Cyanotype with Direct Positive Paper?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by bvy, May 25, 2013.

  1. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I'd like to try cyanotype, but I'd rather not resort to digital methods for preparing a transparency. I'd like to say it's because I want to be totally puritanical about it -- and that's part of it -- but the main reason is because I don't have a good printer. Anyway, I'd like to enlarge some 35mm and maybe 120 negatives.

    My first thought was to enlarge onto Ortho Litho film, which is good and contrasty (that is good, right?) and of which I have a good supply on hand. But this would necessarily be a two-step process: enlarge negative to positive and contact print positive back to negative.

    Then I had the idea of enlarging onto the Harman direct positive paper. This would give me a paper negative, though I guess it would significantly increase the exposure time of the cyanotype, since I'm exposing through paper instead of a transparency.

    I'm wondering if anyone's tried the positive paper approach (search doesn't turn up much) or even the lith film approach, and can share their experiences.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Nikola Dulgiarov

    Nikola Dulgiarov Member

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    It would be much harder to print through the base of a paper negative, and I'm not a fan of oiling/waxing a paper negative to make it transparent. Ortho-Litho film is a great way to make enlarged negatives, but going via the interpositive method (print to positive, then contact print for a negative) increases contrast unless you use some soft-working developer for the interpositive. Rather, you can try to make enlarged negatives by reversal. Ed Buffaloe has a fantastic article on it at Unblinkingeye: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/NbyR/nbyr.html
    I have personally tried this method for a variety of print films that I have, and also on some X-ray films. Although there are some variables and you would have to mix a few baths, once you get the process tuned, making enlarged negatives becomes a fast and economic process.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you enlarge onto direct positive paper, you will have ... a negative print as your cyanotype ..
    don't bother with lith film or xray film &c ...

    paper negatives have been used to make photographic prints since ... 1839
    i would make regular b/w print, then make a contact print of THAT to get a negative ..
    make sure you use photo paper without printing on the back .. or hand coat your own thin paper,
    or use slavich paper .. i believe they still make single weight paper ...
    then take parafin and an iron wax the paper negative .. both sides.
    don't use too much wax and smooth it with iron and rub with a paper towel to dry it
    ( both sides front and back )
    you should notice the paper is sort of see through ...

    coat your cyanotype paper, put your waxed paper negative on it, and leave it in the sun ..

    i have done this with both hand coated paper negatives as my paper negative
    as well as a xerox which is much thinner paper. they both worked OK ...

    it was around new years and the exposures were extremely long ...

    http://nanianphoto.com/blog/?p=374
     
  4. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    The easiest method is to enlarge onto x-ray duplicating film. It's a reversal film that can be developed in normal paper developer, no special processis needed. It's very easy to use, and reasonably-priced.
     
  5. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I once experimented with contacting a B&W print onto another piece of RC paper and using that as the negative for a cyanotype. The exposure was very long, like half an hour and the print was still rather light. I was using sunlight in those days. You logic is sound as a direct positive of a negative will yield a negative. I'm not sure how modern gelatin silver papers would take to waxing or oiling. It's hard to imagine waxing RC paper. I'd go with ortho film. It's an extra step, but the frustration factor will be lower.
     
  6. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    bvy,
    I had the same idea, to make enlarged analog negatives, for gums from negatives. I have been making enlarged paper negatives from chromes for color gums. I oil Panalure RC after I peel off the RC backing.
    Looking forward to seeing your results.
     
  7. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Thanks for the responses everyone. Unless I'm missing it, it look like only fiber based (not RC) direct positive paper is available. So maybe that changes things. I'm reading up on waxing/oiling (for better or worse)...

    Interesting idea. Where do you get yours?
     
  8. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    I bought a bunch of 14x17 Fuji MI-DUP on eBay--it was very inexpensive. You can also buy a wide variety of sizes at Ultrafine Online.