We don’t often do print work for other people. Basically we have to like the work, the photographer, and they have to visit us in person ;-)
However, in a change from my normal photography and print work I’ve been working with photographer Paul Joyce to bring to life some of his images taken back in 1967.
Paul was lucky enough to photograph Jane Fonda on the set of the film Barbarella.
The negatives were drum scanned from 35mm film and I’ve been working on producing a set of 42″x 28″ prints for exhibition in London. [More info at the Telegraph]
There is quite a lot of work that goes into producing a print that size from a 40+ year old negative.
Film grain has a lot of small detail that you don’t want blowing up to that size of print.
or, in more detail
This shows up in big prints, so takes some care in cloning out. I’ve added a temporary steep curves layer to enhance the visibility of the grain for editing purposes. I carry out ‘repair work’ like this to the scan file, working in 16 bit mode, almost as a first step. You have to keep changing the magnification (zoom level) too, since grain unevenness shows up differently at different scales.
The uneven background lighting in the negative was smoothed out somewhat with a masked brightness/contrast layer (CS3 version of brightness/contrast)
The biggest changes in the overall ‘look’ of the image are the tonal balance and the choice of print medium, getting this right needed quite a few test prints (including the pictures you haven’t seen), one of which makes a nice change from my landscape work that adorns the office walls ;-)
Sharpening is something to be done with care, and I’ve use a masked layer with the PS ‘Smart sharpen’ filter to bring up detail in the subject without unduly enhancing the grain.
Here’s Jane’s eye at 100% from the final print file, where I’ve also used a masked curves layer to brighten parts of her eye. This is something that depends on the print size and paper type, so needs a fair amount of testing.
I’ve applied a bit of final masked print sharpening (not to the background) using Nik Sharpener Pro, just to get over the softening effect that printing has on any image.
The image was printed on Innova Smooth Cotton Natural White paper, using an Epson 9600 printer and Ultrachrome inks.
As a photographer, I want to create and print my own original images, but I’m happy to work with Paul on this project and bring my interpretation of his negatives to a wider audience. The editing work in Photoshop is not difficult, but does need a feel for how you want the image to look as a print. This is most definitely not ‘Photoshop by Numbers’!
I was 7 when his photographs were taken, and have always liked the film :-)