Bleaching Basics

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ParkerSmithPhoto, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Okay, it's been probably 15 years since I bleached a silver print, and I'm wanting to make sure I remember correctly:

    Bleach the print with ferri and choose one (but not more than one)

    1) fix it, to make the bleach permanent
    2) tone it in sepia to redevelop the image as warm tone
    3) redevelop the print in standard print developer (ie. Dektol)

    After doing one of these, just wash the print. You don't have to fix after redevelopment.

    Do I have that right? I know I can selenium tone after the above steps, or before, which is how most of my prints are finished. I used to bleach a lot in college, but that's a painfully long time past. :confused:
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    No way !!!!!!!! fixer is out of the question.

    Bleach, wash, then toner. Then wash again.

    Ian
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I am not too sure if you are talking about toning or bleaching, but as the title of your thread is bleaching - There are plenty of different ways of bleaching in photography, but if you mean with Potassium Ferricyanide solutions, then I think the printer in this video shows a perfect way of doing it. Note how she adds the bleach solution and almost immediately washes it away, at what concentration (guess 1:10 from stock). A gradual process.

    http://www.laboratoire-tirages-argentiques.com/prestation-eng.html
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Ian:

    Bob Carnie fixes as well, and doesn't even try to defend it. :smile:

    I've just recently started using fixer after toning or redevelopment, but for an ulterior purpose. It is a hardening fixer (the only one I use) and, per PE's suggestion, an apparently effective way of hardening without the challenges of having to mix separate hardener (which is apparently a relatively finicky process).

    I of course wash after the the additional fixer.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's really depedant on the toning process and particularly whether toning's to completion. There can be a case for re-fixing with some processes, there can even be a case for re-bleaching and fixing after some toners like dye coupler toners.

    However with some toners refixing will destroy the colour / tones entirely so ideally sufficient reading / research needs to be done at the outset, or follow manufacturers instructions.

    I did a lot of commercial research into toners and hardening was never an issue unless a hardening fixer was used prior to toning, then a softening bath was needed to ensure ven toning.

    The OP's question is rather broad so needs a more simple answer.

    Ian
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I'm curious on this one as well.

    Ralph says in "Way Beyond..." book to use Ferri, wash, then fix, so that un-converted silver can be removed. I understand, for most toners, complete fix is important as staining can occurred. Can you please explain in layman's term, why the discrepancy exists between what you say and Ralph says?

    I typically use two step sepia toner, brown toner, and selenium if that makes difference.
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Is this thread about toning or bleaching?
     
  8. Jean Noire

    Jean Noire Member

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    ......and then places the partially bleached print into the second fix!

    Regards,
    John
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Your missing a step:

    "use Ferri, wash, then fix, so that un-converted silver can be removed." You MUST tone after the bleach and wash or fixing will remove all the image.

    Ian
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Ian,

    Are we possibly talking about two different processes? I think you are talking about completely bleaching out a print then re-developing as in two step sepia toning. I was thinking more of bleaching spots or all to lighten, then fix to remove - then follow up with additional toning if necessary.

    In OP's terms, you are case #2 and I'm #1
     
  11. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Yes, I was thinking back to school when I would print a little dark and then drop the whole thing in the bleach to pop the highlights, or do the brush technique. My memory is that I always followed the light bleaching with a fixer bath, which can give you a nice rose tone.

    So, after bleaching, you either have to tone (for color) OR fix (to make the lightened highlights permanent) but not both, and after just wash it (ie. you don't need to fix after sepia).

    Simplifying the question: A bleached print would not be stable without either toning or fixing. True? False?
     
  12. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Um, partly true? If the bleach contained a halide, then yes it is true. I assume when you say toning you mean an indirect toner. I've tried using gold and selenium as an indirect toner, as you would sepia, and I destroyed lots of prints and perfectly good chemicals.
     
  13. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    I'm not so sure that he does.

    I'm fairly sure it is diluted bleach, wash, tone, wash, lather, rinse, repeat a la Schwab.
     
  14. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    A fine fellow I worked with fixed his prints half way, and held them in a holding bath with slow running water. Towards the end of the work day he viewed each print on an easel prepared selectively bleach, then back into the holding bath. The batch of prints were then fixed to completion, rinsed, hypo-cleared with dilute selenium toner, and washed. I believe he picked up the selective bleaching routine from Eugene Smith.
     
  15. An Le-qun

    An Le-qun Member

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    So far--unless I missed it--my favorite sequence has been left out: Se-tone, bleach (partial, often very little) then fix. And wash afterwards. Picked up from the late Barry Thornton's Edge of Darkness, available on Amazon for a song, comparatively. The results are often very Olivia-Parker-esque, at least when Ilford MG WT is the paper.
     
  16. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    OK.
     
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Dinesh is correct

    I always tone after bleaching , actually bleach, wash , tone , wash .

    Sometimes I will local bleach for retouch purpose , then wash fix then wash, but I do not think this is what the OP is talking about.

    Bob
     
  18. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    This is a technique I have used . My retoucher Rose Scheler will bleach retouch then re fix a washed fiber print I supply her.
    I will then do my toning and back to her for final spotting.
    I believe Salgado's craftsmen/women do exactly the same thing on all his fibre exhibition prints.
     
  19. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Bob,

    Is what you say true with Selenium also? I always thought complete fixing is a requirement before Selenium bath. Isn't bleaching thus turning metalic silver BACK same thing as incomplete fixing??
     
  20. ParkerSmithPhoto

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    Oh, I like that very much. Thanks for the reminder about her work. Hadn't looked at her in years, beautiful photography.

    Also, check out Emmet Gowin's aerial landscape photography to see some beautiful toning.
     
  21. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    If I want to bleach retouch,, to fix black lines hairs or pop the whites of eyes or accent some fine detail or lift the print as some suggest overall , I will make the print
    the normal way,, to completion which includes double fix, wash , hypo clear then final wash.


    My retoucher or I will then locally bleach the areas we want to remove or lighten, then refix, hypo clear and wash..... Then we will go to the toning stage. After the toning is finished we will the spot the areas that have been retouched for retouching purposes.

    There are two applications... One for the look of the print where a printer uses bleach for a desired look... Think Salgado
    The other is where a retoucher goes in and takes out problem areas.... think black nose hairs in the sky due to dusty film holders.

    Maybe some are mixing both operations , I am usually using the second catagorey of working out problems.

    I am not a big fan of heavy retouching a print with bleach,,,, I try to make my prints sing with darkroom methods.

    But looking at Lillian Bassin and Salgodo's work is enough to convince me that there is good magic in that bleach.

    I hope this clears up a couple of things.

    For more scientific explanations I defer to my head Chemist / Mentor Ian Grant..