Re: Why multiple exposure (was Re: (Gum) Tonal scale)

From: Yves Gauvreau ^lt;>
Date: 11/29/05-12:56:44 AM Z
Message-id: <023801c5f4b2$0f920130$0100a8c0@BERTHA>


I appreciate your effort in writing this as my own experience in writing is
almost painful but I must also say my comprehension of english is almost as
limited as that of a well educated chimp...

I'm sorry but I don't understand half of what you say below. I'll try to
point out those confusing areas.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Judy Seigel" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 11:28 PM
Subject: Re: Why multiple exposure (was Re: (Gum) Tonal scale)

> On Mon, 28 Nov 2005, Yves Gauvreau wrote:
> > I made some test of my own and I got about 6 to 8 steps (Stouffer 21
> > dependent (as expected) on the gum pigment mix I used. I didn't measure
> > densities but I think everyone knows each step correspond to
> CUT....
> > So I guess my real question then is how come all the fuss about multiple
> > exposure that many seem to favor for gum prints???
> Yves, I think the intervening replies have addressed your question, but
> permit me to add my own thoughts as I read the above...
> If you are getting 6 to 8 steps in a gum print with one coat and a
> tonal range that satisfies you pictorially, I suspect you are wasting your
> time on this list. You could be out in the world walking on water-- and
> running workshops.

I really got 8 STEPS not STOPS and I don't understand what could be the
magic about that?

> My other thought as I kept on reading was that when I run the world no one
> who hasn't done, oh, say 50 gum tests on their own (perhaps using the "gum
> entry exercise" I used to give classes -- and could swear I put somewhere
> in P-F, about which more in a moment) is NOT allowed to discuss "theory"
> and "principles" here, or anywhere. That's because you get into so many
> abstruse issues that simply do not apply, but hold over from silver
> gelatin, that the only recourse is to retreat in dismay.

This may be clear to most but not to this chimp...

> It is THESE discussions (seems to me) that make gum seem so queer, so
> whimsical, so devilishly complex. In the actual practice, if you start
> simple, and do NOT expect "rules" for "best" or "correct" or "right"
> print, and dismiss all theory in advance, it's quite simple.

This is all true and all right, small steps can get you far but I feel I
need to know where I'm going before I start walking. In my case this is true
both figuratively and in reality.

> Here's the entry exercise:
> Mix a standard emulsion, say a pea sized lump of a good simple pigment
> (thalo blue is usually trouble free) in a good brand, with 30 drops gum
> arabic, 15 drops concentrated am di & 15 drops water. Coat a piece of
> unsized unshrunk Rives BFK (or paper of your choice, that you know is
> "good for gum") and when dry cut into 3 strips. Expose all strips the
> same UNDER A 21-STEP (NOT a random-density pictorial negative) say 3
> minutes in your normal UV light. Develop first section for 20 minutes, 2nd
> section for 3 hours, and 3rd section for 18 hours or overnight.
> Now study the results and COMPARE number of steps, density, smoothness of
> tone, color, delicacy of the numbers printed, and whatever. This should
> give an outline of the (what is it, see saw? balance? correlation?) of
> exposure and development which underpins the medium.
> Your first test may have too much or too little exposure, or too much,too
> little pigment, etc... So you adjust. But a few rounds of this exercise
> show the principles and the rest will probably fall into place.
> You can do a test like this comparing sized, unsized paper, and other
> variables but total confusion should vanish...
> As for those three-coat prints, again that's a convention but with a
> rationale -- in the early days, gum prints were usually monochrome black,
> even with several coats. The tradition was, begin with (say), a warm black
> fairly light on pigment for a long exposure to fill in your highlights --
> tho shadows will of course be too light. Next coat would be more pigment
> less exposure and a neutral black, for neutral midtones. Last coat, cool
> black (add blue) for cool shadows, more pigment, less exposure (so you
> don't fill in those highlights).

That maybe the problem, I'm always thinking of monochrome gum prints maybe
not exactly black and white but in varying shades of rich dark browns. I
would even add only one at a time for now.

I think it's easy to figure out that any small change applied to a single
coat as a quasi exponetial effect with each successive coat. Complexity
builds up quite fast that way, maybe before digital negs where used I could
understand the rational for multi coats but with those diginegs I don't see
the necessity of multiple coats for true monochrome prints.As soon as one
want anything more then a monochrome print it's obvious we need more then
one coat, no question about that.

> Or, you could do cool highlights, warm shadows. Whatever. Check Paul
> Anderson in his Pictorial Photography book, ca. 1935. I knew a guy who
> did these so precisesly folks who didn't know gum took the prints for
> platinum. (Of course they were idiots, but... aren't we all out of our
> depth?)
> Judy
Received on Tue Nov 29 00:57:38 2005

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