Tag Archives: 8×10

Toshio Shibata Catalog

Toshio Shibata: Exhibition Catalog for Syabi Landscape ShowWe now have in stock copies of the exhibition catalog for Toshio Shibata’s Landscape retrospective at The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, which sadly ends this week.

Featuring all 72 works from the show, this catalog is an excellent way to have both Shibata’s older black and white and newer color landscape work in one volume — especially when some of Shibata’s previous photo books are quite expensive on the used market.

We also still have copies of Still in the Night, a small volume of Shibata’s early work done at night at different expressway service areas (rest stops) and toll interchanges. This is a limited-quantity item and sure to be a collectible in the future.

To be sure, the Landscape exhibition catalog includes some of this night work so if you had to settle for just one, the catalog would be the better deal.

Click on the above photo to see the bookstore page for the catalog, of you can view all Shibata books we have.

Making contacts

Contact printing with the ISE Contact Printer and Fuji Rembrant VAs I have written a short while ago I am busy preparing some prints for a small exhibition. After good results with the Fuji TONE Gaslight contact printing paper it was time now to produce some display quality fibre prints. I have not printed on fibre paper for at least ten years so was anxious to get things done on time.

I need not have worried. To create my prints I used Fuji Bromide Rembrant V variable grade fibre based paper. The paper comes in two weights, single weight (F) and double weight (G). I went for the double weight variant in 10×12 inch size. This lets me contact print the 8×10 negative while leaving a thick white border around the image area, which is visually pleasing and should come in handy for matting or mounting.

The other key tool for successful contact printing was the ISE Multiple Contact Printer. ISE makes these contact printers in 10×12 and 8×10 sizes. Most of them have markings for film strips in 120 or 35mm formats, but there is also a free size version with unmarked glass – ideal for sheet film contacts. The bottom is foam to ensure even pressure across the print and the glass lid locks into place with a latch. To achieve the white border, I cut a window in the thin black sheet of cover paper that comes with the paper to protect its surface. The window has the exact size of the 8×10 negative and also helps centering the negative on the paper. The unexposed edge of the film sheet is also included, which means you see a black border around the image area including the film coding.

The light source is my trusty Kaiser VC 35 enlarger from Germany, which as a drawer multi-grade contrast filters. I put the head on maximum height and de-focus it slightly as to not accidentally enlarge grains of dust sitting on the condensor, which will baffle you when trying to clean the contact printer’s glass and the negative itself over and over without improvement. When printing on TONE Gaslight paper the lens is wide open and results in base exposure times of around 90 seconds. The Rembrant paper is a lot more sensitive, so the lens needs be stopped down and the resulting times are under 10 seconds to allow ample time for dodging and burning. The key to efficient printing on fibre with its extended processing times is the prior work print on the TONE Gaslight paper. Once you understand the relationship between exposure times of the two papers you simply need to convert the time for base and burn exposures and you can achieve excellent prints using just a single or two sheets. Of course you can then also do split-grade exposures to add some punch. You can see the dry set up in the image above.

I am very pleased with the results of the Rembrant V papers. The tones are very pleasing and so is the air-dried surface. Curling is manageable with some pressure for a day or so.

Well, with the prints done well ahead of time all that is now left to do for me is matting and they are ready for display from the 16th this month!

Print and image

I am currently preparing some images for printing in a self-published book. The material is all shot with the 8×10 camera and the very technical question arises on how to bring this into the digital form for printing. Should I scan the negatives or the contact prints?

Clearly there are technical qualities and considerations. A negative always holds more information than a print, even though at zero enlargement that may not be such a big problem. Conceptually, however, the negative is raw material while the print is the finished image and it may be difficult to make the digital equivalent achieve the same visual impression as the contact print.

The next logical question is whether such a divergence is an issue for the photographer. Do I consider myself a print maker with great emphasis on the distinct look and feel of the resulting artifact, or am I an image maker with a primary interest to have the image seen in one in many forms I am comfortable with? There probably isn’t a clear decision between one or other extremes and it may even vary between different projects and images. But it is certainly helpful to be aware of the distinction and my own position in it.

Fujifilm 利根 WP/Gaslight Paper


Finally I found the Fuji TONE WP printing paper for contact printing. I have to add that I have not wet printed for a long time and especially never with the Fuji materials (paper developer today was Fuji Super-Korectol-L). 

First things first: it is an RC paper, medium weight and it is glossy. That probably violates several commandments of the fine art photography world. This is probably a disappointment for some people, but not for me. Here’s why:

Like meeting a rude person, what first strikes you is the lack of sensitivity of this paper. My other stock (Fuji Bromide, RC, graded) had exposures between 1-2s with my setup, which is why I have a darkroom timer hooked up to the bulb. With this paper I exposed for 100-150 seconds! Yes, that is very long but I found it gives me amazing precision for exposure (no fractions of seconds to worry about) and even a kitchen timer will do. The lack of sensitivity should also be beneficial for people with makeshift darkrooms that are not totally light tight (within reason).


So for me this paper will become my new standard stock at least for work prints and proofing. It helped me already making better prints because of the longer exposures. You can dodge as much as you want in that time period and really look at the negative in the contact printer while thinking what to do with it.

The prints themselves show a very pleasant tonality as far as I am concerned. Contrast just right for me at grade 3 (a matter of taste and how your negatives look like; I have seen last stocks of grade 2 version, but going forward it will only be made in 3). The image is crisp and blacks are rich and deep where you want them. Overall the grey is nice and neutral. This is a very user-friendly paper for contact printing and I am very pleased with it. Unfortunately I was told earlier this week that Fuji paper prices will go up by 10-20% in summer so I will stock up a bit.

As always, this Japan-only product is on sale in the Japan Exposures Webshop.