paper negatives .. do you make them, what do you use them for and how?

Discussion in 'Paper Negatives' started by jnanian, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    paper negatives have been around since the discovery/invention of photography by
    some guy in england .. i think his name was talbot...
    back then he coated a sheet of paper with salted water, and silver nitrate and
    processed the image in gallic acid and a bunch of other fun stuff. we
    have it kind of ez compared to him ! seeing we can get a box of paper precoated
    from the store, through the mail or coated oneself and it processes in anything from
    coffee to fancy stuff like dektol or ansco130 ( or not developed in anything at all ).
    while this can be a free for all using electronics
    to enlarge so one doesn't need to contact print a 35mm format paper negatives, its possible to do just that
    put a small piece of paper inthe back of a 35mm camera and expose it, process it and you get
    all that fun ( washi paper/film sells this sort of fun ).

    anyhow
    do youshoot paper negatives?
    why?
    what do you process them in?
    what do you do with them after they are processed ?
    if it has to do with hybrid you can just say you do something magical with them or say Hzone ...
    ... hopefully people won't wig-out too much ...

    i'd put this in the H-zone but i know there are a lot of non Hzone people that have something to
    do with making paper negatives ...
     
  2. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I like all kinds of paper negatives. :smile:

    One kind I haven't tried yet is homemade silver gelatin emulsion or liquid light. Someday I'll probably try that, but the really old fashioned kind -- from the time before silver gelatin -- keeps me busy enough for now.
     
  3. ozmoose

    ozmoose Member

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    I did, back in the days when Ilford and other manufacturers made single weight papers. My Go To camera for this was a 5x7 Graflex which I recall was known as the Home Portrait model and a bulky Grafmatic which kept jamming and had to be stuffed into a huge black film loading bag and dismantled to clear the log jam.The camera was so big that I carried a small wood picnic table in my car to use as a tripo. The entire process all but drove me insane and after a year I gave it away. I still have paper negatives I shot circa 1980 which are mostly landscapes (trees don't tend to get up and walk away) and a small number of static family members posing either in their gardens or on their front porches. I also photographed everyone's cars and I now prize these original negs as my uncles were all fond of Packards, Hudsons, DeSotos and such exotic marques. One even had a Marmon. All these images are now rather quaint and all the more so from being shot on large paper and not smaller film, 4x5 sheet film even back then was expensive.

    My shooting and darkroom data notebooks for that era no long exist so I have to rely on my far from reliable memory for the technicals. I recall my outdoor exposures wee very long as I had worked out that a K2 (light yellow) filter on the lens somewhat reduced the rather harsh contrast of Ilford Bromide or one of the no longer made Kodak papers - I had a large stock of old Bromesko from the '40s which I found worked better in the Graflex than under the enlarger due to fogging, which also helped to reduce the overall image contrast. My usual sunny day xposureswere about ten seconds.

    Contact printing with the enlarger took forever, one minute exposures at f/8 or f/11 were not uncommon. After testing I figured out a 15 watt light globe (or light bulb, if you prefer) at about 15 inches from the home made glass easel I used, cut down my printing times to about 20 seconds. Either way the contrast of the finished prints was very high and moving the lamp to and fro did very little to change this it only increased or reduced the exposure times. My printing workflow was to put two sheets of printing paper face to face under the glass. The final images were of course reversed which then required yet another print, which I dind't bother with (my mother and grandmother ddn't greatly care for the "back to fronts" as they called them). Now I would just scan them and in fact I plan to in the near future, when I find the originals in my badly organised film/paper archives.

    I used Kodak Dektol at a higher dilution than the standard 1+2 used for enlarging papers. A further minus in the process was having to stand in front of the developer tray for up to ten minutes while the image came up. Less concentrated developer dilutions only increased the overall contrast towards the chalk and soot levels. Other developers most likely would have worked better (Kodak Selectol and Selektol Soft come to mind) but I was young and impatient in those days (circa 1970) and I eventually gave up on the entire process. The Graflex was eventually sold off (I paid C$10 for it and it went to a collector for C$75), which I now rather regret it and the very nice 1920s polished wood table I used as a tripod would now be prized home decor items.

    All somewhat vague and perhaps not the data you are after, sadly my detailed photo notes in several notebooks were a casualty of my move across the Pacific to Australia in the '70s. Several cartons of my possessions disappeared and while the insurance somewhat compensated me for the loss, the money is not the same as having the items.

    The current lot of 'middle' weight enlarging papers are rather too thick for easy contact printing and would most likely introduce 'artefacts' (grain-like patterns) in the final print, which may please some but would not be to my liking.

    My camera collection includes an almost as new Zeiss Nettar 6x9 folding camera with an excellent Novar 105mm f/4.5 and at one time a friend was keen to shoot with Multigrade enlarging paper and wanted to borrow it for an exhibition project. My comment was that the endless paper loading and unloading process would soon blunt his 'keenness' and he told me he intended to persevere, but has not followed up on this plan to date.

