Open Photography Forums  
HOME FORUMS NEWS FAQ SEARCH

Go Back   Open Photography Forums > Photography Discussions > Film, Platinum, Polaroid & other Analog media

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old July 1st, 2014, 11:24 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Noosa, Queensland, Australia.
Posts: 382
Default Red Light District.


Making pictures out of light-sensitive materials requires a light controlled environment that is not often seen these days. Here is a typical work-space.

There is film in this digital picture. It's the 8x10 negative negative being exposed in contact with gelatin-silver photographic paper in a divided-back contact frame. An enlarger is being used as a light source and the bright card above the contact frame is being employed to "burn in" part of the image.

The Japanese characters on the far wall translate as Wabi Sabi: "Nothing is perfect. Nothing is finished. Nothing lasts forever." Those are fine concepts to retain while pursuing the art of photography.
__________________
"Photography or the application of the chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation...". Photography, the word, coined and first uttered by Sir John Herschel at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London; 14 March, 1839.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old July 2nd, 2014, 05:53 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,523
Default

Hi, Maris,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post

Making pictures out of light-sensitive materials requires a light controlled environment that is not often seen these days. Here is a typical work-space.

There is film in this digital picture. It's the 8x10 negative negative being exposed in contact with gelatin-silver photographic paper in a divided-back contact frame. An enlarger is being used as a light source and the bright card above the contact frame is being employed to "burn in" part of the image.

The Japanese characters on the far wall translate as Wabi Sabi: "Nothing is perfect. Nothing is finished. Nothing lasts forever." Those are fine concepts to retain while pursuing the art of photography.
What a wondrous image, and it so well captures in one view so much about the "darkroom" era of photography.

Visually, I am struck by the unrelenting red of the safelight environment, punctuated only by the white of the enlarger light upon the sheet used for dodging in the service of burning-in - whiteness that in effect cries out to say, "look here - this is what is really happening here".

I first learned about darkroom photography at the same time my father did, in the late 1940s, but I didn't participate much (my interest at the time was in "radio"). Carla actually did some darkroom work as part of a course in photography she took in a local community college.

And thanks for introducing me to wabi-sabi, of which I had previously been unaware. I commend to the members the Wikipedia article on same:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi

Perhaps every photographer needs to have that same placard in his workspace.
Thanks again for this lovely insight into such an important "process", and context.

Best regards,

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old July 2nd, 2014, 05:39 PM
Bill McCarthy Bill McCarthy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Maine and New Hampshire
Posts: 178
Default past joy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post

Making pictures out of light-sensitive materials requires a light controlled environment that is not often seen these days. Here is a typical work-space.

There is film in this digital picture. It's the 8x10 negative negative being exposed in contact with gelatin-silver photographic paper in a divided-back contact frame. An enlarger is being used as a light source and the bright card above the contact frame is being employed to "burn in" part of the image.

The Japanese characters on the far wall translate as Wabi Sabi: "Nothing is perfect. Nothing is finished. Nothing lasts forever." Those are fine concepts to retain while pursuing the art of photography.

Maris,
I can smell the fixer and it makes me feel so good. Thanks for making my evening!
Bill

Last edited by Bart_van_der_Wolf; July 3rd, 2014 at 04:16 AM. Reason: fixed a missing ']' in the [/quote] markup
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old July 3rd, 2014, 10:27 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,579
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
So much like my late father-in-laws darkroom! It's as if I've gone back in time. Now the local high school has it for their students!

My new darkroom I'm setting up has drums on rollers in a waterbath. No more trays, unfortunately. I have to fit in to a small space but I'll be able to process film and paper up to 16"x24".

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old September 18th, 2016, 12:53 PM
Michael Ritter Michael Ritter is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 93
Default

I have never been in a dark room and haven't shot film for 30 years. It all seems so long ago that we were getting films developed.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old September 18th, 2016, 03:11 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,579
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ritter View Post
I have never been in a dark room and haven't shot film for 30 years. It all seems so long ago that we were getting films developed.
But wasn't it a kind of priestly rite and an almost sacred experience!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old September 18th, 2016, 03:47 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Noosa, Queensland, Australia.
Posts: 382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ritter View Post
I have never been in a dark room and haven't shot film for 30 years. It all seems so long ago that we were getting films developed.
By coincidence I've just emerged from the darkroom illustrated after organising some negatives and photographic paper for a productive darkroom session later in the day.

I'm certain that photography was, is, and always will be, making pictures out of light-sensitive materials. All else, by one means or another, generates non-photographic pictures. Consider even the consequences of a deep edit of OPEN PHOTOGRAPHY FORUMS.COM in which the word "photograph" was in every case replaced by the word "picture". It would make scarcely any difference. The discourse conducted here doesn't (can't?) distinguish between photographs and pictures. Nevertheless the creative and entertaining "screen-lookers" that populate the face of my computer monitor everytime I visit this site remain wonderful whether they are electronic ghosts from cyberspace or derived from a physical picture.

