Just when you think the new process is easily repeatable….

…because the digital age of photo prints is now very good.

NOT! entirely true.

It is very good, just not as easy to get the exact duplicate that I expected. Duh.

I am a photographer. I spent at least 8 years in the darkroom just about every day for a job and health insurance. I consider myself a fairly good black/white printer. Then I taught for 23 years, slowly integrating digital media into the wet darkroom work. It was the only safe way to work with color photography and the world of photo was quickly changing.

Several weeks ago, I needed to re-print 2 black and white digital files from 2007. Scans of negatives from the 1930s taken in Spain by Ramon Rius, a baker by trade and an amateur photographer. I had worked out a system then using Quadtone RIP for b/w inkjet printers that produced a very nice print with very little color cast to it. I assumed that it would be very easy to make an exact duplicate….wrong! I have a new printer since then. I ran many tests using the Quadtone RIP and the ImagePrint grey profiles. The same paper. OY!!! Can’t get the match to the older print! More grey inks in the printer? Finer “resolution” in the inkjets? Both the contrast and the color cast are not the same, and I can’t spend days getting the perfect match.

This is not to say that the wet processes would give me the match. This summer I chose to print in the darkroom and many of the paper manufacturers had changed, gone out of business, etc.

But I’m still having fun getting the print to look just the way I want it.

Spanish Civil War, Ramon Rius, Lleida, Cataluna


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