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

Paul Viapiano viapiano at pacbell.net
Mon Oct 31 16:15:00 GMT 2011

Also, please don't forget that Mr Penn was working with in-camera and/or 
traditionally enlarged negatives, which can be notoriously difficult to get 
to behave, especially in the way that we are used to easily manipulating 
contrasts and such on diginegs. He may have felt the NEED to do multiple 
hits because of the stubborn, but innate way traditional negs produce tones. 
He had a vision inside his head and experimented endlessly to achieve it.

Penn also experimented with sizing on his papers, and there has been very 
little discussion about that anywhere. One of his assisitants once described 
the studio as looking like a laundry with so many sheets hanging, dripping 
and drying.

There are so many factors that enter into a good platinum print, the 
variables are endless. It's good to see the fantastic work being done by 
Salto and it's another element to look into for some people.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Francesco Fragomeni" <fdfragomeni at gmail.com>
To: "The alternative photographic processes mailing list" 
<alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2011 10:52 PM
Subject: [alt-photo] Re: Multi-Neg Printing Methods

> 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!!
> -Francesco
> 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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