Today, I decided to straighten a print I made yesterday from the series on corn I’ve been working on. When rewetting the print for taping it down, I couldn’t help but noticing the relief on the wet print, which stands out particularly nicely on this one. Look:

Ok, it’s kind of hard to capture in its full glory, but you get the point. I’m not 100% happy about the full print yet, so there’s going to be a new version of it. Still, I decided to flatten it, which actually didn’t work out as it usually does. Here’s the full print, still wet, just taped to a mirror:

Looks OK, right? Well, I made a different version earlier with higher contrast in the corn itself, which I like more. I did this reduced contrast version to see if I could get some tone in the sky. It’s there, although not really visible in the digital capture, because it’s really subtle. I could reduce contrast even more and squash the whole tonal range together, but I’d end up with mush, so I’m going to accept it as it is with a clear, open sky. Don’t fear the shadows or the highlights!

Anyway, the taping didn’t go well this time. It usually does, but once in a blue moon I get it wrong. I use gummed tape, the paper stuff with gum arabic (or probably something like PVA these days) on one side that you wet and then stick to…whatever you want it to mate with. I generally only use a narrow margin a few mm’s wide on each side. This time I evidently overdid it and the tape lifted along the bottom edge. The result is a rather comically warped image due to contraction of the paper as it dried (forgive the poor image quality; you probably get the point anyway):

Lesson learned, don’t skimp out on your edges! And embrace the highlights for the virgin whiteness that they have to offer, that too. So, what happened to that nice relief on the dry print? Well, it’s gone, of course. But I did get that very nice eggshell finish that gelatin sizing gives me on this paper.

No relief on the dry print, but still a nice semi-matte eggshell finish.

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