Re: Charcoal Prints

Date: 03/07/04-11:57:49 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Hi Dick,
I am not sure if you understood what I was saying about "Charcoal Prints" in
reference to Ilford Charcoal paper. Ilford makes a very beautiful silver
gelatine paper called "Charcoal". I have used that with digital negatives and
really liked it. Ilford also makes an inkjet paper called "Charcoal" with a
similar surface—I haven't tried that with my custom inkjet printing.

I agree about the terminology. I think many people doing inkjet prints
(especially service bureaus—just look at the ads in photo magazines) use terms
like giclee, carbon prints, "platinum" prints, etc because they don't know any
better, others because they want to sound fancier than "inkjet", and others
because they want to try to hide the fact that the prints are inkjet and to
convince some unsuspecting buyer that they are getting a "hand made" print from a
wet process darkroom. It's silly. Even some of the inksets are named after alt
processes like carbon and platinum. I haven't yet seen an inkset named
after Gum, but I think Judy Seigle is working on that with one of the ink
manufacturers hehehehe

I do think for a while a few years back it was important to indicate that a
print was an "archival pigment" inkjet print as opposed to the dye inkjet print
that would start fading in 3 days. I never sold an inkjet print until I was
assured it would at least last over 50 years (wilhelm testing).

What I am noticing is that more and more high-end photographers (I'm not sure
if high end means they are really great, famous or they have part of their
anatomy pointing to the sky hehehe), who have been shooting film and scanning
it or have been shooting with multimegapixel digital cameras, are beginning to
get over their fascination with the topline inkjet prints. Sure, you can
make them big and sure they can look great. However, I think you are seeing
more of these artists beginning to look towards digital negatives to do silver
gelatine prints, pt/pd prints, and other alt photo processes. While galleries
and juried shows are accepting inkjet prints, some are turning away from them
or never have accepted them in the first place. There is still much to be
said for the alternative methods. There is nothing like holding a finely
crafted print in a beautiful process on beautiful paper—especially if it has great
image content.

I do think that the digital negative is a nice marriage with the alternative
processes. I still shoot black and white film along with digital. However,
I think most of my "serious work" is going to be in alt process via digital
negatives from now on—regardless of whether I shot it with a digital or film
camera. But then that's just how I feel about it and I don't expect everyone
to feel the same. I certainly hope people still keep doing in-camera
negatives for contact printing. Besides, its fun to watch Sandy King haul that 20 x
24 camera with the trailer hitch into a state park and watch the people gather
around and go oooh and aaaaah.... but I know he actually has a very thin
Epson flatbed scanner hidden inside those fancy home made hardwood film holders.

Mark Nelson
Precision Digital Negatives

In a message dated 3/7/04 1:16:31 PM, writes:

> Mark,
> You may well be right.
> I am forever getting P.O'd. about photographically illiterate idiots who
> call their inkjet prints "carbon prints" because they use carbon based
> inks. Then there is another branch of idiocy who apparently they want to be
> in the same league with Josef Sudek and call their inkjet prints "pigment
> prints."
> I got a call once from a platinum printer who was equally twisted about a
> show of "platinum" prints in Santa Monica where the guy used a "platinum"
> ink set in his printer and then put brush marks on the edges with Photoshop
> to complete the fraud. Actually not so much fraud as the gallery owner said
> what they really were so this guy, like the aforementioned, perhaps had not
> a clue as to what a platinum print really was.
> The shuck and jive is that folks really are not that comfortable with what
> they are doing and look for terminology that obfuscates what the prints
> really are. Cohn prints, giclee prints, piezographs, carbon prints,
> platinum prints, microdispersion prints, Iris prints, and others I can't
> remember, are used in place of the term "ink jet." Everyone knows what an
> ink jet print is so my guess is the other terms are just used to put fog in
> front of a naive buyer's eye.
> The handmade will always have an add-on value because of it human element.
> My first lecture to my classes in alt printing at the local college goes to
> the heart of the idea of the handmade.
> Many if not most come to the class after having taken a digital class. I
> play devils advocate and ask them why do they want to take all this trouble
> to make hand made alt prints. Most are dumb struck. They have a gut feeling
> they want to but really don;t know why and can't verbalize it. Santa Fe has
> a huge art colony and a very healthy fine craft furniture segment. You can
> buy desks and chairs in the $20,000.00 and up range. When I point out that
> much of that fine furniture has dovetails that are cut by hand and could be
> cut finer and better by a dovetail jig, and that a dimensional drawing
> could be made and the finest handmade rocker could be turned out in minutes
> on a CMC wood mill-lathe, and in fact Gone With the Wind style staircases,
> once the product of a year's worth of work by a whole crew of craftsmen is
> now turned out in a day by computer driven machines. Why then does the
> handmade furniture piece command such high prices. Because it reflects and
> revels in the idea of craft. hand craft! Most of the students light up at
> this point. In fact our digital department invariably tells students that
> wet photography is dead and that there is no reason to do anything but
> digital now. They came not believing it but not knowing why they didn't
> believe it.
> I ramble.
> --Dick
> --Dick
> At 10:29 AM 3/7/2004, you wrote:
> >Carl,
> >
> >The Luminos Charcoal paper is a beautiful Silver Paper.  I have used it
> >with digital negatives and had it toned so that the surface looked like
> >brown sugar crystals, for lack of a better description... one of my
> >favorite Silver Papers.
> >
> >Mark Nelson
> >In a message dated 3/7/04 7:13:34 AM, writes:
> >
> >
> >>Jim,
> >>
> >>It might be something special, or they could just be making a big deal
> >>out of prints on Luminos "Charcoal" paper. It's a thick, expensive,
> >>textured silver-gelatin paper with a unique look. I've seen shows where
> >>prints on it were presented as though it were more than just another
> >>manufactured silver paper with an unusual surface.---Carl

Mark Nelson
Precision Digital Negatives
Received on Sun Mar 7 23:58:04 2004

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