The Darkroom
Printing From Glass Plates; It’s Definitely Worth The Effort

After looking at the prints I had just given her, my neighbor Genevieve said, "I have never seen prints of these photographs before."

It all started when she showed me a box of 6x4.5cm glass plates from 1923-'35. It was a collection of family photos of her father, aunt, and uncle when they were small children. In France glass plates were used for far longer than in the US. I offered to make a few prints for her, partly as a favor, but mostly because I had never worked with glass plates and I wanted to.

Baby in romper suit: Genevieve's father. Enlarged onto Ilford's Multigrade Warmtone.

At first I thought about making only contact prints. Because of the weight of the glass plate, all you have to do is lay plates of similar densities on a sheet of photographic paper and you can print several plates at once. Or if I want to be thoroughly authentic, I have a couple of 6x4.5cm contact printing frames. But 6x4.5cm prints are pretty tiny. How much more fun to have enlargements!

The negative carrier from my Meopta Magnifax is perfect for this application. It is a 6x9cm (about 21/2x31/4"), sandwich-type double glass carrier. The glasses are inserts, so you can work with a single glass (top or bottom) or use the carrier glassless. The sandwich will take materials up to about 5mm thick (just under 1/4") with both top and bottom glass. These 6x4.5cm plates are only about 1mm thick, so they can be placed in the carrier just like any other medium format negative. There are masking blades in the carrier, so it can be masked down from 6x9cm to 6x4.5cm.

It is always important when you work with a glass carrier to make sure that you have it scrupulously clean. I use Kinetronics antistatic brushes and cloths to do this. The brushes are soft and can also be used on glass plates (or other negs). A few minutes spent cleaning the surfaces before you print can save you hours of retouching later.

To keep the number of surfaces to a minimum, I chose to work with the plates supported on the lower glass of the negative carrier. Normally when you use a single glass, you should use an Anti-Newton glass above the negative, but I needed the lower glass to support the plate.

The hopelessly thin, contrasty image is (believe it or not) the best I could get from the scanner. The other is a contact print on Ilford's Multigrade Warmtone. The base exposure is at Grade 0.5 and the left-hand side is burned in one stop at Grade 0. The only real hope for a negative such as this is POP.

With any collection of old negatives, glass or acetate, you are likely to be working with extremes of density and contrast. Few photographers used exposure meters; most of the meters available were not very accurate; and the general inclination was to err, whenever possible, on the side of generous exposure. But "whenever possible" was not necessarily very often: H&D 350 (roughly equivalent to ISO 15) was regarded as fast, and plenty of people used plates of H&D 200 (ISO 8) or below. In addition, f/3.5 was a fast lens: f/6.3 was quite common. Even in brilliant sun, 1/50 sec wide-open at f/6.3 might be the optimum exposure. On overcast days, handheld exposure could be a distinct embarrassment.

As for contrast, many people still developed their plates by inspection, under a red light, and some were better at this than others: many produced negatives that were pale and wan, while others went for contrast that looks halfway to lith to a modern eye. Combine generous exposure with generous development and you get a negative which was, in the phrase of the day, "bulletproof." It's also true that ortho plates (non-red-sensitive) and "ordinary" plates (blue-sensitive only) can play strange tricks with tonality, not just flesh tones but also skies, red woods such as mahogany, brick... They are not inherently contrastier, but they were often developed that way.

This didn't necessarily matter. Most negatives were still printed out on Printing-Out Paper (POP) which needs a high-contrast negative and which has no problem with either very high densities or very high contrast. For high densities you just exposed the print for longer--one celebrated negative in the researches of Hurter and Driffield reputedly took three days--and POP has an inherent self-masking ability: as density builds in the more exposed areas of the print, it masks the silver halide behind it, while density continues to build at the same speed as before in the less exposed areas. This magically compresses the tonal range to exactly what the paper can handle and explains why so many ancient prints are so wonderful.

A well processed and archivally washed plate will last a very long time, quite possibly for centuries if it is protected from fire, flood, and gelatin-eating insects or fungus, but badly fixed or badly washed plates may well fade.

You therefore have three options. One is to go for POP (which is still available) and do it the way our ancestors did. This is best for the aforementioned "bulletproof" negatives but is a subject for a future column, in which I shall talk about producing negatives for POP as well as the techniques of POP printing and toning.

The second option is printing on variable-contrast paper--and you may well need the extremes that are available to you, from Grade 00 to Grade 5. This is ideal for the vast majority of negatives, even the ones that are thin and weak. And the third option, to which I shall return in a moment, is scanning. Scanning is really only suitable for less dense, less contrasty negatives.

