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Saturday, 21 September 2013


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Looks like Salgado's printer is running the show from behind the darkroom curtain here (pun intended)! (:-)

I'm sorry but I get a strong urge to say "Yeah, right ..." when I see this:

"1. Shoot with a digital camera
2. RAW demosaic (+ exposure correction, I suspect)
3. Process with DxO Film Pack for Kodak TriX 400 or TMax 3200 film simulation.
4. Print that image to a 35mm technical film internegative (so you have a real negative whose image simulates his favorite old films without adding grain).
5. Print the internegative to silver halide paper in Parisian darkroom using his regular printer* (with dodging and burning for the Salgado look)."

The reason being I find it difficult to understand why someone who obviously at this stage can easily afford a Leica S2 but in any case an M Typ 240 even, knowing in fact that Leica has him let's say on their "gift" list, would go to all the trouble of then copying an excellent digital RAW file to a mere 35mm negative to thus "achieve" a film look.
I'm suspicious of "marketing types" having a hand in this one, sorry ...

Further discussion prompted me to consider certain facts; such as collectors' not taking to inkjet prints over the traditional wet system and that Salgado's work entails the collaboration of his personal printer in Paris.
Many galleries accept the complete digital process including inkjet prints and even "aluminum sandwiches" so-to-speak, if they see a sale. If someone like Salgado wishes to maintain a certain look in his work whilst embracing the advantages of the digital medium I'm sure there are better ways than "downgrading" from an excellent RAW file to a 35mm negative, just to get the print into a developer tray ...

Mike, try printing a computer-generated negative from a digital file (color or B&W capture) onto a transparency film like PictoricoPro. I've been using the 11x17 size to contact print on 16x20 (the fiber paper is hard to find even in Denver) and am getting really nice results. Got me back into the darkroom!

I naver cared much about DxO Film Pack (despite being a happy DxO Pro 8 user) or Nik Silver Efex. I used to think if I wanted the film look, I should shoot film - until, that is, I read this interesting article. The workflow proposed by Sebastião Salgado does make a lot of sense, and so does the reasoning that carrying film in Salgado's shooting travels is not practical.
Ultimately it's the results that count, and they're marvellous. The other day I was at a bookshop and browsed through Salgado's latest album, "Gênesis". Looking at Sebastião Salgado's pictures is always a pleasure. Not only they describe human condition powerfully, but the sheer visual pleasure I get from the abundance of contrasts, detail and tones is unique. Sebastião Salgado is one of the two or three photography geniuses still alive, and one whose work I've been following from long ago. I hope he keeps photographing for many, many years.

Thought I'd play with it, but Version 3 appears to be incompatible with Windows 8. I usually try to avoid being an early adopter, but a hard disc crash forced my hand.

Just so everyone knows, the installer will not install for Lightroom 5. Apparently theres a way to install it manually but I haven't found any info on how to do that as of yet...

This is great - thank you

I recently held Genesis in my hands for the first time, and it is in a word... Stunning! Absolutely stunning- visually, aesthetically, you name it.

That sense of absolute awe and grandeur came crashing down however, upon discovering that all that beauty, all that grandeur- the entire magnificent paean to humanity and the natural world was in no small part funded by Vale, "a Brazilian mining corporation that in 2012 was voted the worst company for human rights and environmental credentials."

It boggles the mind that such a massive undertaking, such a monumental documentation of this planet's remaining natural wonder was allowed to be funded by one of the most potent entities that is actively destroying what remains of it! And to think that Salgado knowingly participated in and defended this arrangement still makes me queasy. Is is unconscionable, unethical, indefensible.

Once again, one of the small handfuls of humans that points us in the right direction has shown that even he is not immune to the well monied lure of that which corrupts and destroys the very sanctity of what he professes to preserve and pay homage to! And this over the top, grandiose "workflow" is but a small testament as to how some of those planet dissolving dollars were spent.

Yes, being human is being born a hypocrite and a liar- I stand guilty of all three. But where we take it from there, what we do and the path we take to hopefully better ourselves, our environment and those around us is what will ultimately define us. We all pollute, we all degrade this planet just by living in it, but someone in Salgado's position would have had other options- even if they were somewhat humbler and a tad less grandiose. Now, whenever I look at his million dollar images, I realize the cost of that beauty; a beauty and testament that will forever be tainted.


