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Author Topic: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes  (Read 435 times)

Rob C

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Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« on: September 09, 2017, 03:46:03 PM »

Eric,

Just had another look through your book (titled above) and this time, in a low-wattage light. I got to it after running through the two Saul Leiter B/W books from Steidl under the same light. I've looked at the latter pair quite often under that glow, but this is the first time I've done so with yours.

I have noted in the past that it's quite remarkable the difference to tonality that such low lighting makes; it's certainly bright enough to see well, but it seems always to add a glow, a sense of richness that daylight seldom does to books. You must try it if you haven't already noted the phenomenon. It works just as well with your book as with any of the others seen in that manner.

But back to your work: hand on heart, given everything to be equally possible, which form of capture would you choose to use today?

Personally, I'm sure that if I was to be able to use film once more, it would be Hassy 500 all over again, but for 135 format, I think I'd stick entirely with digital. I think the 120 film camera would lend itself better to considered shooting, but for my sort of "street" I can't imagine anything being better than digital.

Rob

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2017, 04:45:55 PM »

Rob,

In my film days I used 35mm, 6x7, 4x5, and even 8x10 view cameras. When I went over to the (digital) Dark Side, I looked back over my film work and realized that of the images/prints that I still found interesting, only one was 8x10, a few were 6x7, a fair number were 4x5, and most of the best were 35mm. I think the main reason is that when I see something that catches my eye, the nearest (lightest, easiest to manipulate) camera is the one that gives me the best chanceof getting the image I want.

The transition to digital was, of course, quite painful a lot of the time, but at this point I have no interest whatever in going back to film. I am truly glad that I spent as much time with film (essentially black and white, color was processed by Mother Kodak) as I did, and I think anyone who wants to learn photography is best off learning film first.

Doing digital black and white my goal has always been to make prints that look as good to me as do the best darkroom prints I ever made, and I think I got to that point after about four years. One thing I have realized recently is that my judgement of black and white prints is very much ties into my film experience, and when doing black and white I always apply a custom curve (in Lightroom or Photoshop) that renders the digital image more like a film image.

I agree with you that a large film camera (often used with a (ugh!!!) tripod) is probably better for considered shooting. But I suspect that with your experience (or with mine) you can do a lot of "considering" in a very short time!

My present "big" camera is a Sony RX10III, with a built-in very nice Zeiss lens that adjusts from 24mm to 600mm (35mm film equivalent). And my "little" camera that I carry around most of the time is a Canon G5X pocket thingy with both an electronic view finder and a rear screen finder. This one adjusts from something like 28mm to 105mm, but it is the camera that I almost always have with me.

If you come up with two Hassy 500s, I'll be happy to take one of them off your hands and try film again.   ;)

Thanks for your kind thoughts, Rob.

Eric
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GrahamBy

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 07:35:31 AM »

Hi hi, I recently saw a little comedy on Face Book... a friend is experimenting with a view camera (which interestingly, is called "une chambre" in French, ie a bedroom :)) )
A lot of his efforts are, well, pretty awful. He's having fun trying to learn to use the thing and he's by profession a scientist, so he just hangs it all out for people to look at. He's currently trying direct-positive paper "film," which seems to be particularly difficult.

Now at some point along comes Jean-Marc Pharisien, who used to print for Newton and has wielded a view camera to some effect himself. He's an irritable, opinionated and fun guy... who points out that either the material being used is well past its prime, or the development is wrong, or both.
There was then an eruption from an outraged friend of the experimenter, how dare anyone criticise these photos!

That seems to me to sum up the "return to film" movement... often the images are nothing special, the interest is in re-mastering the technique, but some people forget that a) it's all been done before, and it's a technical process that needs to be learnt as such; and b) the fact that it was difficult to make doesn't make it interesting to look at.

I'm tempted to suggest that the best approach might be to shoot on digital, adjust in LR, print on inkjet.... then reshoot the print on a copy stand using whatever antique method appeals :)
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2017, 08:42:05 AM »

Excellent point, Graham.
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http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my photo website (Server is back up). New images each season. Also visit my new website: http://ericneedsakidney.org

Rob C

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2017, 11:19:20 AM »

How odd; I penned a response to Eric this morning, and now it doesn't exist.

Bugger. One more reason for writing outwith the system and pasting back into it. OTOH, it could be that I Previewed it, then switched off without clicking Post. Nothing would surprise me when I know I have to face the kitchen.

Anyway, to Graham's point.

It isn't about analogue printing being or not being difficult, hence a sort of glory from mastery of that part of the process: I never found it to be so; I have found a lot more trouble printing digitally. The point about wet printing and, I guess, film, is that the end result looks different to giclée, and unless you were shooting slides, there always was a print - nobody hid their lamps behind bushes as is possible with computer viewing.

So, the wet print gave - if you knew how to do your job - wonderful tonalities on glazed glossy that I have not managed outwith a couple of tests on glossy digital paper, but the bronzing made it pointless - looked like patches of bad fixing on old test prints that had missed the bin!

And for me, that's the nub of the thing: good analogue just looks better to me.

"Doing digital black and white my goal has always been to make prints that look as good to me as do the best darkroom prints I ever made, and I think I got to that point after about four years. One thing I have realized recently is that my judgement of black and white prints is very much ties into my film experience, and when doing black and white..." (Eric)

Indeed, Eric, and the understandoing of just how amazing wet can be is part of the problem. I speak only of B/W here - I've no further interest in colour.