Share | |
texas best's picture

I had never worked with glass plates and I wanted to.piso de hule

lichfieldestateagents's picture

If you are in doubt you might make some comparisons of property which have earlier been sold in the location and also have been evaluated by a mortgage loan surveyor. This assistance regularly arises from a actual estate agent. Your past qualifications will throw a flood of sunshine in your general personality. They are genuinely the ideal true estate agents. The Internet site should prominently show your make contact with data as nicely as every one of the services your business can offer to them. lichfield estate agents

zeta1's picture

I love the opinions that you have added to this piece I really like to read your blog.
Tapetes antiderrapantes

kitty05's picture

I am very thankful to all your team for sharing such inspirational information.
Renaissance Artist - Raphael

asim's picture

No one in the world is able to aid you with papers completing better than famous writing service can do. Hence, that is ok if you buy essay papers "" from the reliable custom company.

seoindia's picture

   I was very pleased to find this site. I wanted to thank you for
this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have
you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. 
Led Strip Lights
Led Strip Light
12V Led Lights
Indoor Led Strip Lights
Outdoor Led Strip Lights
12V Transformers
Led tea lights candles
Rechargeable tea lights candles
Colour changing led candles
Led Power Supplies
LED Transformers
Led Connectors
Led Gu10 lights
Led G4 Lights
Led Mr16 lights
Led Mr11 Lights
Transformer for LED Lights
LED Rope Lights
LED Sticker Lights
Dental Tourism
Laser Hair Removal
conservatory prices
diy conservatory
diy conservatories
conservatories prices
lean to conservatory
lean to conservatories
self build conservatories
self build conservatories
self build conservatory
jungian analysis
jungian analyst jungian
analysis new york
jungian analyst new york
carl jung analysis
carl jung analysis new york carl
jung psychotherapy
carl jung therapy
carl jung therapy new york
jungian therapy
jungian therapy new york jungian
dream interpretation
jungian psychotherapy
dealing with a narcissist
dealing with
narcissistic personality

definition of
healing narcissism
living with a narcissist
meaning of narcissistic
narcissism and healing
narcissism and
narcissistic behavior
narcissistic dad
narcissistic father
narcissistic father/mother

narcissistic mom
narcissistic mother
narcissistic parent
narcissistic person
narcissistic personality
narcissistic personality disorder in
narcissistic symptoms
narcissistic women
narcissistic men
therapy for narcissism
security systems chicago
security cameras chicago
cctv installations chicago
billing software
quotation software
, quotation software

SEO Service India offering economical and affordable
SEO COMPANY INDIA services to clients worldwide.
Best Seo Company India
Cheapest SEO India
Affordable SEO India
White Hat SEO India
Ethical SEO Services India
capoeira beginners sydney
capoeira western suburbs
martial arts sydney
capoeira classes sydney
capoeira australia
capoeira sydney
learn capoeira sydney
capoeira kids sydney


alarm system takeover
alarm system take over
no contract
alarm monitoring

cheap alarm monitoring central vacuum systems

central vacuum systems

residential intercom systems

commercial intercom
building intercom systems

flat screen tv
lcd tv tv installations

chicago in-wall speaker
room sound installations

projector room

surround sound wiring
sound wiring chicago

home theater wiring
construction low voltage wiring

new construction
low voltage wiring chicago

new home prewire
residential network wiring

alarm system
home security systems chicago

security systems
alarm systems apartment
security cameras

chicago apartment
security systems

chicago retail security

chicago bank security and surveillance

chicago school security

security system

adt alarm chicago
adt home security chicago
security systems chicago
wireless home alarms

chicago land surveillance system home security

adt security
chicago security business
home theater

chicago suburb surveillance and security

video surveillance

cctv camera chicago

chicago community
surveillance systems

cctv installations

chicago office security systems

Bitcoin Casino
surveillance camera
systems chicago

home surveillance system
surveillance systems chicago

surveillance camera
system chicago

wireless surveillance
system chicago

home surveillance systems
surveillance system chicago

surveillance system chicago

home alarm systems

chicago home alarm

chicago security system

surveillance systems

home alarm systems chicago

security cameras

chicago home security systems

chicago security cameras

security camera chicago
house alarm systems

home security system chicago

security system chicago
residential camera
systems chicago
cameras chicago

chicago security systems
home theater
systems chicago

SEO Service India
Best Seo Company India
Cheapest SEO India
Affordable SEO India
White Hat SEO India
Ethical SEO Services India

Men designer shoes Nigeria
Women dresses Nigeria
Women fashion accessories Nigeria
Indian Costumes Nigeria
Women lace bodycon dresses
Men designer Sneakers Nigeria
Women designer bags Nigeria
Women Leather bags Nigeria
Women underwears Nigeria Football
Jerseys Nigeria
Long evening gown
Indian fashion materials Nigeria
Original Peruvian Hair Nigeria
Original Supra Sneakers Nigeria
Women Fashion colar necklace Nigeria
Authentic women clothes Lagos Nigeria Indian
Wedding Suits Lagos Nigeria
Fabrics Lagos Nigeria
Cheap Women
Leather Bags Nigeria
Branded Hobo bags
Plus size women shoes
Plus size women clothes Nigeria
Plus Size women fashion costumes Nigeria
Ladies shoes Nigeria
Wedding ring Nigeria
Men Suits Nigeria
Women corporate wears Nigeria
Women short dresses Party Dress Nigeria
Maxi dress Nigeria

quotation software
cambridge guide, cambridge travel,
hotels in cambridge,visit cambridge,
Arlington Heights Security Systems

