Printing your negatives to match your visualisation

I used to have a period of time in my life when I loved the total control of what I can achieve while printing my negatives in the darkroom. For this reason, I used to prefer fairly soft, less contrasty negatives, for which I have also adjusted my negative process.

On one of the occasions, I went with my friends fellow photographers Miroslav Pokorny and BobrB to Dartmoor in January. It was a dull, almost no-light day out there with about 10cm of fresh snow.

The picture in this post was taken by Mira Pokorny. When we returned back home to my darkroom, we cooked the negs, using my then preferred developer, agitation & time. The negs were as expected – dull & soft.

I told Mira I will try to print them. I did a lot of jiggery-pokery there below the enlarger, did a bit of split-grade printing on a multigrade paper (most of the exposure time with #5 filter).

The result was quite nice, given the light conditions. Truth to be told, whenever I visit Mira, he says to me he’s not able to print them himself, but the one I did for him was completely how he visualized the result.


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