Archive for the ‘Black & White’ Category
While many alternative photographic processes date back to the beginning of the last century, there are a few that are still in their infancy. The advances in digital photo editing and inkjet printing have introduced us to a whole new world of hybrid processes, using both traditional film and darkroom based photography in conjunction with these new digital tools. Most notable of these processes is the creation of negatives from a digital file. These digital negatives are produced by manipulating a source image digitally, whether it is scanned film or from a digital camera, and printing it on a transparent or opaque material for contact printing in a traditional darkroom. Just about anybody can print a decent quality photo from their inkjet printer, and many of you know your way around the darkroom quite well, so it would seem that bringing the two processes together would be a simple task. This couldn’t be any farther from the truth.
In 1949, when Bocour Artists Products marketed the first acrylic-based paints, many artists were eager to experiment with this new medium. Although they were easier to work with, were much more durable, and easier to clean up, the artists themselves and the schools in which they were taught never gave up on traditional oil-based paint. The recent technological advances in digital photography have caused many photographers to shelve their old film-based Nikons and Hasselblads for the ease and instant gratification of digital photography. This ease and instant gratification has also resulted in more and more people who always wanted to try photography but never had the time, indulging in photography as a hobby. It’s hard to see a downside to this, as it has spurred growth in the photography community, given struggling photo companies new customers, and increased enrollment in photography schools. The downside is there though, and it is affecting those who still remain true to film and have not given into the hype of digital. Film and the necessary chemicals for development have become harder to find and have risen in price, more and more lenses are being designed only for digital, and worst of all – colleges and photography schools, such as Grand Rapids Community College, are replacing traditional film based courses with digital alternatives. While each format has it’s own unique benefits, there is still no substitute for the clarity, tonal range, and aesthetics that silver-based film photography offers.
The Sabatier process is often mistakenly referred to as “solarization.” In actuality, these are both distinctly different processes. Solarization occurs while the film is still in the camera. It results when film is overexposed to the point that the silver halide crystals have been completely saturated with light, which means it has reached “gamma infinity”. When this occurs, the crystals with the most exposure begin to reverse themselves. A good example of this is in a print where while everything else appears normal, the sun is a deep black. The Sabatier process however, is done entirely during the printing stage, with no special exposure of the film necessary. In the simplest of terms, it is when you re-expose the paper with light halfway through the development process. This results in the darker areas of the final print being rendered as normal, while the lighter areas are reversed.