Another one of those images that I could not find a straight area that looked good – so gave up and used the steps and no I do not have a ’tilt & shift’ lens.
I did a print of this negative back in about 2010; but recently I have been working on a new print that has been ‘painstakingly re-touched’ with spotone retouching dyes.
I never liked the mains cable down the left-hand side of the door on the original and think the owners would have been a little miffed if I’d removed it 🙂 This could have easily been accomplished with Photoshop but……… back in the days when there was no such thing, the only way to remove distractions from an image was using retouching inks.
The technique was very simple in theory; mix the ink to the required colour and with a small artists brush, apply to the print using only the very tip of the brush, dotting the dye onto the paper.
But theory is great until one puts it into practise; it requires a good sable hair brush (the best for holding liquids and obtaining a very fine point) an almost dry brush and lots of patience!!!
If done correctly it is almost indistinguishable from the surrounding area of the print; not possible with colour prints I might add. Ilford Matt or semi-matt fiber papers are my medium of choice because they absorb the ink rather than it sit on the surface. These dyes came in sets of six pre-mixed colours which used together gave an infinite range of shades. Unfortunately (that word again) they are no longer available but, Ansel Adams in his book ‘The Print’ mentions Edward Weston used an India ink and gum arabic mixture. I have modified this slightly by using the Japanese ink blocks which are available in a variety of colours, mixed with gum Arabic and distilled water; it works very well. So when my inks run out I will use this method instead.
Now all this may be an anathema to the purists among you but, I am not making ‘documentary’ images.