But I'm still going to go into that darkroom and make photographs.
__________________
"Photography or the application of the chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation...". Photography, the word, coined and first uttered by Sir John Herschel at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London; 14 March, 1839.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old September 18th, 2016, 04:20 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,579
Default

Maris,

In each case, a photon has to kick out an energized electron to either reduce a silver atom to be precipitated or else to induce a voltage change in the sensel well.

So they are not the same, but at least cousins. Except the silver atoms that builds up marks in the emulsion are already real representations and do not need to be translated in software!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old September 19th, 2016, 07:30 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Noosa, Queensland, Australia.
Posts: 382
Default

Asher, you have got it right. There is a remarkable unity in nearly all realist picture-making processes and it happens at the front end. In every case (except one) a real optical image organised by a lens strikes a mega-pixel sensor which transduces the energy of the light into a signal stream which is then stored in a memory.

This first step has been in existence for many thousands of years with the result that humans can produce paintings and drawings. The human retina is, after all, a sensor carrying about 100 million light sensitive cells. After this first step humans can mentally recalculate image memories, stitch them, subtract them, edit them, rearrange them, and even insert fictional components. After all the mental gymnastics the final image memory is traditionally made visible by a human hand placing coloured spots on a surface in the correct arrangement. People used to go to art school to learn how to do this well.

It is one of the triumphs of digital technology that it can now mechanise this human based picture-making process. Every step in human-based picture-making: image acquisition, image processing, and image output is paralleled in a remarkably perfect way by modern digital methods. But the parallels go deeper than mere technology.

Paintings and drawings are, par excellence, media where personal vision, dexterity, creativity, and inventiveness can be brilliantly showcased. And the same opportunity is fully accessible in digital picture-making. I reckon it's no coincidence that most past art treasures are paintings or drawings. I'd bet most art treasures of the future will be digitally based.

So, with all these rich picture-making possibilities on hand why make pictures out of light-sensitive substances? I suggest such pictures fill the occasional need to convey credible information about subject matter. It's been centuries since astute viewers, unwilling to set aside disbelief, truly saw paintings or drawings as literal depictions. The same surely applies to pictures created in the virtual engines of digital technology.

When I make a picture out of light-sensitive substances using camera, lens, and film in the traditional way, and using the forces of chemistry and physics, a picture emerges that has a property I cannot subvert by any stratagem. Put as simply as possible: there is a one to one correspondence between places in the picture and places in the subject matter. This is inevitable as the picture is the physical trace of an impression of one thing upon another. None of this depends on me asserting the picture is "true" or you believing me.

It might be a grim world where all pictures had to be physically credible. Just about nothing in Open Photography or the Paris Louvre would be worth looking at. The alternative world of glib visual fictions, lots of bright colours, nice shapes, and clever eye-candy may become tediously shallow. Two things: both kinds of picture are needed; it's needful to tell one kind from another.
__________________
"Photography or the application of the chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation...". Photography, the word, coined and first uttered by Sir John Herschel at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London; 14 March, 1839.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old September 19th, 2016, 08:50 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,579
Default

Maris,

The relationship between photon arrival and silver deposition, for example, is not simply a 1:1 product since the chemistry set up can result in a multiplication of deposition when the grade/chemistry/speed/temperature/agitation of emulsion/paper is altered. So the marks are only approximate representations and are not necessarily "the truth" of what the lens saw, unless all these factors and more are documented, taken into account and fully understood.

Looking at the entire chain of production and consequences of iterative dynamic changes, the image is still just a sort of record, but really not always that accurate as imagined.

However, if we recorded and accounted for all the variations in exposure conditions, then the record could be deemed accurate for documentation.

Given these considerations, an ordinary analog picture and an ordinary digital image are both merely approximations of what the lens "saw".

With a digital system, accounting for flaws in the system is likely to be easier to accomplish than with an analog system since all data is already quantitized.

But for sheer beauty, all other parameters being equal, the analog system has an extra capability to provide nuance that a digital system lacks.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old September 20th, 2016, 07:54 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,523
Default

Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Maris,

The relationship between photon arrival and silver deposition, for example, is not simply a 1:1 product since the chemistry set up can result in a multiplication of deposition when the grade/chemistry/speed/temperature/agitation of emulsion/paper is altered. So the marks are only approximate representations and are not necessarily "the truth" of what the lens saw, unless all these factors and more are documented, taken into account and fully understood.

Looking at the entire chain of production and consequences of iterative dynamic changes, the image is still just a sort of record, but really not always that accurate as imagined.

However, if we recorded and accounted for all the variations in exposure conditions, then the record could be deemed accurate for documentation.
Very well said, and important to recognize.

But of course how much needs to be recorded, and the "how" documented, can be quite variable with our objective. We are regularly treated to examples of this by Klaus' wonderful work in extra-visual spectrums. And of course to be really "exhaustive" in capturing what "came to the lens from the scene", we wouild have to deal with a far wider bandwidth than even Klaus' techniques.

And then of course there is the matter of capturing the scene as a full three-dimensional reality, perhaps in part by capturing the complexity of the phase relationships of the arriving waves (as some specialized cameras do today).

