Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fomatone MG 542 Enlarging Paper

One of the very best enlarging papers I've used is Fomatone MG 542.  Several years ago, I bought a few boxes from Freestyle and found it worked very well for my needs in creating fine art prints that conveyed a pictorial look.  Unfortunately, when I went back to Freestyle to purchase additional stock, I was told it had been discontinued.  While a Foma FB paper has since reappeared on Freestyle's website, where it is currently shown as item 41784, I am not sure it is in fact the same since it is now described as double weight rather than triple weight and there is no mention of the distinctive "chamois" surface.  In this regard, the manufacturer's own (somewhat confusing) website distinguishes between 532 and 542 papers. In any event, it should here be emphatically noted that these "classic" papers differ from other Fomatone MG papers in that they use a baryta paper base rather than a resin coated base.  Those interested should obviously check with Freestyle before placing an order.  Foma itself enclosed a note with the paper that read:
"The delivery of Fomatone MG Classic... Fomatone MG 542 Chamois... or other varieties of this type of paper is a subject of an agreement with the manufacturer."
In the same flyer enclosed inside the box, the paper is described as follows:
"Fomatone MG is a variable-contrast paper working in a warm tone, specially designed for portrait photography and retro style works.  Its contrast can be varied in a large grade scale from extra soft up to ultra hard by using colour filters at exposure.  The paper is manufactured using a special silver chlorobromide emulsion that gives the silver image a brown-green to warm-brown tone that can further be influenced by the type of developer used.  The paper base involved is coloured in compliance with the developed silver.This accentuates [the] rich scale of warm halftones ranging from light cream up to saturated brown-to-green-black ones.  Regarding its low speed, the paper is designed primarily for contact work.  It can be, however, used as an enlargement paper as well."
Although I primarily used the paper to print fine art nudes shot on infrared film, I here used it to print portraits of the model Marta whose digital photos are shown in the preceding post.