I note the smiley; however, I would advise nobody to copy prints unless they are the only "original" available. Print is only as good as its paper's stucture, and copying from that's just the tip of the iceberg of issues.

Rob

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2017, 12:42:38 PM »

Rob,

I thought I was the only one who did that regularly ("OTOH, it could be that I Previewed it, then switched off without clicking Post.")

As for copying prints: Yes, I have done that, but only when I couldn't find the negative (blush, blush!)  :-[

My filing systems for negatives were never very effective.

Eric

(Note to self: Preview first and then Post!)
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http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my photo website (Server is back up). New images each season. Also visit my new website: http://ericneedsakidney.org

GrahamBy

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 07:46:04 AM »

Face Book has this useful little feature where it asks "Do you really want to leave? There's something you haven't posted."
Except it doesn't explain itself so clearly, and it doesn't tell you what or where you failed to post... which might be several screens up the "page".

As for the topic, bronzing on gloss paper no longer seems to be an issue :)

(I need to confront the issue that my 20 year old, barely used printer complete with spare inks needs to go in the garbage... and that the reason it is barely used is because it couldn't do decent B&W and that it wasted so much of my time as I tried to take photos that it could print)
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GrahamBy

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 08:36:34 AM »

It isn't about analogue printing being or not being difficult, hence a sort of glory from mastery of that part of the process:

I had in mind those who are "going back" to where they never were, for whom it is difficult because it's new to them, and they don't have the opportunity to learn in the midst of a crowd of people who have mastered the subtleties and can diagnose problems. In the case of wet collodion, Daguerrotypes and Platinum-Palladium that's pretty much everyone, of course.

It has also been pointed out in a few articles that what many prize as an "analogue look" is actually film done badly...
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 10:24:21 AM »

(I need to confront the issue that my 20 year old, barely used printer complete with spare inks needs to go in the garbage... and that the reason it is barely used is because it couldn't do decent B&W and that it wasted so much of my time as I tried to take photos that it could print)
I was quite happy with B&W prints from my old Epson 3800 and my new Epson P800 does beautifully. I haven't seen problematic bronzing since I retired my old Epson 2200 about nine years ago. With a decent printer and good paper, bronzing seems to me no longer an issue.

Eric
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Rob C

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 03:13:09 PM »

Eric, Graham

I still have an HP B 9180 that was fantastic for b/whites on Hahne. Photo Rag Bright White 310 g/m2. But, only when those prints were within an archival polyester crystal clear sleeve did they look anything as nice as wet WSG papers well glazed. I repeat - glazed. I hated air-dried glossy prints too, which, to me, suggested the printer didn't own a proper dryer. Mat surfaces I never liked.

But, that printer used pigment inks. I use the past tense because HP got out of the segment and left me high and dry but raging.

I now have a wonderfully seductive looking desk spoiler. I don't have the heart to dump the poor, useless beast. It's like a sick pet whose final vet visit you can't face - yet.

Are you saying that you are or are not using pigment inks with your printers, and on glossy paper? Bronzing I only ever saw on glossy paper with HP's pigment ink on HP's own test sheets of glossy.

Getting back to great glossy prints might be attractive again, but as I would want to be working with people and don't see any other subjects worth the cost of printing, I guess it all really depends on whether I can offload this apartment one day and go back to a city where things become possible again. It was a wonderful life out here when Ann was alive, but alone, it's become my St Helena.

;-(

Rob

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2017, 03:43:04 PM »

It has also been pointed out in a few articles that what many prize as an "analogue look" is actually film done badly...

A similar phenomenon exists in the music world, where tube (valve) based technology is treasured for the harmonic distortion it creates when pushed beyond its originally intended uses. Early electrified blues and then rock & roll were in part created by the sounds of stressed and even abused gear.  :)  Leo Fender, for instance, knew his guitar amps would distort when cranked up, but he meant for them to be used at volumes well below that. Clean, twangy, steely sound was the goal. Musicians, however, had other goals. In recording studios the same thing happened. Revolver and St. Pepper's are but two aural documents of studio preamps, EQs and compressors being slammed & smashed into creating new & different sounds.

I see the current film enthusiasm as in part a reaction against perceived sterility in digital photographs due to over-emphasis on technical quality. Film is a non-electronic way to put some organic "dirt" back into photos. That such dirt was an unwanted feature back in the day is of no concern to these enthusiasts. They have their own interests in mind. I'm as okay with this as I am with cranking up a Fender amp and making Leo's ghost cringe.  :D

-Dave-
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GrahamBy

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Re: Captured by Light - By Eric Myrvaagnes
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 09:26:29 AM »


Are you saying that you are or are not using pigment inks with your printers, and on glossy paper? Bronzing I only ever saw on glossy paper with HP's pigment ink on HP's own test sheets of glossy.

I'm now using a Canon pro-1000 with pigment inks... previosly a pro-100 with dyes. I can't tell the difference, execpt maybe looking at a silly angle, say 5° to the surface of the paper, with light coming from an equally silly angle, and some patches of pure white.

Otoh, there are a couple of the dye prints on my office wall facing a window, and after 2 years they may have faded a little towards sepia.

I'm only using Lumière gloss and pearl (I think this is re-packaged Ilford)... my experiments with a sample pack of fancy papers didn't convince me they were better, just different (and sometimes worse, for my tastes).
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