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Thread: The Man at 11 O'clock...

  1. #31

    Default What a great experiment!

    I’ve been looking at the high resolution archival scan of the negative. The 1875 media is complex relative to digital photographs or even modern glass film. Some observations I've made are:

    - The substrate is relatively thick, and has some areas that refract with small rounded patterns.

    - Because the substrate is thick, the exposure occurs through a volume. Anomalous markings that aren’t part of the light focused to make the image could appear at different depths and intensities from the rest of the image. They could be sharp or diffused.

    - There are a lot of curved marks (“C”’s and “S”s ) on the surface of the film. To me, these marks first appeared to be scrapes or natural defects in the in the gelatin surface. At medium resolution, these looked like candidates for anomalous marks and I annotated some that looked like they could be the characters of interest. When I looked at the marks in high resolution, I could see that these actually appear to be portrait photographer touch-ups, probably done with India ink using a magnification loupe. (For use online, the negative has been inverted digitally just as a print would be; it is also likely that the subject should actually be flipped as a mirror image). The marks appear white and have been used to lighten the subject’s brow wrinkles.

    - Any anomalous mark that was easily visible to the portrait artist under magnification would probably be considered a flaw to be corrected or if not correctable, it was common to scrape, re-sensitize, and reuse glass plates.

    - It is possible that anomalous characters along the subject’s hair line have been “reduced” by photographer touching up the negative.

    - It is possible that anomalous characters are still present but relatively subtle. This information is harder to tease out. Currently I see what could be an E and A in mid gray tones in the same general area, but I’m reserving judgment.

    (As a lurker/first-time poster my judgment doesn't count much, anyway.)

  2. Default ALoha Dave...

    Aloha Dave,

    Let me send you a graphic to examine from the master image. You can then orient to what we think we see. Please use your own master image to compare. Your comments will be very welcome and we can include them in our sanity evaluation. We have several source listings for the graphic, let me know if you need to point to one.

    Glenn

  3. #33
    Dick Allgire Guest

    Default Hello Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Barnes View Post
    I’ve been looking at the high resolution archival scan of the negative. The 1875 media is complex relative to digital photographs or even modern glass film. Some observations I've made are:

    - It is possible that anomalous characters along the subject’s hair line have been “reduced” by photographer touching up the negative.



    (As a lurker/first-time poster my judgment doesn't count much, anyway.)
    Dave,
    Thanks for your comments. Good job finding the photo in question and taking the time to examine it. We value your observations.

    As we understand this type of early photographic image there was no negative, so the photographer did not have an opportunity to "touch up" the negative. The image was created on a one time plate, not a negative.

    Did you PEM Glenn to have him point you to the exact area in question?

    Thanks for coming out of lurker mode and posting. We do appreciate the conversation. I would say your comments have earned you a viewing of the session. Send me personal email and I'll get you a copy of Glenn working the target. Whether or not he sent the message across time the session itself (as a validation work) is most impressive.

    Dick

  4. #34

    Default Something seems to catch your eye

    I’ve been called out my inaugural post!

    It’s not necessarily germane to the experiment, but the archived image was a negative. The source of the image collection was the portrait studio’s nitrocellulose on glass negative set, so the archivists who put them online inverted them digitally so that they would appear as positives. The people involved with the photograph of interest were pioneers of wet plate photography. The experiment as described was directed at the formation of a wet plate negative. The following link has a short description of the process that was in use at the time:

    http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/2-28-2005-66367.asp

    The subject did start his career using the daguerreotype process where there image is created as a positive and has very low sensitivity, but daguerreotypes went out of vogue around 1860.

    The wet plate process was still very slow and the substrate was soft and fragile until processed, so as target materials for the experiment, these seem pretty appropriate.

    My rationale that the curved lines were ink touch-ups was because they were done in black, appear to have a very narrow range of gray scale, and under magnification appear to have been drawn with a metal “crow quill” pen. If the positive prints were made as contact prints (negatives placed in direct contact with the sensitized paper) any portrait “de-blemishing” would need to be done directly on the image or the print.

    None of these things has any direct bearing on the nature or execution of Glen’s work. The confounding factor I was considering is that the more visible Glen’s result would be, the more likely someone of the period would try to obscure it.

