Roll-over for close-up of damaged film...

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a damaged negative repaired in Lightroom and Photoshop


I used to think I was meticulous, really careful within my film developing workflow. Obviously not. (Well at least I'm "in good company" as anyone who has spent time looking thoughtfully at photographs shot and printed by almost ANY one of the 'gods of photography' at an exhibition, in a gallery can attest to having seen "important works" that have at least some of what you see here has been 'baked into' the film chosen to make the print.)

If you roll your cursor over this retouched image you can see some of the emulsion streaks left over from my film-squeegee, the lint that must have been floating in the air (in my "dust free" drying closet) and various schmutz that dried into the film so long ago.

This sort of retouching, restoration of an image is the least "joyful" activity of all the handiwork and manipulation that are a part of the service-set; BUT the results, when patiently executed and done well, can make the worthy candidate (image) a real pleasure to explore thoroughly, let one's eye wonder through the finished print.

Please NOTE: I have subtly increased 'Clarity' AND then ran my repaired image here through the Nik Collection's Silver Efex Pro plugin, BOTH with the intention of enhancing my preferred result in chemical-processing high-speed film (Tri-X/ASA 400) utilizing my favorite film developer, Rodinal, which tends to produce higher acutance in the processed negative.

As I have mentioned elsewhere in my site, unlike many photographers who always strove to make images with the least amount of film grain visible in their work (tending to shoot with "slower" film, a lower ASA rating and utilizing more "gentle" film developers than my favorite Rodinal), perhaps because I used to "pull" lithographs off of stones as a young printmaker I have always LOVED film grain – not too "chunky" mind you but, as another example to consider, the  "aquatint" process sometimes incorporated within intaglio printmaking produces in a finished print as well. Lithographs and intaglios are run through "old" hand-cranked printing presses.

For additional RESTORATION examples of old scans SEE THIS series.


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