Richard Sullivan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fri, 02 Jul 1999 11:57:56 -0600
The question has come up on private e-mail as to whether I would be
changing my formulations for the Ziatype in light of Jeff Mathias's work.
In a word no. And an explanation of why.
There are a million and one variables that could be giving him the results
he is getting. His negatives may be quite different for instance. I know
that Jeff was at one time fond of making masks for his negs. (Jeff, you
make nice prints, that's not the point.) I don't think one can be absolute
in any conclusions on this process with one set of data.
I ran my initial ballpark figures using my high quality digital reflection
densitometer and calibrated step wedges. I then ran tests using negatives.
Then Carl Weese came out and we spent an intensive week printing some of
his superb negatives. We again fine tuned the formulation at that time.
Carl then went back to Connecticutt and then had to re-adjust his printing
techniques for his lights and environment. I then ran another set of curves
which we planned to use in the book but later decided against using.
I think that anyone here who had seen Carl's prints that he brought to
Platypus 1998 would agree that it would be well neigh impossible to suggest
Not to brag, mind you, but I am also getting rave reviews everyday on the
Ziatype. I know with the current formula you can get stunning blacks, good
separation in the mid-tones with absolutely delicate highlights. What more
could you want? It's the old saw "If it ain't broke...."
I've got a thousand printers out there all calibrated to this formulation.
Sheesh, the phone would ring off the hook if I changed anything. More of
this or less of that, may in fact help one person, but could screw things
up for another.
To change anything in our commercial products I would have to see
consistent and repeatable data from a number of sources working in
different environments -- and then see a difference that was meaningful to
Jeff makes great prints, and his recent research work may in fact optimize
the Ziatype process to his variables. A true Renaissance in handcrafted
photography will depend on more Jeff Mathiases digging in and doing some
serious explorations of these processes.
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