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11-19-2011, 08:22 AM
If printing was so hard on negatives, the great photographs of the earlier part of the 20th century would be much more rare, and watching movies in a movie theater before the digital era would have been prohibitively expensive or impossible, considering how often they'd have to replace the film. But this is off topic.
I've been a professional photographer and have been shooting film since the 1960 and how to preserve negatives and the degredation of the negative as you make print after print is something we agonized over before the digital era.
As for movies, fading over time is a big problem which is why many classic films are now being digitally remastered.
11-20-2011, 02:19 AM
^And I've only been doing darkroom work since I was seven :). I've won international awards and have attended workshops with master printers who never once mentioned this as a concern. I can't find anything online or in my darkroom books that reference this either. However, I did find this interesting article (http://www.dpandi.com/essays/jensen.html) on limited edition prints by Brooks Jenson, a very well-known fine art photographer and the founder of Lenswork:
First, let's be honest about the mechanical logistics in photography. There is no mechanical reason why the number of photographs should be limited. The obvious exceptions might be Polaroid originals, emulsion transfer images, or hand-colored images, but I'm not addressing these media in this article. With these few exceptions, there is no limit to the number of copies that can be made from an original negative, transparency or even a hybrid negative, e.g. a digital negative. When the light from an enlarger passes through the negative to make an exposure on photographic paper, there is no degradation to the negative. None. The mechanics of the process do not degrade the original, hence there is no medium-imposed limit to the edition nor is there a medium-defined vintage print.
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