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Tradigital :: Digital Negatives

My Digital Photography II students are working on their “tradigital” projects (joining of the joys of the digital process with the joys of the traditional process), so I thought I would jump in too. I recently went in to the darkroom to make a print from a roll of film and had a unfortunate incident. I was working on a corner enlarger and my negatives slipped right down this miniscule crevice between the enlarger and the wall, meaning they were lost in the nether regions of the darkroom. I was very upset. I called the maintenance department and luckily one of the guys was really sympathetic because he is a photographer as well and knew how frustrating that would be. He took the whole table top off for me to recover the negatives. That was awesome! So, they were recovered, but needless to say, negatives don’t like dust and I don’t like dust on negatives, so to print them in the darkroom as they were would be quite a feat. So…digital negatives to save the day. I scanned them in and have started to repair them by taking the dust and scratches out digitally and making digital negatives. In Dig II class, we are using Dan Burkholder’s method of making digital negatives for silver gelatin (just a fancy word for black and white) prints. In a nutshell, you do all the manipulations in Photoshop, then apply this weird curve that makes your image look flat (because you gain more contrast when you contact print) and invert the image. Why all the fuss? Because you can do all your dodging and burning or local adjustments in Photoshop. If you have ever had to dodge and burn in the darkroom, then you know this is a plus. So, here is one digital negative and the resulting print. More to come: