distressing negatives and prints

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by duana_r__, Sep 19, 2001.

  1. hi

    <p>

    i am in 3rd yr photo and am doing an independant study on distressing
    prints and negatives to get an antiqued, aged, scratchy, roughed-up
    effect, simular to Joel-Peter Witkin's work and several others.

    <p>

    so far i have tried reticulation, scratching with pins/sandpaper,
    painting ink on the neg, as well as printing through dirty glass,
    contact printing double exposures, scratching prints, and liquid
    emulsion on paper.

    <p>

    these experiements have taught me alot, but i still haven't aquired
    the "look" i want as mentioned above. any ideas for me to try?
    i am working with black & white in 35mm & medium format.

    <p>

    thanks,
    duana
     
  2. You might want to start collecting bottles to shoot through with your
    35mm camera. It is hard to find ones that give just the right amount
    of distortion, but the results are sometimes interesting. There is a
    Russian fellow who does this all the time with vodka bottles.
     
  3. Ed, are bottles full or empty....?? I guess if they are full the end
    up empty after the photo shoot..:))
     
  4. Jorge: Since it is difficult to shoot through a whiskey filter (and
    even more difficult to determine the filter factor), I was forced to
    drink the scotch first. We all have to make sacrifices for art...
     
  5. Duana:

    <p>

    This is often easy to do but difficult to do well. You might try
    looking more closely at the work of 19th and early 20th century
    photographers to determine what factors give the photo its
    characteristic look. Sometimes its a function of the older
    photographic emulsions and their differing light sensitivities. The
    slow character of 19th century plates forced photographers to use
    longer exposures and often this shows in their work. Older emulsions
    were also orthochromatic which resulted in lighter than normal sky
    areas in landscapes. In addition, these photographers used large
    negatives in combination with very basic lenses of a simple design.
    The large negatives provided a level of detail not seen in modern,
    small-format cameras. The lenses, however, were not coated and were
    prone to flare which lowered the contrast of the final print. It is
    also worthwhile to note that many older lenses were not corrected for
    certain optical distortions and these distortions were evident at the
    edges of a typical print. Also, many older lenses did not cover the
    film format and this resulted in vignetting (light fall-off) and
    softness in the corners of the negative. The character of older
    photographs is also associated with the type of paper and the process
    used. Fiber-based paper is an obvious choice as is the use of older
    processes like platinum and POP with gold toner. If you are really
    looking for a challenge, you mught even think about photogravure.

    <p>

    If you are looking for some simple solutions, try sepia toner in
    conjunction with vignetting and a soft-focus filter. You can also use
    bleach without toner (part 1 of the 2 part sepia toner) to produce the
    blown-out look of an older photograph.

    <p>

    I hope this helps.

    <p>

    ..............
     
  6. I was reading this and had an idea. Find some old ruined glass plate
    negs that are useless for printing and try double exposing your paper
    using your neg and one of these. Many of them are so faded and grungy
    that they might prove interesting. Depending on your enlarger you
    might have to make a carrier for the glass plates, but that's pretty easy.
     
  7. Hi there,
    <br><br>
    It might be interesting to also try experimenting with sandwiching negs or exposing paper with multiple negs. Taking a piece of completely exposed lead, scratching it up and overprinting could make for some nice darker scratches. Or you could actually photograph some that was marked up and use that for sandwiching (an old baking pan often has very interesting patterns and scratches). You could play with litho sheets to dodge areas where you didn't want as many scratches. The good thing about the above techniques is that they leave your original neg intact.
    <br><br>
    If you're not worried about destroying your neg you could try boiling it first. Just touching the emulsion with a pin after it's soft will rip and crumple it exposing areas of complete black. Freezing the neg after boiling also yields some interesting results.
    <br><br>
    Lately I've been relying more on digital techniques to get the types of wear and weather effects I was looking for. If you don't want to go all the way digital, you could consider using digital images just to make scratch and texture negs and still print everything in a wet darkroom. For some images I've used an old CD case scanned with a black background to get a really scratched surface to use as a channel.
    <br><br>
    I've included a photograph that I added some weather to.
    <br><br>
    Be sure to let us all know what techniques end up working best for you.
    <br><br>
     
  8. (I know this is an old post but I have to contribute.) Duana, You should study the wet-plate collodion process. It is what you are looking for. I am a wet-plate photograher and was lured in by the distressed aethestic of collodion (that and many other reasons). I was trained by the Ostermans in Rochester, NY. They are the leading experts in 19th century wet-plate photography. Take a look at collodion.com Regards, Quinn Jacobson Collodion Artist/Photographer
    006TmP-15250684.jpg
     
  9. I've been restoring old photos for some time now which have generally been vintage or very old. To create many of the looks of vintage is basically an artistic or creative effort. I'd say that they are more drawn or painted for lack of a better term. There are some filters that can work too.
     

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