Open Registration

Much of darkroom work is hand waving. Aligning images to build a print is part of the world of assembly processes.

Projecting a beam of light through a modulator, such as a piece of film, is the way of the darkroom. The enlarger is light and lens. We increase our control by being able to change the color and intensity of the light. These are the little pieces we build a world with.

Many Added

Here, we see a color print, made from separate BW negatives, using filters, manual registration, and RA-4 color paper.

tricolor type C printing

Notice how casual the assembly is. No film punch; no micro calipered, glass carriers; none of the carping crap posted on the Film Forum by slow moving Flim Flammers.

Many Divided

Next, Jerry Uelsman shows his method of making combination prints. He uses several enlargers, each with a negative of one element of the finished image.

Uelsmann in darkroom

There are people who use the computer to write their essays and there are people who still use a yellow pad and a pencil. They both can write excellent essays, stories or whatever. The process is the means by which you complete the image, but you don’t want it to be the end. There was a point at which the emphasis was on the Zone System that was all so technical. So you had this precise full tonal scale image, but what was the subject matter? It’s a cat or a sunset. So what? I’m committed to the darkroom, but I believe that if I had been 20 years younger when Photoshop came out with its visual options, I might be sitting in front of a computer rather than standing in front of an enlarger.

Jerry Uelsmann

Easy Step: registration

Registering film for printing (optical) isn’t a mystery. It is simple, but has changed, with increasing complexity of mechanism making easier, more certain, faster production of picture.

At first, the method was: cut-n-butt. This was the way wash-off relief (dye transfer) was done. And done for 15 years.

Needed: straight edge, knife, tape, loupe and good eyes.

Watch out for blood.
first way to register

Printers and animators had other means and methods. More about that in the “registration” posts.