One in the head, one in the heart

A scanned negative is a great raw material for digital editing. It already has that organic texture that tells it apart from the clean, crisp and smooth digital files. And no, I’m not saying that film is better than digital, I’m saying it is different.

Usually when I’m happy with the editing I will save that file for printing on the magazine but also for a personal inkjet print on a nice paper. I keep one print for myself and send the other to the person in question.

From the first scan to the final image, digital editing allows me total control over my images, adjustment wise.

Untitled-1

Being able to use a darkroom again made me skip the inkjet prints and to make some silver prints and over the last few months I’ve come to a conclusion. When comparing an inkjet print made from a scanned and digitally edited negative, to a silver print, I’ll have to say that the first is hard to beat.

Being able to digitally edit an image with a tool like Photoshop opens up a world of visual adjustments and aesthetic possibilities. A good inkjet print is truthful to what I see on screen and it makes justice to both my efforts in photography and image editing.

Making a print in the darkroom is a totally different mind set. When I’m printing I can’t keep on thinking that if I was using Photoshop I could to this or that. I have to deal with my (limited) skills and the possibilities of that specific medium. That’s the challenge, that’s the joy.

If digital editing and inkjet printing, satisfies the “professional me”, darkroom work satisfies the “emotional me”.

When it comes to photography I don’t mind taking one the head and one in heart.

First exposure test. Not a brilliant time guessing but good enough to make a decent print.

First exposure test. Not a brilliant time guessing but good enough to make a decent print.

 

 

A decent print. The scan dos not make it justice.

A decent print. The scan dos not make it justice.

 

A bad mask example. Something I would do in Photoshop in a heart beat. Total fail on the darkroom.

A bad mask example. Something I would do in Photoshop in a heart beat. Total fail in the darkroom.

 

04

Testing...

Testing…

 

More testing...

More testing…

 

A print.

A print.

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6 comments
  1. dehk said:

    I’ll say it 😉 film can be better than digital.

  2. Son of Sharecroppers said:

    I like both of these images–and talk about challenging lighting!

    Dodging and burning are fun, and the techniques can certainly save prints. (Just get out your Ouija board and ask Ansel Adams!) But it would be very difficult to get that upper image right. You could cut out a mask just a little smaller than the subject’s outline, but you’re going to end up with some sort of halo.

    I like traditional darkroom work, but it’s far easier to get it right in Photoshop. And, at the end of the day, what counts is achieving one’s artistic vision. Darkroom or digital: those are just tools to achieving that goal, and we should not become wedded to tools at the expense of vision.

    • “… we should not become wedded to tools at the expense of vision”.
      Agree 100% my friend. Well said!

  3. A ver se um dia destes combinamos um café para eu ver as tuas fotos na vida real!

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