None of this is to at all take away from your very apt comments, merely to enlarge upon them and illuminate their importance.

This matter, by the way, is one reason I get very uneasy when we read here essays on the matter of "altering" photographs and why, in some contexts, we should "not do it at all". Because if we "alter" the photograph, it no longer conveys the "whole truth" about the scene.

Best regards,

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old September 20th, 2016, 09:01 PM
Andy brown Andy brown is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,094
Default

Maris, I am in awe of you.
I love your passion and your eye and your technical prowess, I'm also slightly jealous of your equipment, the lovely cameras and lenses and your darkroom set up.

I missed out on a darkroom education, I am pleased however to be making images with some lovely new digital technology. I'm trying to extend my technical knowledge and to keep it as 'real' as possible.

I do wish I could make beautiful, classic, real photographs like you.
But for now I'll strive to make beautiful (or poignant or stark or artistic) images with what I've got at hand.

p.s, I'd love to see some of your latest work.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old September 21st, 2016, 06:51 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Noosa, Queensland, Australia.
Posts: 382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Maris,

The relationship between photon arrival and silver deposition, for example, is not simply a 1:1 product .....
Asher
Forgive the following convoluted disquisition. I got taught Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics and Claude Shannon's Information Theory in my youth and I'm a bit trapped in that way of thinking. Doug Kerr will know what I mean.

There are several relationships between photon arrival and silver deposition. There may be more silver deposited or less. The size of the silver grains may be small and result in a brownish image. The grains may be large and the image is bluish. But these observations do not at all touch on the fundamental promise carried by pictures made out of light-sensitive materials using traditional methods.

Here's unique line of thought. It answers the question in lens-based picture-making of why a picture of a tree (say) is not like a tree. The subject matter of such a picture is not the tree at all. The subject matter is actually the real optical image of the tree that floats in the back of the camera or eye. It is this real optical image that penetrates a retina, a megapixel sensor, or a light sensitive surface and leads ultimately to a picture coming into being. And what of the poor original tree? Well, it is subject matter but only for it's optical image not further. More generally, if picture-making is the result of a causally linked chain of events then each event is subject matter for the result that follows it. Is that too abstract?

A real optical image is an electromagnetic field that usually varies (sometimes beautifully) from point to point. If one immerses a light sensitive substance in the field then that field and the substance become physically co-mingled. They occupy the same place at the same time. Every single point in the field corresponds uniquely to a single point in the light-sensitive substance. Of course in practice one chooses light-sensitive substances that will firstly be changed by the field, and secondly the changes will remain after the field is removed. The resultant pattern of changes is a unique point by point map of the scalar values of the field during the time it inter-penetrated the light-sensitive substance.

The light-sensitive substance that starts off blank and ends up bearing the pattern of light-induced changes is the picture. Sometimes the changes are immediately visible and the picture may be removed from the camera and inspected directly. Sometimes the changes are made visible by a development process which reveals but does not reorganise the pattern.

The fundamental promise conveyed by pictures made out of light-sensitive substances is that there is a one to one correspondence and causal relationship between places in the picture and places in the real optical image. The correspondence, image pattern to picture pattern, is mandated by the laws of physics and chemistry and not by the whim of the picture-maker.

Making pictures out of light-sensitive substances is severely limiting. Only those things that exist and interact with light can be depicted. I personally like the authenticity and austerity of this approach. But many more things can be imagined than seen and the arts of painting, drawing or electronic image-making have much work to do.
__________________
"Photography or the application of the chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation...". Photography, the word, coined and first uttered by Sir John Herschel at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London; 14 March, 1839.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old September 21st, 2016, 07:04 PM
Maris Rusis Maris Rusis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Noosa, Queensland, Australia.
Posts: 382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy brown View Post
Maris, I am in awe of you....
Aw, shucks Andy thanks for the boost but I'm possibly the result of a mis-spent life. Doing photography every day in one form or another can't be natural. Maybe I'd have been better off going surfing and taking a camera along. I see what you do and I envy.
__________________
"Photography or the application of the chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation...". Photography, the word, coined and first uttered by Sir John Herschel at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London; 14 March, 1839.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
About incident light expsure metering Doug Kerr Imaging Technology: Theory, Alternatives, Practice and Advances. 2 July 3rd, 2011 06:45 PM
Color - spectral and chromaticity outlooks Doug Kerr CM Theory and Practice 1 September 19th, 2010 10:59 AM
"Incident" and "reflected" white balance measurements Doug Kerr Imaging Technology: Theory, Alternatives, Practice and Advances. 2 August 23rd, 2008 05:23 PM
Creating with Light KrisCarnmarker Studio, Portrait, Still Life, Lighting Equipment and Technique 2 March 31st, 2007 09:56 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:49 AM.


Posting images or text grants license to OPF, yet of such remain with its creator. Still, all assembled discussion 2006-2017 Asher Kelman (all rights reserved) Posts with new theme or unusual image might be moved/copied to a new thread!