A Tale of Two Prints

Digital Photography Sucks

Draw Your Own Conclusions

Enlarger Alignment Laser Module

Fine Art Photography

Knowing What You Want

Miss America and Ansel Adams

Painting versus Photography

Popularity is Overrated

Rare and There

The Art of Printing or Not

The Banality of Ink Jet Prints

Useless Idiot


A Tale of Two Prints – January 14, 2008

Just like I’ve been messing around shooting Polaroids to experiment and expand my vision, I’ve also been experimenting with different printing techniques in the darkroom. I’ve been trying all kinds of different things as I work on a series of close-ups of various body parts. In my mind I think I know what I want, but instead of just going with my initial instincts I’ve been forcing myself to make radically different prints of the same negative. I guess I’m trying to understand what is possible, as well as shock my system into seeing differently.

It’s been quite an interesting process and has certainly helped me to see that my first choice is not the only choice. It never ceases to amaze me how the same negative can produce infinitely different prints. To me at least fifty percent of B&W photography is interpreting the negative in the darkroom. The possibilities are endless and I can’t imagine leaving that control in the hands of another person.

With that said, below are rough prints from the same negative. In the first image, the negative was printed with significantly less contrast and about two stops darker than would have been the case with a fairly conventional interpretation of the negative. The print was then lightly selenium toned before being radically bleached.

The next print was printed in almost the exact opposite way, with the negative printed about two stops lighter than normal convention would dictate. In addition the contrast was increased by a full grade. The print was then heavily selenium toned before being lightly bleached.

I think both prints need some work and additional tweaking and both have some obvious issues and inconsistencies. But that’s not the point. I just wanted to see what could be done with this negative and to try and expand my boundaries. I think both prints have some merit and both go a long way in creating vastly different moods, all from one simple negative. I love the idea of endless possibilities.