Photographic Possibilities

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


Photographic Possibilities

Text of Photographic Possibilities

  • Photographic Possibilities

  • This Page Intentionally Left Blank

  • Photographic Possibilities:The Expressive Use of Ideas, Materials, and ProcessesSECOND EDITION

    Robert Hirsch


    John Valentino

    Boston Oxford Auckland Johannesburg Melbourne New Delhi

  • Front Cover Robert ParkeHarrison. da Vincis Wings, 1998. Gelatin silver print with mixed media onpanel. 45 36 inches. Courtesy of Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York.

    Back Cover Maggie Taylor. Poets House, 1999. Iris inkjet print. 15 15 inches.

    Focal Press is an imprint of ButterworthHeinemann.

    Copyright 2001 by ButterworthHeinemann

    A member of the Reed Elsevier group

    All rights reserved.

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, ortransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

    All trademarks found herein are property of their respective owners.

    Recognizing the importance of preserving what has been written,ButterworthHeinemann prints its books on acid-free paper whenever possible.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Hirsch, Robert.Photographic possibilities : the expressive use of ideas, materials, and processes / by

    Robert Hirsch and John Valentino.2nd ed.p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 0-240-80362-0 (pbk. : alk. paper)1. Photography. I. Valentino, John. II. Title.

    TR145.H54 2001771dc21


    British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

    The publisher offers special discounts on bulk orders of this book.For information, please contact:Manager of Special SalesButterworthHeinemann225 Wildwood AvenueWoburn, MA 01801-2041Tel: 781-904-2500Fax: 781-904-2620

    For information on all ButterworthHeinemann publications available, contact our WorldWide Web home page at:

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    Printed in the United States of America

  • To our parents and everyone who helped us get to where we are now.

    Life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference and it is important to see what is invisible to others.

    Robert Frank

  • This Page Intentionally Left Blank

  • Contents

    Preface xi

    1. Why We Make Photographs: Ideas and History That Affect Photographic Printmaking 1

    The Language of Photography 2Early Printmaking Modications 3Modern Approaches in Printmaking 5Having a Sense of History 9Roles Photography Can Play 10Questions 11Additional Information 20

    2. Safety 22Basic Safety Procedures 22Contact Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities 23Disposing of Chemistry 23Protecting Yourself and Your Computer 25Additional Information 25

    3. Special-Use Films and Processing 27Film and the Photographer 27General Working Procedures for Film Processing 28Kodak High Speed Infrared Film 2481 and 4143 30Extended Red Sensitivity Film: Ilford SFX 200 32Kodak Recording Film 33Additional Methods to Heighten Grain

    and Contrast 34Kodak Technical Pan Roll Films 35Ilford PAN F PLUS Ultra-Fine Grain B/W Film 37Kodak Professional B/W Duplicating Film SO-132 37High-Contrast Litho Films 40Other Graphic Arts Films 43High-Speed Films: Kodak T-MAX P3200 and Ilford

    Delta 3200 Professional 43Paper Negatives and Positives 47Reversing Black-and-White Film 49


    Film for Classic Cameras 50Processing Black-and-White Film for Permanence 51Polaroid Instant Films 51Additional Information 52

    4. Formulas of Your Own 54Prepared Formulas versus Mixing Your Own 54Basic Equipment 54Chemicals 56Preparing Formulas 57Additional Information 59

    5. Black-and-White Film Developers 60What Happens to Silver-Based Films during

    Exposure and Processing? 60Image Characteristics of Film 61Components and Characteristics of Black-and-White

    Developers 62Liquid versus Powder Chemistry 65Basic Developer Types 66Postdevelopment Processes 68Film Developer Formulas and Their Applications 71Why Bother? 80Additional Information 80

    6. Analog Printmaking: Equipment, Materials, and Processes 83

    The Analog Printmaking Process 83Printing Equipment 84Standard Printing Materials 92Special Printing Materials 99Processing Prints for Permanence 102Additional Information 102

    7. Black-and-White Paper Developers 103Paper versus Film Developers 103Components of Black-and-White Silver

    Print Developers 103Other Processing Factors 106Controlling Contrast during Development 108Matching Developer and Paper 109Developer Applications and Characteristics 109Other Paper Developer Formulas 115Additional Information 119

