Tag Archives: sloppy borders

Sloppy borders

I see them on Instagram, on Flikr, and on Facebook.

You’re not fooling me. I know, because I’ve used sloppy borders since 1989.  Real ones, not overlays generated by an artist who maybe has never been in a wet darkroom in their life.

REAL sloppy borders are achieved in the darkroom using roughened and oversized negative carriers.  Each negative creates a unique border as it reflects the image along the highly reflective surfaces of the mangled aluminum negative carrier, this reflection appears in the print.

Filed out Beseler negative carriers. (Not actually mine, mine are in a box somewhere.. but you get the point.)

Filed out Beseler negative carriers. (Not actually mine, mine are in a box somewhere.. but you get the point.)

I first started printing B&W with these borders soon after my arrival in Los Angeles in 1989, upon moving into a cool loft near downtown. A neighboring kid, a photographer, was moving over seas and had an old Beseler enlarger he was selling, so I bought it and a bunch of other stuff.

He had filed out one of the 35mm negative carriers, and these were the older ones with bright aluminum tops, not the newer solid black carriers. These created a unique border. A huge border, but this didn’t work for all the images I was printing.

Since there were 3 35mm carriers, I grabbed one and went to work on it with a file. I made one with a smaller gap, but really rough.

Wow.  It printed beautiful borders.

Mirror Mirror, beautiful REAL sloppy borders. Click to enlarge (electronically, tho)

Mirror Mirror, beautiful REAL sloppy borders. Click to enlarge (electronically, tho)

So I went on a spree of printing all my 35mm in full frame centered on the printing paper.

Then in the mid-90s, back in Austin, I started scanning slides and along came a plug-in for Photoshop called PhotoFrame. This also allowed me to customize the frames and I scanned a large print, cut out the photo to leave the sloppy borders. I then took to placing these around color slides or negatives I’d print.

Now, with apps, you can try to fool people into thinking you shot with film, processed the film and scanned from a real print.

But I still have that border file. I’ve located it and will start using it. It creates a border frame unlike anything provided by Instagram or XnRetro.

Marissa in the old studio. Notice the way her legs are reflected in the border? Doesn't happen in Apps, people...  (click to kinda enlarge)

Another REAL print with sloppy borders.. Marissa in the old studio. Notice the way her legs are reflected in the border? … (click to kinda enlarge)

Go hit my gallery and look at the older Glamor stuff. 90% of the B&W images were scanned from an actual B&W print. Sloppy borders being the real deal there, folks.

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