I’ve been playing with the thought of making digital negatives for quite some time now. One day I’d think, hell yes that would be awesome, while the other day was more like, hell no, I prefer shooting negatives instead of inkjet-printing them. Since a couple of days I’m seriously considering this option.
The event that triggered me to look at this option in a more serious manner was the meeting I had with William Ingram the other day. He solely prints from digital negatives, platinum prints that is, and these were so awesome to look at I felt kind of baffled. This had a lot to do with the size of them, I have to admit, seeing that they were about 80 x 110cm (!). I am a sucker for large formats (photography/ paintings), always have been, and these were astonishing to behold.
However, just big and being useless in my workflow will not cut it either so I have managed to come up with a convincing argument for diving into this. I am starting to work with more contact printing processes such as albumen printing, Van Dyke process etc. and I have a ****load of 35mm and 120 film negatives laying around waiting to be printed (again). Only, traditional b+w printing is something I probably won’t ever go back to out of free will so this will give them a new purpose in life besides endlessly waiting on a bookshelf.
Another huge benefit is that I can make negatives of the same photo applicable for different processes as most of them require a specific d-max / density to get the most out of the print. Combine all of the above mentioned and I will be able to expand my workflow tremendously leaving me with even more possibilities to choose from (I already had very few). 😉
I (hopefully) have an option to buy a Epson R2880 pretty cheap so that’s my printer of choice. I hope to close the deal in the upcoming week. I’m still debating on which transparency film I’ll be working with, Agfa Copyjet, Inkpress or something, the first mentioned probably more easily available to me.
There are several options to fine-tune the workflow by using Quadtone Rip but I’m still looking into that as well. I’ve thought about following a workshop but maybe I’ll give it a go like this seeing that I can find a lot of information online, from books and from friends.
Anyway, I firstly want to improve my collodion negative-making skills but more will follow on this for sure!