Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Digital Black and white printing

As a photographer, I have always felt helpless once an image has been shot. I had very little or no control over the final print.

I am printing for my next exhibition Tete-a-tete and I am very happy with the results. All the images were originally shot on the Hassleblad on black and white nfilm. The negatives for the exhbition were then scanned on an Epson 4990 scanner and touched-up in Photoshop CS2. I am using a power Mac as my editing machine. Finally I made my prints on the Epson 4800, printing on Textured Fine Art Paper. In my heart of hearts, I know that I can still improve. It takes time to master any art. However, the images come closes to what I have envisioned in my mind. I had a trial with the Epson 4000 which came close but the prints from the 4800 are truly beautiful. But then, I could be biased. :)

With the way chemical black and white printing is going, I am happy there is a new way to print good black and white prints. Kodak has stopped making black and white paper. Ilford and Agfa still produce black and white paper but face a very difficult market and quite often have financial difficulties.

I think that the digital prints and the silver halide prints each have their own charm, but now digital prints are not beneath silver halide prints. And there is a convenience to being a digital printer. No darkroom chemicals and repeatability issues. Don't be fooled into thinking that it is paradies though. There are problems with computer drivers and calibration.

If you are interested, my exhibition starts on the 16 Sept. More details can be found at the objectifs website.

My next objective is to find out how to create good black and white images from digital colour files. I have somehow not optimised the conversion from colour to black and white. The images look flat. It could also be an issue that my image manipulations is still not good enough, but I feel that images scanned from black and white negatives still have more kick. I burn and dodge both digital and film scanned images, but the film scanned ones look better.

Well, the journey continues.

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