The Art of Printmaking

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by white, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. white

    white TPF Noob!

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    I have only had access to a darkroom for 6 months, but in that time I have discovered that I really enjoy making prints. Lately I have been feeling discouraged because I am having difficulty creating prints which have good tonality and are not too dark. I think part of my frustration is because I'm getting better, but also more picky.

    Lately I have tried a method of split-filter printing described here and I think it works very well for the most part. I took it one step further and started burning in areas with a #5 contrast filter, and I like being able to darken just shadows, and perhaps dark-midtones. But my prints are still coming out a little too dark, and I wonder if it is because of dry-down?

    I've been looking for intermediate-advanced level books that get into the nuts and bolts of darkroom printing, and I can't seem to find any.

    Anyway, I wanted to create this thread to serve as a resource and place for experienced printmakers to share their tips and tricks.
     
  2. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    It is hard to teach all the stuff that goes into printing. You might try Lootens.
     
  3. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I always found the best prints come from good negatives.

    But there are MANY times I had to save my ass in the darkroom, including multi-filter printing and such.

    Still, I worked toward improving my negs, usually with over-exposure and under-development.

    The trouble I have with printing "tricks" is repeatability. When making multiple prints of the same neg in varying sizes, I found it tedious and frustrating, and not always consistent.

    What size negs are you working with? What paper are you printing on? And what kind of work are you doing?

    -Pete
     
  4. white

    white TPF Noob!

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    Right now I'm using 35mm negs, Ilford VC RC Pearl paper, and the work is mostly personal / fine-art.

    Also, I'm considering buying these two books:

    • [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Variable-Contrast-Printing-Manual/dp/0240802594/ref=pd_sim_b_5"]The Variable Contrast Printing Manual[/ame]
    • [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Darkroom-Cookbook-Third-Steve-Anchell/dp/0240810554/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282073521&sr=1-1"]The Darkroom Cookbook, 3rd Ed.[/ame]
     
  5. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Variable Contrast Printing Manual by Steve Anchell.

    The Elements of Black and White Printing by Carson Graves.

    Post-Exposure: Advanced Techniques for the Photographic Printer
    by Ctein
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK. Now, of course, I'm sure you're aware of the importance of your enlarger lens... good quality, keep it clean...

    Are you using a condenser head enlarger or diffusion?

    I suppose you're not printing much larger than 11x14.

    Chemistry?

    I just trying to imagine your working conditions to come up with practical suggestions.

    -Pete
     
  7. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    You may want to look at Lootens on Photographic Enlarging & Print Quality.

    I learned from that book.
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    you might also check out Larry Bartletts book on "Black And White Phtographic Printing Workshop". He gives some good steps to workon.

    also, the Darkroom Cookbook, is a great resource, but it isn't about printing. However, if you want to start mixing your own developers, etc. it has become a must have.

    Tim RUdman also has a book on printing techniques, but off the top of my head i don't remember the name, except it isn';t The Toning one.
     
  9. white

    white TPF Noob!

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    I lucked out and was given most of my darkroom supplies by my father, so for an enlarger I've got a Beseler 67 Color head. I haven't set it up yet. As far as chemistry, I haven't actually developed any rolls at home, (always at school -- they use Sprint developer) so I was going to pick up The Darkroom Cookbook to help with preparation.

    I can't remember what lens I have specifically. It has f/stops from 3.5 to 22, but I don't know if it's 50mm or 80mm. I'm guessing it's 80mm because the f/stops for 50mm usually are 2.8-16, aren't they?

    Thanks everyone for all the book suggestions.
     
  10. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    [/quote]Right now I'm using 35mm negs, Ilford VC RC Pearl paper, and the work is mostly personal / fine-art.

    Also, I'm considering buying these two books:

    • [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Variable-Contrast-Printing-Manual/dp/0240802594/ref=pd_sim_b_5"]The Variable Contrast Printing Manual[/ame]
    • [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Darkroom-Cookbook-Third-Steve-Anchell/dp/0240810554/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282073521&sr=1-1"]The Darkroom Cookbook, 3rd Ed.[/ame]
    [/QUOTE]
    Do yourself a favor and try graded papers. You won't believe the tonal range you get vs the VC's. Start with 2 and 3. You can always fiddle with the developer to go higher or lower.
     
  11. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    Well in the past I would have agreed without reservation, but Ilford Multigrade IV is superb, and almost indistinguishable from Galerie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  12. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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