[I'll allow this, but the post is about DxO Film Pack and Salgado's workflow, not even about the book Genesis, and I don't want the comments to dissolve into disputation over these not-very-closely-related related political and ethical issues. --Mike the Moderator]

The question is: Where can one get that type of interneg made?

What a great marketing idea. Give the customer a free un-upgradable copy and on the download page include a link to a discounted new version. I'll bet they get a few people who would not otherwise use their product to try it out (like me) and of those I'll bet they get a few that like it and buy the discounted version 4. Are you listening Adobe? Nah, didn't think so.

Wow! I'm now especially impressed with the quality of the prints in the book.

Because, really -- what an absurd workflow!

If Salgado could still shoot real Tri X, he would do it without an afterthought. The fact is, for him it has become too much of a problem.
Regarding his workflow - I think it is flawed, because it makes no sense to make a "straight" internegative from a digitally "converted" to Tri X image, and then give it to a poor chap in a darkroom to wrestle with, under an enlarger.
It makes much more sense, if anything, to do all your dodging, burning and spotting in PS, and then send the file to the same Paris lab, which will then make a real baryta photographic print out of it, with the benefit, that everything is controlled by the photographer.
Finally, let's demystify once and for all, you cannot create a "Tri X " look out of a digital file any more, than you can create a Chateau Margaux out of a Coca Cola.

m3photo: the raw file is not copied to "a mere 35mm negative", but to a medium format 645 negative. This is according to the page titled "An Evening with with Sebastião Salgado" (the "Interview" link above).

Sure, Sebastião's digital > film negative > darkroom print workflow is the logical way to do it.

But how on earth do __ I __ do step # 4 (Print that image to a 35mm technical film internegative.) at home. ("Image" in this context must mean "digital file".)

And why print to a film negative? Why not convert the digital file to a digital _negative_ file and print directly to photographic paper? Like we did when we used films and enlargers.

I and my old dark room work horse would be most grateful for usable solutions

Regarding the caption in the picture of Salgado and Lula: Luis Inácio Lula da Silva is the former president of Brazil. The current brazilian president since the last election in 2010 is Dilma Roussef.

[Don't you refer to former presidents using their title? In the U.S.A. you would properly say "President Jimmy Carter," not "former President Jimmy Carter." --Mike]

Works fine in Lightroom 5.2 on my I Mac .installed just fine, no problems.

Well, since switching to film five years back, I've been using a Nikon scanner to digitize my negatives. However, I recently bought an enlarger, and, after hopefully surmounting some logistical barriers, I will be on my way to making wet prints for the first time ever. This said, I have a number of digital-only files from my Canon 350D days, and there are a couple of these files that I might put through the internegative/silver halide process. But first, I need to tackle the basics with the numerous negatives piled up.

My activate numbers never arrived.

Dear m3p, marek, & DDB,

No, not absurd at all. Lemme 'splain...

Here's what Sebastiao gets out of this--

First, he gets to photograph digitally, the benefits of which clearly suit him (and which don't suit everyone, but that ain't his concern).

Second, the rest of his personal workflow changes almost nothing from when he was using film-- just the importing of RAW files and running a plug-in, for which I bet he has presets adjusted just the way he likes. This is really important! The description looks Rube-Goldbergish from the outside, but it's slick from the inside.

Third, he gets results that look **sufficiently** like his film work to make him happy. Again, might not suit everyone, but again, not his concern. He's the artist, he gets to decide his aesthetic. Whether he likes that because that kind of tonal placement is how he sees the world, photographically, or because he wants consistency with his earlier work, I dunno. His business, not mine.

Fourth, he gets silver gelatin prints. Again, one has to assume he really likes the s-g look or wants the work to look consistent with his earlier work. That look cannot be duplicated by any inkjet printer with current technology. Not saying it's better or worse, objectively, just that it ain't the same and if that's what he really likes...

