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[filmscanners] Re: [filmscanners_Digest] digital fiber

  • To: lexa@lexa.ru
  • Subject: [filmscanners] Re: [filmscanners_Digest] digital fiber
  • From: "HPA" <tom@historicphotoarchive.com>
  • Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2002 10:36:35 -0700
  • In-reply-to: <200208010020.RAA22634@technicaladvantage.net>
  • Unsubscribe: mailto:listserver@halftone.co.uk

I apologize to Mr. Solomon for my incorrect gender presumption.

>> by "digital fiber", I mean any way that a silver-gelatin print can be made
>> from a digital original (or scan, or whatever).
> At present this would exclude direct inkjet printing as a positive final
> print; it might include making inkjet paper negatives which could then be
> printed via traditional photographic processes, which would be indirect.

Yes, and paper negatives are an outstanding example.  However, I cannot use
this technique without a specific instruction from the photographer because
it is too interpretive (it destroys optical sharpness).  Because I am a
commercial lab (although I offer only fine-art or archival printing), I have
to make the most conventional and respectable forms of prints, so I will be
using film output recorders to make 20x24" film negatives, and contact print
these onto fiber paper in the darkroom.

The economic point of making paper negatives, fiber prints, etc., is to be
able to keep print prices for fine-art digital photography from collapsing
because of excess supply and competition.  In certain cities, inkjets are
being killed by vendor competition, and this has had a spin effect on local
photographers because bin loads of of cheap inkjets at flea markets, art
bazzars, etc., tend to cheaper the perception of the medium, and can lead to
reduced sales of high priced ones. Art buyers who have three or four figures
to spend on framed works of art probably own desktop Epsons or something
like them, and understand that inkjet prints are machine made replications.
Works of art on paper imply a high level of craftspersonship at the minimum,
and preferably are hand made by the artist (or photographer) themselves.
Many photographers feel they need to distinguish their work from the pack,
and do everything possible to enhance it's market ability.  I have received
at least twice as many orders this year than last for gold chloride POP
prints.  Platinum & palladium, all sorts of odd stuff, all of it is coming

The paper negative crowd is part of the so-called "alternative process"
community, and it is these people who are likely to take digital processes
through some of their most unpredictable but ultimate capabilities as far as
fine-art photography goes, because they are using their printers as tools to
create original and non-replicatable works of art on paper.  Some are
modifying their printers, some make their own paper, some use multi media
techniques, etc.  Another reason that digital is playing an important role
here is because over the last two years many specialized films have been
discontinued.  Digital contrast masks printed on the epson can help to
duplicate (to an acceptable point) the effect that Agfa P330p or Kodak 4125
could do a few years ago.

Straight inkjet prints (I use Epson archival matte paper), I would like to
emphasize, have created many opportunities that did not exist several years
ago.  I wholeheartedly endorse digital inkjet prints. The investment was
well worth it for me, I am pleased with the direction that inkjet sales are
taking, and the profitability is where it needs to be for now.

I hope that my observations can be of some value to this list membership.  I
have learned a lot from this list over the past year, and want to thank
everyone for the great crash course in digital scanning.

Tom Robinson

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