Large Format Printing from a 20-year old slide

One of my clients came across some images from her days as a model in New York and she wanted to have one of the 35mm slides blown up to a 44″ wide print. This presented a couple of challenges and some fun creative choices to mull over.

First, we decided to send the slide out to West Coast Imaging and have a Tango Drum scan done to create the 200mg file rather than rely on interpolation/sharpening techniques to get the image big enough. Once we had a nice, large file to work from I began the process of smoothing out the tonal range and adding some contrast. Very little retouching was needed, but I wanted to maintain the vintage look of the original slide without dating it so I pretty much cleaned up the noise in the background by smoothing the highlights, then I smoothed out the skintones with a median filter.

The resulting image looked great on a monitor. I printed it on Somerset Velvet paper which has a pretty high D-Max and incredible tonal range. The final print measures 43″ wide by 37″ high and it is every bit as beautiful as the image above.

A Quiet Bright Reedsong

In school I learned that composition, emulsion, color, exposure, distortion, depth of field, are important elements in creating an image; creating a way for the viewer to see things through your eyes.

When I had the opportunity to spend time with a group of Whirling Dervishes from Turkey, I learned a lot of things about culture, music and life, but when I struggled with printing the images I had made from that brief time, I found that the right exhibit medium is every bit as important a decision as camera techniques. Silver-gel printing techniques did not quite capture the time I spent with the Dervishes: I was looking for images that were both timeless and yet portrayed the Semazens (as they are called in Turkey) as they are: devout; simple; kind. During this time I stumbled upon the process of lith printing and found the soft tonal distribution and colorful mid-tones to perfectly represent my image of the dervishes. When I further treat the prints in a hot bath of selenium the color turns to a warm brown and adds excellent archival protection.

I have published the series in my portfolio. If you are interested in prints from this series, they come in 8” X 10” and 11” X 14” copies on fine art lith paper from Sterling. Contact me directly for pricing.