    With that in mind, if you look across the large number of negatives in the collection archived from the particular studio through 1875, it is apparent that around 90% of the portrait sitters had two or more pictures taken so that the best could be printed. For this particular portrait, although it looks like the portrait is one half of a pair much like the others, there is only one negative represented in the archive. If the typical two pictures were taken, a -really special- one could have been discarded.

    HVRG might consider giving Glen a similar target from the same general collection where more than one image from is already present from a single sitter. In the archive thumbnails, quite a few of the pairs have one image marked for discard using scratches on the substrate. These would certainly be fair game.

    Glen kindly sent me the small region of interest from the image for reference. I’ll be looking at it for a while yet. By chance, natural aesthetics, or a low-level attraction, the physical area mapped very closely to the area I had found interesting. The designated ROI overlapped my ROI and together they occupy a tiny fraction of the entire image. Something seems to catch your eye.

    (Note: I checked the picture guy’s tie for guitars …just in case.)

  5. #35
    Dick Allgire Guest

    Default Good observations

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Barnes View Post
    I’ve been called out my inaugural post!

    It’s not necessarily germane to the experiment, but the archived image was a negative. The source of the image collection was the portrait studio’s nitrocellulose on glass negative set, so the archivists who put them online inverted them digitally so that they would appear as positives. The people involved with the photograph of interest were pioneers of wet plate photography. The experiment as described was directed at the formation of a wet plate negative. The following link has a short description of the process that was in use at the time:


    (Note: I checked the picture guy’s tie for guitars …just in case.)
    Dave,

    I sent a personal email to you and we'll get the DVD to you next week. With what you know about the photographic process circa 1875 you will find Glenn's session interesting. I cued the target and didn't know much at all about the photography of the day when I did the tasking. What Glenn described in his session went over my head. Not until I researched it on the internet did it make sense.

    Interesting you bring up the necktie. You will note when you watch the entire session that Glenn mentions the subject's neckties, saying this is a person who spends a lot of money on and is proud of his neckties. Glenn specifically talks about his neckties.

    There are a lot of quirky little things that happen when you start messing around in consciousness. We have the tape of Glenn talking about the necktie in the session, recorded March 2009. There is a post on the bulletin board here on the subject of Paul Smith's visit where I talked about neckties. Guitars were also a subject that was brought up a lot with Paul, as he will recall. It is all part of the puzzle.

    Anyway, look "over the eyebrow" and let us know what you think. Your posts are quite thoughtful and we value your opinion.

    Dick

  6. #36
    Dick Allgire Guest

    Default If the message was TOO clear....

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Barnes View Post
    I’ve been called out my inaugural post!


    My rationale that the curved lines were ink touch-ups was because they were done in black, appear to have a very narrow range of gray scale, and under magnification appear to have been drawn with a metal “crow quill” pen. If the positive prints were made as contact prints (negatives placed in direct contact with the sensitized paper) any portrait “de-blemishing” would need to be done directly on the image or the print.

    None of these things has any direct bearing on the nature or execution of Glen’s work. The confounding factor I was considering is that the more visible Glen’s result would be, the more likely someone of the period would try to obscure it.

    With that in mind, if you look across the large number of negatives in the collection archived from the particular studio through 1875, it is apparent that around 90% of the portrait sitters had two or more pictures taken so that the best could be printed. For this particular portrait, although it looks like the portrait is one half of a pair much like the others, there is only one negative represented in the archive. If the typical two pictures were taken, a -really special- one could have been discarded.
    (Note: I checked the picture guy’s tie for guitars …just in case.)
    That is very interesting. It is something we discussed. What if the message was so clear that they looked at the photo at the time and said, "There's something wrong with this- what's this A HEADS W. across his face?" and then threw it out.

    Dick

    By the way, you seem a good researcher :-) From Glenn's first attempt at message across time, we are looking for the attached image (NIMO) in native American petroglyph art. If you come across anything like this scratched in a rock in the southwest, or in photos of Native AMerican artwork, let us know...GLenn spent some amount of time standing next to an Indian scratching petroglyphs with a rock, trying to get the thought of this probing icon NIMO (face with intersecting radial lines) into the sculpture's consciousness so he would scratch one of these out for us to see all these centuries later...No luck yet, but if you see the face with the lines it would be most interesting.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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