Fifth, he gets to work with his favorite printer. I've read descriptions of what Voja will do while making a print. Trust me, 99.99% of the printers on the planet can't do what Voja does. Voja's one of the best damn printers on the planet. I'm one of the best damn printers on the planet, and I can't do what he does (in B&W). 99.999% of the photographers can't.

So, no, it's not just a matter of "why doesn’t he make his life simple by doing everything in a digital workflow and make all the printing corrections in Photoshop?" A lovely theory that is elegant in the ideal world and is impractical-to-impossible to execute in the real world.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Dear Mark,

Color 3 Lab in San Francisco (Google-able) does this kind of work. Run by two friends of mine, they've done it for a couple if my clients who needed me to work my Photoshoppy magic on their photographs before printing but want darkroom prints as the final result.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com


I've installed it on Windows 8 (32bit) and it works fine (running as a standalone program).

I can certainly see the benefits of engaging a printer of that quality, and since he only does darkroom printing that to some extent forces other choices.

The other thing that "makes sense" to me is the desire to mix these images with earlier (film) images and not have the looks clash.

My point, really, was that the quality of the final results in the book (I haven't ever seen original prints) was especially impressive given the somewhat twisty path taken to get there.

The March 2013 issue of the British Journal of Photography has a very in depthe article about Salgado's Genesis and goes through the workflow.

In summary when the project began Salgado was shooting Tri-X on 35mm Leicas and Pentax 645. The film was chosen for its grain, contrast and the quality of highlight and shaddow detail. Kodak made some changes in the way Tri-X was produced and this altered the contrast range. Everything looked smoother and less contrasty. So Salgado switched to Canon EOS1Ds MkIII in 2008 after experimenting with a number of cameras in both 35mm and medium format.

In the field he shoots to two cards and does not preview the images so as to save power. On return to Paris contact sheets are made and a an initial selection of images are made from those which are then printed as 5x7 work prints from which further editing down takes place. The images are then run through DXO and a lot of the dodging and burning takes place. Once happy the images are then output via a film writer to 5x4 Ilford Delta negatives. Exhibition silver prints are made and collectors limited editions are either platinum printed or inkjet printed.

So the reason was to maintain the contiuity of the look, the later digital images had to match those shot on film at the beginning of the project. Is it worth it? In my opinion (not that it's ever counted for anything) is yes the images I have seen are sublime.

Forgot to add the article says his printer is Dominique Granier for the silver based prints and Paul and Max Caffel at Studio 31 in London have done the collectors editions.

Dear Mike,

Can't resist the nitpick but, no, "President Jimmy Carter" is formally wrong. It is the term for the office holder, not an honorary title one wears for life. The proper reference is "Mr. Jimmy Carter" or "former president Jimmy Carter," and the correct form of personal address is "Mr. Carter."

pax / Ctein

I was quoting from:
"4. Print that image to a 35mm technical film internegative (so you have a real negative whose image simulates his favorite old films without adding grain)."
In any case not even a 645 negative will do. When I switched to digital back in the day for my aerial work precisely from 645 format I bought what was then the best I could get my hands on; a Canon 1Ds. The files from that were more workable than what I had been getting from the larger film - what is available today easily surpasses that of course. If they tell me Salgado takes a RAW file from a Leica M10 and transfers it to a 8x10 negative, then I'll start to get the picture ... (pun intended, of course)

About two months ago, I saw a number of prints from Genesis, at a gallery in Santa Monica, which I assume is one of the galleries representing Salgado. A number of prints were poster size and larger. I have no idea who did these particular blowups, however, I was astounded at the poor quality, over grained appearance, and smudged detail of a number of them. I've been a Salgado admirer for years, a photographer with a passion for B&W most of my life, and a dud in the darkroom - therefore an early adopter and enthusiastic follower of digital.

Went to see a Helmut Newton exhibit locally the next day. Many same sized, many larger prints as Salgado. Yes I know Newton loved the Rollei
2 1/4 format, but many snaps of him show a significant number of different
of 35mm cameras in use. In fact, in the later years, i believe he was known
for shooting whatever was at hand, or sponsored - usually film.

