In an earlier post I talked about "grain" and how it influences how we see and feel about an object/subject.
The straight forward simplified idea is that "grain" in a photographic image separates the viewer from the subject/object being photographed. It's helps make an image more "art" like. This effect was often seen in miniature camera work (ie: 35mm, sometimes 120, and more often in Minox). The inherent grain became part of the image "aesthetic."
Conversely, in "grainless" photography, the subject/object being photographed is viewed as if through a window. There is no (or very little) barrier between the subject/object and the viewer. In traditional film photographic style this effect was achieved through the use of 8x10inch (or larger) film. The effect is quite easily achieved today when shooting digital. This is best experienced in "noiseless" images (which the vast majority of digital images tend to be).
Over the years I have enjoyed the works of Susan de Witt. Some of her work took the "grainy" image idea to an extreme that I find fascinating. She achieves this effect through the Lith Print chemical processing technique. Once I understood what Susan was doing it was pretty easy to find some very nice work created by other artists, too.
The Lith Print effect goes well beyond "grainy" 35mm images. The process celebrates "grain" (though in this case it is actually localized over development that is causing the effect during printing).
I find that the more "grain" there is, the more an image encroaches on the traditional domain of "art."
As I no longer have access to a chemical darkroom (my last darkroom is many years long gone), I set out to try and emulate the Lith Print effect digitally. The images shared here are a brief example of what I've come up with.
While not exact duplicates of the Lith Print aesthetic, I feel the digital emulation might be, as we used to say, "close enough for government work."
Some of my digitally emulated Lith Print images are collected into an ever expanding album on Flickr.