Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter's Light



Post-Script: This process of using Harman Direct Positive Paper is such a hands-on, physical process that even attempting to reproduce it electronically is fraught with frustration, because scanning the prints results in inevitable dust spots and scanning artifacts in the shadows that aren't visible on the original, while photographing them with a DSLR camera presents the challenge of an even illumination absent from the glare of the paper's sheen, further complicated by the paper's curl.

Here, I had to set the Sony A390 to ISO800 in order to get sufficient shutter speed, resulting in a bit of shadow noise that's simply absent in the actual print. And you don't get a sense of the glossy, fiber-based paper's sheen, one of the reasons why prints upon silver gelatin paper of this kind is so difficult to emulate with an inkjet process.

I focused the camera upon the seat cushion back, then pulled the focus position a bit closer (by extending the lens slightly further with the bellows) to compensate for my face being a bit closer to the camera than the cushion, which was an absolute lucky guess considering I can't easily be simultaneously seated in the chair and also behind the camera, peering into the ground glass*. You may notice my right hand** is blurry, caused by the motion of squeezing the shutter release bulb during the 1/8 second exposure. I attempted to hide the pneumatic hose from view under my leg.

Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.

*I did do this once on my 8x10 nested box camera by using a video camera on a separate tripod positioned behind the ground glass, the video camera's view screen flipped around so as to be visible from my seated position. Get up, adjust the box camera, sit back down, check out view in video camera. Repeat. Not highly recommended.

**Is it my right hand or my left? With a conventional photographic image, it would be the subject's left hand, situated toward the right edge of the print paper. But with Harman DPP, the image is reversed as compared to a film or digital camera image, similar to a wet plate process, and so it's actually my right hand holding the shutter release bulb, but also on the right side of the print. Right?


Blogger Bill M said...

Nice work. I have yet to try the paper.

I used to get my prints nearly dry in the dryer and then finish them in a blotter book over night. Seemed to help keep them flat.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Joe V said...

I should add that, several days later, I tried the glass drying method on the other print exposed during this session. I rewetted the print in a tray of water, squeegeed both sides, set upon a sheet of glass, taped the print ~2mm in from each edge using drafting tape, then set in my film drying cabinet for a while, after which I set the sheet of glass and print in an archival storage sleeve to save electricity and keep dust free.

That next day I inspected the print and was able to easily peel off the drafting tape from the edges without marring the print. It's absolutely flat with the exception of the very edges (within several mm) that are slightly curved upward, but this is the flattest I've ever gotten fiber paper to dry.

I think more sheets of glass are on my agenda.

5:31 PM  

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