Laser Hair Removal Delhi
Transplant Delhi

creatin kaufen
natuerliche potenzmittel
acai beere
acai diaet
acai 6000
moringa kapseln
moringa pulver
Web Design Dublin
Web Design Galway
Web Design Cork
SEO Company Ireland
Web Design Ireland
Web Design Company
Web Design Donegal
Web Design Sligo
Web Design Athlone
Web Design Northern Ireland
Web Design Ireland
Ecommerce web design
Online Shop Design
Web Design Cavan SEO

jquery sliderr
responsive sliderr
content sliderr
image sliderr
jquery carouseljquery carousel 
profumeria  Handy
Reparatur Bremen
Display Reparatur Bremen

Iphone 5 Display Reparatur

Samsung Galaxy S3 Display Reparatur

Samsung Galaxy S4 Display
Ipad Display
Ipod 5 Display
Htc Handy
Display Reparatur
Iphone 4
Display Reparatur
Reparatur Service
Galaxy S2 Display Reparatur

Apple Iphone 5 Display Glas Reparatur

Htc One Display Reparatur
Samsung S3 LTE I9305 Display
Iphone Display
Reparatur Bremen

personalized baby gifts
baby gifts
baby gift baskets  unique
baby gifts
baby blankets
baby towels

Mobile app development singapore,
android app development singapore, iOS app
development singapore

Mobile app development malaysia,
android app development malaysia,
iphone app development Malaysia,
ipad app development Malaysia,
ios app development malaysia
salon delhi
app development company malaysia
leadmotion malaysia
parlour delhi
, Minibus hire Glasgow
Minibus hire in Glasgow
Coach hire Glasgow
Coach hire in Glasgow
Glasgow minibus hire
Glasgow coach hire
Minibus hire Glasgow
airport Minibus hire Glasgow with driver
 Minibus hire  Coach
Bus hire Glasgow
16 seater minibus hire Glasgow
Glasgow bus hire
Wedding coach hire Glasgow 
geburtskarten ,
geburtskarten online ,
geburtsanzeigen ,
geburtskarten selber gestalten ,
geburtskarte selber machen,
danksagungskarten , einladungskarten ,
fotokarten ,
fotokarten selber gestalten ,
babykarten ,
hochzeitskarten ,
hochzeitskarten online gestalten ,
karten drucken ,
geburtstagseinladung online gestalten ,
geburtstagskarte   tshirts 
, t-shirt   ,
 t-shirts  ,shirt
  , t-shirt kaufen  ,
t-shirt druck
  , t-shirt bedrucken ,
t-shirt gestalten ,
 t-shirt selber gestalten ,
.t-shirt selber machen ,
.t-shirt online shop ,
t-shirt online gestalten ,
t-shirt online designen
, t-shirt drucken
  , t-shirt design
extensões de unhas 
o melhor curso de unhas
gel de construção
cursos de unhas de gel
produtos para unhas 
fashion nails
fulfillment services
3rd party logistics  fulfillment
service online
fulfillment company
e commerce fulfillment
product fulfillment
chicago fulfillment
fulfillment companies 
fulfillment and distribution  midwest
fulfillment houses
order fulfillment
fulfillment center
pack and
ship logistics
wine fulfillment
 fulfillment house
parcel shipping
international shipping
third party logistics
fulfillment warehousing
wine shipping
supply chain management
illinois fulfillment
adwords management company
seo company reading
seo company berkshire 
pay per click company
 mobile website design 
bee scorecard
scorecard bee
bee and bbbee compliancy
bbbee compliancy
bee scorecards in south africa 
bee certification
bee certificates
bee consultants  SEO
hong kong escort
hong kong escorts
escort hk
hk escort
escort hong kong
escort in hong kong
hong kong escort in service
hong kong escort agency
the best hong kong escort
escort hong kong service
hong kong massage service
hong kong escort massage
escort service hong kong
escort massage service hong kong
hongkong escorts

SaifulAnas's picture

Thank you for the information you share, this information is very useful for me ...

I hope you also read my article .... "Baby Gender".

SaifulAnas's picture

Hopefully with his existing article that you write can be useful for the readers ...
"Cream Anisa".

id_web_design's picture

While reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality. Keep sharing such excellent post like this in future too. Thanks for posting this.

orbitbeam's picture

Our dedicated home theaters are conceived to deliver superior audio and video performance within a repeatable process. Our packages are chosen for room size and/or budget, and then every system is engineered for that specific room, delivering the best possible performance. We design, sell, install, program and calibrate custom made high-end home theaters using top end audio and video systems and equipment

cobajadiblogger's picture

Pretty adequate post. I merely stumbled aloft your web log and basic to say that I acquire extremely enjoyed annual your web log posts How to determine baby gender

Web Design 2's picture

Wonderful article! People that visit go through your current content will quickly realize a great deal of valuable along with helpful guidelines.


Web Design 2's picture

I enjoyed reading your article and found it to be informative and to the point. Thank you for not rambling on and on just to fill the page


clippingpath's picture

hello there and thank you in your info ? I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here.

Clipping Path

Enter your Shutterbug username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.