Tuesday, 17 July 2007

An interesting exercise

Blogs have been intermittent recently as I've got my parents visiting, which inevitably means I can't spend as much time with the photo work as normal. One spin-off, however, has been the small assignment they've asked me to do.

Next month my parents celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary (we should all last so long) and wanted some of their wedding photos on display for the big day. As a result, I've been scanning some of their wedding album, retouching and reprinting. Everything is in black and white, which makes it a little easier - there were only a few colour shots taken that day 40 years ago: "colour was only just coming in" was my Mum's observation.

Several things have been interesting about it. Firstly are the high resolution reflective scans. The V750 does a nice job - easily able to out-resolve the prints -, the dust & scratch tool works as advertised and the overall quality is very high. I settled on 1200dpi scans as offering the limit of detail and grain suppression. The textured matt surfaces throw up quite a lot of grain/luminance noise in scanning.
This leads to the second observation - how much film & print have moved on in 40 years. These are good quality prints. Having been stored in an archival album, in the loft, in a box, there is no fading, curling etc. However, every bit of grain in the film is apparent and the level of resolution returned is nothing compared to modern materials. In a couple it is hard to tell whether it is a lack of critical focus or lack of film capability that is limiting.
Final observation is that even with all these limitations, the photos touch up very nice in digital. Scan, dust removal (PS dust & scratch tool), contrast, levels are all that's needed to bring the scans up. I'm only making 12" prints which means de-ressing the scans followed by final sharpening. I only ran 1 print last night but the result was a finer print than the original; of course no more detail but a generally more pleasing result (I think).

One of the prints I'm working on is one of the original proofs, which is made on much lower quality materials. It's curled, yellowed and has PROOF stamped across it. Despite that, I'm able to produce a good result and even remove the stamp mark with some careful

I wonder how photographers of the future will look back on our efforts today? Will things move on such that they will make similar observations to me?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I like comments, especially constructive ones.
Comments get emailed directly to me before publishing , so if you want to get in touch drop a comment.
All comments moderated by me before being published, keeps the spam at bay.