paper doll

Portrait by David Hamilton on Ilford Ilfomar A117 paper c1970

Toronto. To convert a film negative into a positive image, a second piece of the sensitive medium was usually used. Most commonly this was a photographic (light sensitive) paper. And there stood the dilemma for the average beginning photographer.

There was a mind blowing number of factors to consider: manufacturer (Kodak, Ansco, Ilford, Agfa, etc.), sensitivity (fast for enlarging, slow for contact printing, P.O.P. for temporary samples), weight (DW or double weight was thicker and easier to handle, SW or single weight was cheaper), size (8×10 inches, 11×14, 16×20, 4×5, etc. – bigger was cheaper and could be cut to smaller sizes), tone ( a toner bath could vary the print colour a bit).

And texture! Whole booklets were devoted to the wide variety of textures offered for monochrome printing. With colour, the choice was far less. At one time a geometric texture was used on commercial colour paper to mask the poor resolution inherent in 1950s colour media.

With colour, you were usually limited to one grade – your exposure and development were  spot on, or not. For monochrome, a series of grades were offered to determine the contrast of the print (or make it a high key print). Dodging and burning could adjust contrast for some parts of the print such as adding shadow or highlight detail (if this existed in the negative, of course).

The title of this post is an homage to a 1915 song, of the same name made popular during the second war by the Mills Brothers.

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