Photographic Composition

John W. Cataldo


M Library 2007

Graphic Design & Visual Communication

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  • p. 208

The photographic composition stage precedes the actual plate-making, and generally consists of assembling transparent proofs (negatives) on a light-composition table. The transparent proofs are composed into page form and attached, or “stripped,” together. This stage offers exciting possibilities for graphic experimentation. Although photocomposition is generally the responsibility of a technician, contemporary graphic designers are experimenting with working directly with the transparencies.

The graphic experimentation of Eugene Feldman and Aloisio Magalhães has demonstrated the feasibility of printing from plates made by painting directly on the negatives and the printing plates. Earlier photographic experiments with transparencies by such artists as Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy demonstrated new concepts of pictorial expression which could be achieved by experimental photomechanical composition.

Both of these so-called “stages” of copy preparation offer challenging graphic possibilities to today’s designer who has discovered that the nature of his work has evolved from the assembling of many combinations of static graphic materials to a point where he is designing for photographic within a system of transparent graphic relationships.

  • p. 210

Doorway to Portuguese

Doorway to Portuguese was published as an experimental graphic study in book form. The book is considered to be a unique experimental publication resulting from the ideal relationship of artist and artist-printer, operating in the same creative level. The combined talents of Aloisio Magalhães and Eugene Feldman have produced a graphic publication that explores new concepts of plate-making techniques in offset-lithography printing. The results of this technical exploration are evidenced in the unique forms of pictorial expression that comprise the pages of the book. Each of the experimental pages in the book is the graphic result of special experimental processes, such as a palm leaf directly exposed to a light-sensitive plate, a printed roller impression, a drawing on aluminum foil, graphic forms made by painting directly on an offset plate and a negative, and other experimental techniques.