    From the number of similar threads on this topic on APUG/Photrio it seems a fair few are interested in this process and another revival may be in the works. My advice to anyone who is keen to shoot on paper would be to use film holders and avoid the old Grafmatic 12 sheet film packs.
     
  4. OP
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    jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    ozmoose

    quite the contrary !!
    your process and post is exactly what i was hoping ( nedL's too ) to get :smile:

    my go to camera for paper negatives is either a big 8x10 or 11x14 but it/they are
    so hard to drag around except for something special ( read i HAVE to get out of the house )
    or better yet falling plate cameras, a pair of cyclone cameras ( a #3 and a #5 ).
    i have a stash of old expired paper and expired bottled liquid emulsion and i put 8 4x5 sheets in the #3 and 12 in the #5
    so much easier to lug around big box cameras than something gigantic that i need a tripod set up and a dark cloth doing LF
    with something big, the only thing missing for the spectacle of setting it up is a mini that is stopped and 15 clowns all get out...
    i usually expose for about a 10 or 15 count depending no filter ( fogged paper takes the place of a filter ) i use dektol about 1"2 and caffenol with a splash of dektol in it
    i start off in the dektol and slide it into the caffenol when it starts to appear and back/forth. this works with used dektol and fresh dektol, and used ansco 130 and fresh as well
    it seems used developer likes midtones fresh likes contrast so it is a match made in heaven :smile:
    i'll use the electronic thing to flip the image, but i will also just put it on some photo paper in an enlarger without a lens. there was a guy active here
    a bunch of years ago named david william white who was interviewed by i think the film photography podcast and he mentioned doing that. it works perfectly !
    AND if you need to boost contrast or reduce it you can use a enlarger filter too ...
    while some people have a hard time dealing with paper negatives i think they are more fun than film negatives.
    and every time i think i know what i am doing, i learn something new to prove to myself what a beginner i am ..
    sorry to hear of the loss of your "stuff"
    what a drag ...

    john
     
  5. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I did it a few times with paper cut down to 6x6 and taped to 120 backing paper.

    Exposure was 15-30 seconds and I got a neat little negative. I loaded about 8 shots onto some backing paper and took my time. I did find that the Ilford RC paper I was using did not hold a latent image very well. The ones that were a few months old barely showed up. I did scan a few of the good ones.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These were loaded into a Lubitel 2 and developed in Ilford Multigrade. I like the results. If I ever got hold of a LF camera I would use paper as a starting point before spending the money on film.
     
  6. ciniframe

    ciniframe Member

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    Yes, I shoot paper negatives.
    Why?
    Two main reasons.
    #1 They are cheap in 4X5 and 5X7. (Compared to film.)
    #2 They can be loaded and processed under safelight, Pan film cannot.
    Other reasons.
    At ISO 6~12 I can shoot pinhole exposures and time them fairly accurately. No .6 sec. or 1.2 sec. etc. exposures ISO 100 film could demand.
    They are also good for dead formats film is no longer available for. (Or available but very-very expensive.)
    They can provide quick feedback about coverage and focus of oddball lens choices.
    The range of equipment and chemicals for processing them can be improvised, but, even purchased new can be had for a couple of century notes, depending on the size format you wish to use.
     
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Yes, I make them.They are great as large-formatcontact negatives made in LF pinto;e cameras.very unique and artistic look.
     
  8. OP
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    jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have thought of doing this but i worry the extra thickness from the paper will make too much stress
    for the winding mechanism ... i've respooled my own 122 size spools but not with the paper ( i have some )
    just seems like it would be hard to wind ( even by hand ) ...

    do you do all 12 exposures like this ? or just a few ?

    thnx for the posts so far !
     
  9. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I only ended up with about 8 on the roll. Putting it through a Lubitel I wasn't too concerned. It was slightly harder to wind on but nothing too rough. I would recomend shooting and developing ASAP though as the latent image does not seem to hold very long.
     
  10. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    My reasons for paper negatives: low cost, easy handling under safe lights, less issues with dust, less issues with scratches. And fun, much fun.
     
  11. blindpig

    blindpig Member

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    I use paper negatives because they give an"old timey" look to the prints and seem very rich and smooth (know the smooth statement probably not correct photo statement) but I have a portrait of my wife which seems"smooth" as the tones move from dark to light(can't think of a better term).Also I shoot 4X5 and enlarge them to 8X10 or 11X14 in my reflective enlarger. In my tiny dark room 16X20 is probably as big as I'll ever go..I credit the folk that inhabited F295 and in camera paper negatives for rekindling my interest after about 10 years of only taking family snapshots,many thanks to them.
    Don