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Re: photocopying photos

-----Original Message-----
From: Jennifer Lubkin <Jennifer.Lubkin@WASHCOLL.EDU>
Date: Thursday, May 06, 1999 6:12 PM
Subject: Re: photocopying photos

>It seems to be a problem with contrast I'm having. It's fine when I print
out, but when I photocopy my printout, some areas are too dark and other too
light. Maybe it's the photocopier, but maybe I should try rescanning and
adjusting the contrast options?

Try the photo on another photocopier to see if that makes a difference. As
someone pointed out, the different models have varying degrees of success at
reproducing photographs. Minolta, Sharp, Canon and Mita seem to be better
than Xerox. Also be sure that the toner level is adequate.

I've found that using an inkjet for the originals rather than a laser
printer improves the quality of the reproduction a lot. I used this to make
proof sets for my book Lineland and they were beautiful. First I printed the
text on a laser printer. Then I printed the photographs at 360 dpi on the
same pages. I think that the softer inkjet dot is closer to the photocopier
toner pattern than the sharp laser printer. The easiest way to do this is to
set the text to white on the second pass.

Adjusting the contrast is very tricky. Analyze your photographs and see
where the problem areas are. A photograph that looks good on the screen or
in a laser print-out may have too much or too little contrast. Contrast
isn't the only factor, though. You need to be able to adjust gamma (a factor
I've never been able to adequately define in more than 40 years of
photographic work).

It sounds to me as if you need a program such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel
PhotoPaint to do this. I believe that Photoshop has a filter or plug-in for
adjusting photographs to be used with a copier. Corel is surprisingly good
at photo adjustment. There's a plug-in called Intellihance that does a
remarkable job automatically. The gamma control is excellent, too. There's
also a function called "Equalize tonal values" (or something like that) that
is very helpful.

Ultimately, I think you are going to have to accept the fact that
photocopiers are not all that good at reproducing photographs. It's unlikely
that you are going to get accurate results. You have to settle for adequate,
at best. Put the originals away and don't try to compare them with your
finished output, which you should adjust to give the best possible effect
within the limits of your medium. Certain photographs will prove intractable
and will have to be either eliminated or accepted for what they are.

You can't have everything at once. The picture may be either dramatic or
show a lot of detail or be a faithful reproduction of the original  but it
is not likely going to be all of that on a photocopier, so you have to
decide which it is that you want and make your compromise with reality.

The best advice that I can give you about this is to accept the limits of
your medium. In fact, I think that's the sum of all my experience as an
artist, so I'll repeat it: Accept the limits of your medium.

If you'd like me to help you further, please send me a jpg of a
problematical picture with a description of how it prints on the

Jules Siegel Apdo 1764 Cancun Q. Roo 77501
Tel: 011-52-98 83-36-29

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