>>>> just
>>>> > kind of developed on its own for me after doing lots of research and
>>>> > emulating techniques that I knew would bring some element that I was
>>>> after
>>>> > to my work. I'm trying to expand upon this and I'm hoping that some of
>>>> you
>>>> > might be able to offer some insight as you have in the past.
>>>> >
>>>> > I've been looking quite intently into some of the techniques used by
>>>> Irving
>>>> > Penn and recently its been recommended that I look into the printing
>>>> of
>>>> > Salto in Belgium. The key element that I'm interest in is the use of
>>>> > multiple negatives for printing highlight, mid-tones, and shadows.
>>>> Penn
>>>> made
>>>> > multiple negatives in the darkroom and printed them in register and
>>>> was
>>>> able
>>>> > to achieve his unbelievable platinum prints (he took some of his
>>>> techniques
>>>> > to the grave with him as well). I have not had the opportunity to see
>>>> > any
>>>> of
>>>> > Salto's prints in person but according to some mutual friends he
>>>> scans > an
>>>> > original negative and uses an imagesetter to produce 5 negatives for
>>>> > printing highlight, mids, and shadows. From what I've been told, his
>>>> > platinum prints are wonderful. My issue is that I haven't yet been
>>>> able
>>>> to
>>>> > wrap my head around how this type of printing actually takes place. >
>>>> I've
>>>> > used registration printing in my work for some time but I haven't done
>>>> much
>>>> > with printing multiple negs in order to print in highlight, midtones,
>>>> > and
>>>> > shadows separate from one another. Im hoping that someone can offer
>>>> insight
>>>> > into the process. How are the negatives actually printed together in
>>>> these
>>>> > cases? Logically, one is printed and then replaced by the next in
>>>> register
>>>> > which is replaced by the next in register and so on. My question then
>>>> > becomes, how is exposure determined for each negative? I'm having a >
>>>> hard
>>>> > time understanding how the multiple printings will work without
>>>> overprinting
>>>> > what was produced by the previous negative printing. If someone could
>>>> shed
>>>> > some light on this I would really appreciate it. I feel like there is
>>>> > something very simple that I'm overlooking which will bring it all
>>>> into
>>>> > view.
>>>> >
>>>> > Thank you in advance!
>>>> >
>>>> > -Francesco
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