combination printing

n.PhotographyA technique of creating a photographic print with a single, unified image from several different negatives.


At its simplest, combination printing may be little more than the use of two separate negatives made of the landscape and the sky that are printed together. This technique was used to compensate for orthochromatic negatives that could not properly record the sky and scenery in a single exposure. At the other extreme, combination printing is frequently associated with the Pictorialist photographers of the 19th century. O. G. Rejlander and H. P. Robinson were two well-known practitioners. One of the best known examples is Rejlander's The Two Ways of Life, described below. A print made using this technique may be described as a combination print or a composite print.


Newhall 1982, p. 74 [Describing Rejlander's use of combination printing to create The Two Ways of Life.] He would have needed a huge studio and many models to take this picture with a single negative. Instead, he enlisted the services of a troupe of strolling players and photographed them in groups at scales appropriate to the distance at which they were to appear from the spectator. On other negatives he photographed models of the stage. He made thirty negatives in all, which he masked so they would fit together like a picture puzzle. Then, painstakingly masking a sheet of sensitized paper to match each negative in turn, he printed them one after the other in the appropriate positions.