    8. Toning for Visual Effects 120Processing Controls 120Basic Types of Toners 120Processing Prints to Be Toned 121General Working Procedures for Toners 123Brown Toners 123Blue Toners 130Red Toners 131Green Toners 131Toning Variations 132Additional Information 136


    9. Special Cameras and Equipment 137What Is a Camera? 137Toy Cameras: The Diana and the Holga 138The Pinhole Camera 140Disposable Cameras 143Expanding the Angle of View 143Panoramic Cameras 145Sequence Cameras 147Special-Use Cameras 149Stereoscopic Photography 150Stroboscopic Photography 153Underwater Equipment and Protection 154

    10. An Introduction to Some Widely Used Alternative Processes 157

    About Paper 158Cyanotype Process 159Kallitype and Vandyke Brownprint Processes 163Platinum and Palladium Processes 166Gum Bichromate Process 172Electrostatic Processes: Copy Machines 176Additional Information 178

    11. Altering Photographic Concepts: Expansion of the Lexicon 180

    Hand-Altered Work 180Photograms 182Clich-Verre 184Extended Camera Exposures 186Postcamera Techniques: In Search of Lost Time 189Multiple-Exposure Methods 190Fabrication: Making Things Happen for the Camera 194Composite Variations 196Processing Manipulation: Reticulation 199Hand-Coloring 201Airbrushing 202Transfers and Stencils 206

    12. Photography and Computers 213What Is a Digital Computer? 213What Is a Digital Image? 213A Brief History of Digital Images: 1960 to 1998 214Why the Computer? 217Digital Ethics and Copyright 221Creating Digital Images 222Color Conversion/Color Matching 225Memory 227Software 227Major File Types 229Storage Media 231Digital Possibilities: Computer as

    Multimedia Platform 232Hypertext and the World Wide Web 233The End of the Wet Darkroom? 234Additional Information 235


    13. Digital Input and Output 236What Is Digital Imaging? 236Input and Output 236Output Devices: Presenting the Digital Image 241Combining Digital and Traditional Techniques 247The Future of Digital Imagemaking and the

    Expressive Imagemaker 252Additional Information 252

    Index 253

  • Preface

    placed an even greater emphasis on the conceptual thinking that makes up goodanalog and digital images, and did a majorrevision of the art program with expandedcaptions that give each artist a voice in theproceeding.

    The book presents a variety of ways ofworking with analog and digital photogra-phy in a concise, straightforward manner.This is signicant because people rarelygrow when the only example they have tomodel on is themselves. We selected thediverse subjects and themes covered basedon our experiences in teaching photography.We have found that these areas constantlyprovoke interest and questions from peoplein our classes.

    The book begins with a brief history of themajor concepts that have affected how pho-tographers make their images and a discus-sion about why we make photographs.Safety is stressed in Chapter 2. The bookthen follows the sequence of traditionalblack-and-white working processes used inthe making of analog silver-based pho-tographs. It starts with different types of lmand their processing methods, and proceedswith a variety of printmaking options. Con-ventional silver-based color materials havebeen intentionally omitted, but they can beused in place of black-and-white materials inmany instances. Next, unusual cameras andspecialized equipment are discussed. A dis-cussion of nonsilver and hand-alteredprocesses and techniques follows. Finally,the last chapters look at the expanded role

    In any act, the primary intention of him who actsis to reveal his own image.


    This book is designed for the person who has rudimentary knowledge of photographichistory and has successfully mastered thebasic technical processes of black-and-whitephotography: lm developing, printmaking,and image presentation. It is for the indi-vidual who has acquired a keen interest inphotography and desires to learn a variety ofprocesses as a means of reaching new visual goals.

    It has been ten years since I wrote theabove paragraph. Although Focal Press hadbeen requesting a revised edition for sometime, other commitments have kept me fromit. To keep this book relevant I brought on aco-author, John Valentino, with whom I havepreviously collaborated on photographicand book projects. Together we mapped out a new table of contents, and then Johndid the basic research of updating all thematerials and processes. I then edited andrewrote his new draft. The most apparentchanges from the rst edition are the col-lapsing of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 into anew single chapter. A new feature in thisedition is a series of questions and answers,based on my teaching experiences, aboutwhy people make photographs. We broad-ened our coverage of digital imaging fromone chapter to two chapters and elim-inated the Polaroid chapter, although somePolaroid materials are still covered. We


    that the