Photomontage techniques

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Hi folks!

I'm sure some of You good people could help me out a bit. Lately I was trying to deal with photomontage with more than unsatisfactory results. For a start, I've tried to combine a character with pretty flat (but still with a touch of material structure) background. I have to admitt that both negatives were not prepared for montage, so i guess this is where some of my difficulties came from, but still, i know its doable with almost any image either it's prepared or not. I was looking for some detailed tutorials on the process but couldn't find anything suitable. Can You guys suggest some books/pdfs/articles or whatever can make my frustration on the subject less.. killing ?

In advance, thanks for all Your answers,
Mateusz

Ps. I've noticed its my first post although i'm here for quite some time now. Anyway, i just want to say hello to all of You :wink:
 

cliveh

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Hi morethansilver and welcome to APUG. It sounds like the technique you are trying to do is combination printing. I don't know how experienced you are with darkroom printing, but that can be quite difficult to do, often involving the use of more than one enlarger and masking techniques. You may find it easier to start with sandwich printing, where you combine two or more negatives together in the same enlarger. This can work well where one of them is a silhouette. There are plenty of books describing this and combination printing techniques. Try the Darkroom Handbook by Michael Langford. Good luck.
 

Bob Carnie

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Are you wanting to montage using an enlarger the old fashioned way?
If so post the two images and I can give you some help.
 

Bill Burk

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The book that's been out on my desk recently contains excellent explanations of combination printing, including specific tips such as

After making the exposure of one part of the montage, pencil a few dots lightly just inside the outline of the already exposed parts (not the unexposed side otherwise you'll make white spots), then you can refer to the dots for positioning the second exposure, and rub the pencil off in developer with your fingers....

Use an ordinary "orange" camera filter on the enlarger, not because it's safe, but because it's brighter than the red filter, and if you work quickly, it's "safe enough" while you position your paper for the second exposure....

Lootens on Photographic Enlarging and Print Quality, by J. Ghislain Lootens F.P.S.A., F.R.P.S. 1944
 
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Thanks for Your answers!

Well it seems combination printing is indeed what i'm trying to make use of. I'm not familiar in all those names though..:redface: I have one enlarger, three negatives, i want to mix them into one print. Thats the idea. To make it all clear - lets say i have an image of a person standing (gray background) and a landscape. I want to put the person into the landscape. I cannot apply sandwich here because of misproportion. Perspective is ok though. The problem was that i could not mask it all so precise to avoid halo around the person. Third neg contains sky elements and i can handle with this one with sandwitch so no problem here.

As to my printing experience, i'm not the master, but i'm not a newbie too :wink: I'm printing for something like 6 years now, but never ever tried nothing so complicated. Im afraid the biggest challenge here is the moment of switching negs. I have only one carrier :D I dont really need another enlarger so i'm trying to work it out with what i got only.

What i'm looking for are some tips and tricks, ideas that will make it all work. Something like Bill Burk ( thanks!) suggested :smile:
 

MSchuler

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Tim Rudman's book The Photographer's Master Printing Course has some guidance on combination printing also.
 

MartinP

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You could combi-print the background and sky, then print the figure separately and trim it out of the paper, collage it together (thin the edges a lot + use thin paper anyway) and re-photograph. You will have to experiment with contrast as it will bump up a little. Admittedly I last did this more than twenty years ago (and I used a huge copy-camera at work), but it can succeed, guaranteed. The different lighting for the figure and the background will be a thing to watch too.
 

Bill Burk

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You could also cut and paste and then rephotograph the composite print... Lootens also describes how to do that.
 
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Martin, thanks! Good idea. Figure is in contr-light so this could work pretty good in fact. But still, i'd prefer to do this fully under enlarger even if it's harder. I have to know ! :tongue:

Bill, I just wanted to order this book since i found it for 0,15$ :smile: Then i realized shipping will cost me 85$, so i have to find snother way to get it i guess ;p
 

eddie

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It's been decades since I did any but, I do remember "mapping" the finished image being a big help.
1) Focus the main negative onto a white sheet of paper. Trace the outline of the image part you want to use. Mark the enlarger column height with a piece of tape, or marker.
2) Repeat the process with the other negative(s) for the finished piece, remembering to mark the enlarger column height.
3) When you get ready to make the print, make sure the paper is all the way to the right (or left) in the easel. Also, have an empty paper box to place the paper in between exposures, so you can focus the next negative. Just make sure you place the paper in so it is aligned the correct way for each subsequent exposure.
 

Bob Carnie

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If you like Jerry Uelsmann's work like I do then setting up a few enlargers, learning how to make masks , soft edge and hard edge, seeing through your montage to understand where you need to block and where you need to allow light through is important.

some of the tools would include,,, red ruby, pos and neg lith film, diffusion tissue to soften edges, very sharp knife with good magnifying glasses, different types of receiving film if required, and an incredible amount of patience.

Jerry is the king of montage, and when they made features in PS for blending images , all the concepts came from his magic.

Good luck

 

paul_c5x4

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I've done the "add a different sky" print before now - It is very much easier to set the negs up in separate enlargers and fine tune the masks with test prints. I had the masks set a couple of inches below the enlarger lens to avoid any hard joins.

Also had an issue with the halo effect when masking out an area for some dodge/burn/contrast trickery - A bit of time with some spotting ink reduced the halo to barely perceptible proportions.
 

winger

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I can't find it right now, but there's a book by Uelsmann (can't find it right now) where he describes how he does them. Other books may have more details and more methods, though. I've thought about it, but haven't tried because I haven't come up with a good idea and images to do it with.
 

Nige

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according to the internet, everyone who currently uses a digital camera used to knock these out just like they do now in Photoshop... yeah right!
 

MartinP

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Well, to be honest there was nothing unusual about putting together finished results by compositing, sandwiching, combining and so on. It may seem shocking, but there was art between cave-paintings and Fauxtoshop.
 

sasah zib

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notes from 1977 - 1984 timeframe:
uelsmann taylor.001.jpeg
---
from this (photrio) site other discussion: https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/jerry-uelsmann.103309/

-- Lootens was mentioned: his book is online at
https://archive.org/details/lootensonphotogr00jghi/page/n9/mode/2up
ch 14 is his combination printing (clouds in sky) Pasted Graphic.png
 

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