New idea - a Negative Exchange!

Discussion in 'Member Organized Functions' started by TheFlyingCamera, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I was reading a thread where someone was talking about a negative they had that they could never get the best out of, and it gave me the idea to do another variation on the Monthly Shooting Assignment/Print Exchange.

    The idea would be that each member of the group shoots as many copies of a single frame as there are participants (I don't really care how you produce it, whether you shoot one negative and then dupe it, or shoot the identical frames in-camera). Make one print for yourself, and put it aside. Mail a copy of the negative to each member of the group. When you get the negatives from the other members, make two prints of each one, as you see fit to crop, burn, dodge, tone, or otherwise tweak. Keep one copy for yourself and return the other copy to the sender, along with their negative. When it's all said and done, everyone in the group will have one copy of each person's image, and multiple copies of their own, done in the style of each other member.

    I'll see about getting a new gallery set up (and perhaps an account to post the scans so they don't come out of everyone's gallery quota).

    For basics, to keep this simple, I'm recommending several restraints on the process:

    A: everyone shoots the same format film (I'm thinking 2 1/4 square, as this is a very common format, but it could be 6x7, 6x4.5 or 35mm. We can discuss this and reach consensus before we start)
    B: all prints are made to the same paper size (I'm thinking 8x10, to limit the printing cost, shipping cost and scanning difficulties)
    C: we limit the number of participants (I'm thinking 12, which jives well with the 2 1/4 square format, and keeps the logistics and postal costs reasonable as well)
    D: everyone commits to turning these around in a reasonable time (shoot the negative and mail it out within three weeks of the start of the project, and make and mail your prints within three weeks of receipt to the other participants, so this isn't dragging on until next year)

    Anyone interested, please respond in this thread.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    Printing other people's negatives is a really great learning experience.

    Other people printing your own negatives can also be a great learning experience.

    Good idea! Wish I had time to work on other people's negs.
     
  3. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    Interesting concept and potentially very informative. The closest format I have is 6x12cm (RFH for 4x5 camera) but the negs could be cut smaller.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Bear in mind that this is entirely a voluntary exercise - anyone who isn't interested or can't work within the admittedly artificial constraints of the exercise is free to not participate.
     
  5. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    I don't think "fun" is the point though it surely will be for some folks. I think the point is to share ideas and learn from one another and see through others' eyes. We can all learn from seeing different versions of our images as tweaked through others' vision.
     
  6. 480sparky

    480sparky Member

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    Get out your crayons and color me IN.

    To me, that would be called 'fun'.

    I don't do photography just for the sake of learning itself. Learning IS fun, especially when you are not forced to.
     
  7. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Good idea!
     
  8. OP
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    TheFlyingCamera

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    And remember, while we do have some constraints applied (paper size, standard negative size), there are no other limits - you can tone, hand-color, burn, dodge, print on RC paper, print on fiber paper, print on hand-coated liquid emulsion on watercolor paper, hell, since it's a duplicate negative, you can scratch it a-la Joel-Peter Witkin or otherwise manipulate it (farmer's reducer, selenium tone, etc). It's your own artistic vision applied to source material. This is truly taking the Ansel Adams music metaphor to its logical conclusion - truly, the negative is the score and the print the performance. Musicians do this all the time - they take someone else's sheet music and interpret it.
     
  9. 480sparky

    480sparky Member

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    Format is no big issue for me. I can go up to 4x5 with no problems.
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    How would Cartier-Bresson get any of his work printed?
     
  11. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    Excellent analogy... and ya' gotta' love Adams.
     
  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    By employing printers (non photographers, technicians) that understand his concept of the image.
     
  13. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    About six months ago I considered suggesting a similar idea based on the single camera around the world idea; a negative gets passed around, and the person who created it gets several prints - various interpretations of their negative.
    I then found a thread and gallery where people did it a few years ago.

    I still think it would be interesting and fun. Unfortunately, I'm still not set up to print yet.
     
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  15. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    I remember that, and I do too.:cool:
     
  16. OptiKen

    OptiKen Member

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    I think it would be an incredible, personal learning experience for all who take part.
     
  17. OP
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    TheFlyingCamera

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    Well, let's get this ball rolling - I'll pledge to make an image. My suggestion is to cap the participants for this first go-round to 12 people total.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    And how does photographers become good printers?

    I know Sid Kaplan, for example, who printed some of Cartier-Bresson's work (among others). He visited a couple of my shows in Minneapolis. He is a most excellent photographer himself.
    One does not exclude the other.
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think we did something like this once, but it's been years. Maybe the format was that we had one neg and circulated it in groups of three or four and then sent each other the prints, or something like that. It was, as I recall, a worthwhile exercise, though the circulation aspect made it a bit slow to get very immediate feedback. The idea of printing enough negatives of the same scene for the whole group would be an improvement in that regard.
     
  20. 480sparky

    480sparky Member

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    Would scanning & digital printing be allowed / accepted?

    I would think those who don't have a darkroom would like to participate, even if the neg is digitized.
     
  21. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    I'd say offer both options but... this is APUG. Maybe a similar thread on LFPI?:wink:
     
  22. 480sparky

    480sparky Member

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    I'm in as well.
     
  23. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I agree that it doesn't, but one may not necessarily be proficient at both.
     
  24. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I want Thomas to print my negatives. I've got a box of several hundred ready to go and I can ship it today. Please use Gallery and Art 300. :D
    ...
    I think this sounds incredible, and even though it would be a lot of work, I know I would learn a huge amount from seeing other interpretations of one of my negatives. Not to mention the learning that would come from printing negatives from others. I am interested in this, but it would have to be at a time when I know I can devote effort and time probably in the Summer when I can take a few days off work. If this gets going, I will participate, but I'll have to watch my calendar carefully pick the right one to join... I can imagine wanting to print each negative as well as I can, and that could really eat up a lot of time, especially if I struggle with any of them ( I'm definitely still a beginning printer ).
     
  25. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I'm interested, though I think 12 people might be a bit much in a group. I'm not sure I could print 12 other peoples negatives with enough attention to detail in a short period of time. Maybe more groups of a smaller size?
     
  26. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I've participated in negative exchanges on another forum. It was a one to one exchange with little restriction on negative format or print size - It certainly stretched my abilities and gave me opportunity to try new techniques.

    like Larry, I think twelve is too much, and whilst 2¼ is fairly common, it isn't something I shoot much of - I think I'd also struggle to cut a single roll in to 12 separate negatives that could be handled easily. Perhaps six 6x6 negs, double spaced on a roll would provide a more generous chunk of film.
     
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