Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alternative Processes: Questions become answers.

From time to time we meet people that are just so curious about photography that hundreds of questions come up. Being able to provide answers to these questions means you really have some sense of what photography is. But, then there are those moments where things may have slipped your mind or its been a very long time since you last took a look at what was asked. Does this mean you don’t know a good deal about photography after all? Not at all. It just means you are are human. And as much as we would like to be able to retain every slightest bit of information we read, study, or once thought of, or possibly used to use, some times that information gets put on the back burner of your brain. A quick look at back at whatever could have slipped your mind can bring every last bit of knowledge right back to the table and give all the possible answers. Especially if you know the person asking the questions will truly appreciate you providing the answers.

So what kind of answers will I provide? Well it’s not just about answers for this post. It’s about more of an introduction to a process that yields some amazing results when the time and effort is taken to experiment with this process. Anxious to know still? Well here is an alternative process known as Lith Printing. Lith Printing, not to be confused with Lithography ( a print making process using stone or metal plates: not related to darkroom or traditional photography) can be done with a basic knowledge of how to make prints in a darkroom. There are some very unique difference in the approach to making lith prints. First, lith prints are very beautiful and can sometimes look like similar to infrared prints. But, lith prints have their own qualities that make them vey beautiful. Such as the soft highlights, deep shadows, and the grainy, semi-gritty appearance they present. Lith prints are visually pleasing to look at. So what makes doing lith prints different than traditional silver prints in the darkroom? Well, Lith Prints require you to over expose your black and white negatives  (usually by two or three f-stops) onto a special Lith paper, Foto Speed Lith Paper. The photograph is then developed using a special litho developer. This Litho Kit features everything you need to start doing your own litho prints. Lith printing takes a good deal of patience considering there is a little bit more time required in making these prints.

So in conclusion, it is always nice to be give a question that makes you go back over something you once knew and take a minute to review it, so that way you can provide the best possible answers. It also helps that you surround yourself with people that are eager to learn what you know and have a desire to sit and listen to you explain things (especially photography related) in a way that they can understand. If you are interested in trying Lith printing, I suggest you make a go at it. As you can see lith printing is very different than making silver photographs on fiber paper. More so it has a more esthetically appealing look than a sepia toned print. Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to tone A LOT of my prints ( for a short time I was known as a tone nut, because of the vast amounts of toning experiments I did) but there is just something very unique distinctive about lith prints vs. sepia toned prints. None the less each in their own respect are outstanding.

If you are not to well versed in traditional darkroom processes, have yet to step into a darkroom, or like most people either do not care to, nor want to any more. Then maybe perhaps there is still hope for you yet. There are a number of resources for Digital Lith Prints. I have a very nice book that explains a few ways to get that specific look. But, here is a link to a photoshop tutorial that explains in steps how you can easily obtain a similar look in your photographs. Take a few minutes and give it a try. I am sure you will like the results.

No comments: