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Pointillist monochrome look


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Is there an actual name for the sort of appearance shown in this image where it is made up of dots almost like newsprint or a billboard. 

 

This is a family portrait and there are others with the same look. I assume that it is deliberate. Any idea about it?

 

This has been colourised, the monochrome version is the same.

 

Thought to be c 1900-1910

 

I0000eZgmIyArO3Q.jpg

 

I0000woBkB1VB.4k.jpg

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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Could they be photos of newsprint?  I am not sure if they were producing images in newsprint those days though.

 

Allan

 

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16 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

Could they be photos of newsprint?  I am not sure if they were producing images in newsprint those days though.

 

Allan

 

 

 

Yes I wonder that but there are quite few like this and they are all the ones pop the family - can't imagine that they would all have ever been in the newspaper and don't think there were that many pictures in newspapers those days. 

 

I just wondered if it was some sort of photographic fashion of the time.

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Halftone in English.

In other languages usually something like raster or rastered image, now mostly used in relation with for computer generated image.

 

wim

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The Darkroom Handbook by Michael Langford describes using half-tone screens for effects and also in the preparation of screens for silkscreen printing. The primary use was to obtain the illusion of continuous tone from high contrast processes like lith. It also mentions that there was a sheet film, Kodalith Autoscreen, that was fogged during manufacture with a cross-line screen to produce half-tone masters without using a screen in the darkroom. However, half-tone works by producing dots of different sizes: the images shown appear to have a constant-sized texture rather than half-tone dots. So it looks more like a canvas print or something similar.

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Yes, maybe a copy of a textured print. It's interfering with the sensor and screen arrays so it's hard to tell. A really high resolution scan of a section might show it better.

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Yes, the interference is confusing the issue. If it is half-tone, it must have used a fine cross-line screen rather than a mezzotint.

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The question is: what is it called? It is called halftone in English.

Not half-tone btw.

It's simply the use of a screen or raster (hence rasterized) on an image.

It's use and output varies according to the printing process it used for.

Halftone for screen printing or offset or letterpress or intaglio or photogravure are all quite different and some resulting films or printing plates will have equal thickness of lines.

That Wikipedia article is pretty good btw. Have a look at the history. The technique goes a bit further back before Fox Talbot though. Niépce, Senefelder and Dürer are all milestones on the way.

 

https://m.psecn.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000woBkB1VB.4k/s/1000/I0000woBkB1VB.4k.jpg

 

Now what is the thing we're looking at here? The one I see looks very much like an image from a computer screen. If it would have been a rasterized image before it was projected on a computer screen, it would have had a severe moiré pattern. Which it hasn't. Could it be we're looking at an normal continuous tone ( or continuous-tone) image, that has been photographed from a computer screen?

Anyway it's precisely that lack of moiré that is puzzling me.

 

wim

 

 

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Can I just check that I understand the basics.

 

The photographer has intentionally used a technique to create these  'halftone' images.

 

The purpose of doing this was because the end result was going to be a photographic print.

 

Other 'magic lantern' images by the same photographer do not show this technique because they were intended for projection rather than printing.

 

Is that anywhere near close?

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22 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

Can I just check that I understand the basics.

 

The photographer has intentionally used a technique to create these  'halftone' images.

 

The purpose of doing this was because the end result was going to be a photographic print.

 

Other 'magic lantern' images by the same photographer do not show this technique because they were intended for projection rather than printing.

 

Is that anywhere near close?

 

Or it's a very modern slide.

 

I take it that you have not photographed it from a screen.

What would normally happen is that there is an existing piece of film, intended or used to produce a printed paper print, that you would cut up and put in a slide or lantern slide.

What is weird are these  green and purple blobs of color plus the serious chromatic aberration all over the image.

Does this mean it's on color film? Probably. Well there was no color slide film before 1936 and after that only sparingly. Unless they're Autochromes on glass, but they are not sharp enough for screen lines I think. Plus they would not show the purple. The could show green though. Autochromes have been used a lot for color slides in those days. Usually easy to identify and the ones that survive are usually completely fried by the heat of the light source.

Are they mounted between two sheets of glass? What size are they? Can you take them out?

 

The white dust and hairs suggest there has been a contact duplicating stage at some point. We can take it that a professional darkroom worker, working with process film, would not have this happen. Have you ever worked in a red darkroom? Well I have: you would not have been allowed back in after such a result.

Let's follow a couple of scenarios:

Straight camera copy from a newspaper on slide film: the hairs and dust should be black at least most of it. The green and purple dots cannot be explained.

Camera copy from a film negative on negative film: it should be orange.

Camera copy from a film positive like for screen printing on slide film: this could explain the CA that's apparent all over the image. However it should be different from side to side: the colors should change sides.

A contact copy with a film positive on process film: there's all sorts of color and process film is b/w.

A contact copy with a film positive on slide film?

 

Dinner is ready. Maybe when my battery has been charged a bit, my circuits up there will resume their normal work. 😁

 

wim

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I0000E2iJzAP2Neg.jpg

 

I0000sFmS2QeDbUA.jpg

 

I0000tUYV904hfaQ.jpg

 

This is from the monochrome version of the same image.

 

There are 2 slides. One colourised and one monochrome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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28 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Is the monochrome less sharp, or is that you?

 

wim

 

 

I can't see any difference. 

 

One is the monochrome and the other from the colorised copy of the same.

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I wonder if the original was onto glass plate, and the copies you have are commercial prints from the original ?

And the pattern of dots is the result of the print reproduction process at the printers rather than being a technique used by the photographer.

GD

 

 

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33 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

I can't see any difference. 

 

One is the monochrome and the other from the colorised copy of the same.

 

Looking at them aligned in layers in Photoshop they are different. Also some dirt and hairs are the same, but some are different. Because you copied them while mounted, these can be on the mounts as well of course.

 

wim

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Most likely scenarios are three:

1 - Two contact copies of a negative halftone film. The result being two halftone positives.

2 - One contact copy of a positive halftone film intended for photogravure (intaglio printing), resulting in a negative. Then two contact copies resulting in two positives.

3 - Or a negative made by camera of a (news)paper print, then two copies made in contact, resulting again in two positives.

In this time there were very few enlargers, most printing was still done by contacting either film/paper; film/film or paper/paper even. For amateurs, this continued well into the fifties. So it was a common thing that would have come easy for a photographer, much more so than for photographers from the sixties or later.

How it's been colorized and why the screen is magenta in the colorized version I am unable to explain.

Because the dots are so perfectly aligned I would opt for 1 or 2.

Because some of the dirt and hairs are white and different in both copies I would opt for 2, albeit that some of the debris may have come from the glass the films are mounted in.

I would not call the resulting images halftone, because the density of the film is not the same over all (Easy to see in Photoshop.) A true halftone image is achieved by tricking the eye with smaller and bigger black dots. These are true continuous tone copies made from a halftone image original.

 

Now would this be a common practice with lantern slides? I have no idea and my source of knowledge has been dead for 9 years.

 

wim

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19 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Most likely scenarios are three:

1 - Two contact copies of a negative halftone film. The result being two halftone positives.

2 - One contact copy of a positive halftone film intended for photogravure (intaglio printing), resulting in a negative. Then two contact copies resulting in two positives.

3 - Or a negative made by camera of a (news)paper print, then two copies made in contact, resulting again in two positives.

In this time there were very few enlargers, most printing was still done by contacting either film/paper; film/film or paper/paper even. For amateurs, this continued well into the fifties. So it was a common thing that would have come easy for a photographer, much more so than for photographers from the sixties or later.

How it's been colorized and why the screen is magenta in the colorized version I am unable to explain.

Because the dots are so perfectly aligned I would opt for 1 or 2.

Because some of the dirt and hairs are white and different in both copies I would opt for 2, albeit that some of the debris may have come from the glass the films are mounted in.

I would not call the resulting images halftone, because the density of the film is not the same over all (Easy to see in Photoshop.) A true halftone image is achieved by tricking the eye with smaller and bigger black dots. These are true continuous tone copies made from a halftone image original.

 

Now would this be a common practice with lantern slides? I have no idea and my source of knowledge has been dead for 9 years.

 

wim

 

My trade was graphic reproduction and my working days were filled by working with lith film, making halftones and duotones and copying artwork prior to page make up. There seems to be something that doesn't quite feel right looking at those .... if these were direct halftone negatives and contact positives, I would expect the dots to be more defined and have harder edges ... I would personally opt for your option three Wim ... but that still doesn't account for the green and magenta casts !! As has also been mentioned, there is no moire pattern ... although that can be minimised to an extent by knocking the lens slightly out of focus ...

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1 hour ago, Martyn said:

 

My trade was graphic reproduction and my working days were filled by working with lith film, making halftones and duotones and copying artwork prior to page make up. There seems to be something that doesn't quite feel right looking at those .... if these were direct halftone negatives and contact positives, I would expect the dots to be more defined and have harder edges ... I would personally opt for your option three Wim ... but that still doesn't account for the green and magenta casts !! As has also been mentioned, there is no moire pattern ... although that can be minimised to an extent by knocking the lens slightly out of focus ...

 

> although that can be minimised to an extent by knocking the lens slightly out of focus ...

 

Or contacting your film with the original film inside out. Btdt. 😁

Most of my work in this field has been for screen printing, but I have worked in several darkrooms for offset. And occasionally been what's translated called work planner (werkvoorbereider) here, meaning it was all prepress work including page make up with positives and film. Not typesetting,  I had done that as well, both manual and photo type, but both only while at school. While and not at school, because at school we were only allowed manual typesetting. Photo typesetting had to be learned outside the art academy. It was still considered the work of the devil. This was in the eighties! Someone of the staff already had an Apple II. The Lisa came out in 1983. Bertholdt introduced the Diatype in 1958. Bertholdt was a billion dollar company. They ceased operations in 1993. (Kodak could have known.)

Oh and I have done a workshop Photogravure. And even printed once. So I know what it's called and what it looks like. Which is not exactly knowing how. 😁

 

The thing against option 3 is that there is no optical flaw from a lens in there. All lines are perfectly aligned and square. Possible on a process camera, but not on anything else, until we got lens profiles in Photoshop. Process cameras do exist from somewhere in the late 1880s on. Possible yes - likely no.

 

But again like you: where do these green and magenta casts come from? And not all dots and casts have the same shape, but that could be jpg compression.

 

wim

 

 

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Yes those are called "Halftones"  that is the way we use to prep images for print, in the pre computer days.  I printed a lot of "Halftones" 

during the prepress for newsprint.

 

Chuck

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7 hours ago, wiskerke said:

 

And not all dots and casts have the same shape, but that could be jpg compression.

 

wim

 

 

 

That's what makes it look a bit odd ... and there are no hard edges or definition to the dots and some of them look slightly elongated. I guess it's possible they have been copied from a printers proof and possibly by using a process camera ! My initial thought was that it had been copied from a printers proof taken from an offset printer running the four colours, black, yellow, magenta, cyan and that's what has given the odd tints but there is no signs anywhere of any dots or dot patterns / angles other than black so that's a no !

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When you desaturate the color version, you do get something very similar to the b/w version. However the b/w version is very soft and OOF compared to the color one. So it's hard to be sure in Photoshop.

Just in case the color version could be the original and the b/w the copy, this is what an autochrome, the color process of the time, should look like:

 

?autochrome.head.15227532439

 

Note: random blobs of color and no screen.

Myth busted.

 

wim

 

edit 2:

If you're looking for an interesting subject for study during Corona/Covid: https://filmcolors.org/

Have a look under screen processes. Not exactly there and quite a bit later, but surely interesting.

Edited by wiskerke
typo
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