What a difference between these similar sized exhibition prints! Discount the subject matter, and allow that one of the " damned best printers on the planet " was the printer of both, I need Ctein to please explain
or rationalize this.
I know you probably didn't see either exhibition - please take my very
surprised word that if the Newton stuff was a consistent 9 in print quality, many of the Salgado were 7 or less.

Mike, just an FYI. Over on RangefinderForum Bill Pierce linked this article in a discussion he started about digital B&W digital processing.

cheers, Bob

Free, but buggy (win 7).

I've used DxO Film Pack 3 since it's introduction and upgraded to 4 when it was announced. For my money it's the best. I shot with film for 40+ years and still have a reasonable supply of TriX in the freezer. Film Pack 3 was the first film emulation software that gave me the same feeling from my prints as TriX does. Shooting in higher ISO (1600 minimum, 3200 preferred) gives me a "grit" that just seems right. I also have good results with their Kodachrome emulation. Interestingly Kodachrome works for me if I pay attention to the dynamic range of a scene...just like shooting the film.

I still have a copy of "Leica. The Program" from September 2000. Page 44, headlined by "The dependability of the legendary LEICA R6.2", includes a copy of that photograph of the oil field workers which is visible in the book in the photograph above of Salgado and the President of Brazil. I've found that Salgado image captivating over the past thirteen years. I'm sure the printing of the image in Salgado's book is of a much better quality than that of the copy in the Leica product guide. Based on what I've seen I'd say Sebastiao Salgado can use whatever workflow he chooses.

Hernan, Check your spam folder.

So, the most sensible way to print to an internegative is to out-source the task to a third party?

Is it silly to think about doing this yourself? And if you were silly, how would you do it?

Gabe Bandy wrote:

>About two months ago, I saw a number of prints from Genesis, at a gallery in Santa Monica, which I assume is one of the galleries representing Salgado. A number of prints were poster size and larger. I have no idea who did these particular blowups, however, I was astounded at the poor quality, over grained appearance, and smudged detail of a number of them. I've been a Salgado admirer for years, a photographer with a passion for B&W most of my life, and a dud in the darkroom - therefore an early adopter and enthusiastic follower of digital.<

Hi Gabe, had a similar thought about some Salgado 20x16's I saw at Bergmont Station Gallery in 1992. Personally, I thought their Michael Kenna exhibition looked better printed.

I think there are many great "technical printers" but only a handful of "printing artisans." Robin Bell & Larry Bartlett spring to mind as artisans of the craft.

Chris (happy Silver Efex hack:-)

Dear Gaby,

Uhhh, what do you imagine I could explain to you?! I haven't seen either exhibit. I do not know who printed either exhibit. I do not know the circumstances of the commission.

Either you know a hell of a lot more than I do about the two exhibits or you're assuming a hell of a lot more. Either way, I cannot be your guide.


Dear William,

Yeah, it is silly to think about doing this with film internegatives. Good film writers are expensive beasts that have to be maintained carefully, and the film processing that follows needs to be meticulous and precisely controlled. It's not a task for many home workers.

A number of people out there have made full-size negatives for contact printing using inkjet printers. I've never tried it, nor have I seen any of the results. It involves a somewhat different set of darkroom printing skills than you're used to (contact printing has different "gotchas" from projection printing), but it's within your reach to try.

Can't recommend books or articles, but I am sure other readers can.

pax / Ctein

[Don't you refer to former presidents using their title? In the U.S.A. you would properly say "President Jimmy Carter," not "former President Jimmy Carter." --Mike]

I see, I didn't know that one.

Here in Brazil we call them "ex-Presidente". So it's a difference in custom then.


No email came.

Never got the codes - it looks like i am not the only one. i tried using a couple of different email addresses, none ever came though ... is there any other way to get the activation codes?
thank you!

Count me in the group that never got their code - perhaps this was more successful than expected and we broke their system... I went ahead and tried the software in trial mode and I'm interested enough to really test it further. The real proof will come when a print is made.

Well that was not good publicity for DxO.
After four attempts to download, when I go to run it it tells me it's missing a file.
If a simple download is this buggy, I really don't want to know about their products.
I have just been put off DxO for life.
all the best, Mark

I got the code, but gmail sent it into the junk folder....

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