Re: Feininger's Zone System remarks

Howard Smith

I seem to recall running across an article claiming that Adams used one
other technique that does not appear to have become common knowledge. From
my recollection, the author said that Adams produced a single, master print
with the aid of considerable darkroom manipulation. When he had just the
effect he wanted, he used a copy camera (not sure of the technical term) to
produce "orignals" from his master print. Until then it had been my
impression that he laboriously produced each new print with the same
labor-intensive technique he had used for the first print. It seemed
unlikely that any man could faithfully reproduce all those complex darkroom
moves in subsequent prints, but that appears to have been-and still is-the
prevailing thought about Adam's technique. So far as the Zone Method is
concerned, it would seem that Adams relied far more on his darkroom and his
copy camera than on trying to get the perfect exposure in the field.

Is this information correct?

Howard Smith



On 7/2/11 Clyde McConnell included the following in his post:

The California Musuem of Photography at UC Riverside sometimes shows
material from the time that Adams was photographing campuses throughout the
University of California system, and I recall seeing a mounted proof sheet
of roll-film images that were likely taken in what looked like a desert
canyon (might have been a field station). It was a tough exposure situation,
with late, raking light and important shadow information. The exposures were
ALL OVER the place. No Zone System here, but rather a very profligate and
pragmatic bracketing in the face of near-total uncertainty as to what was
going to work, and what the "best" print would turn out to be...or if there
would be a print at all.

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