Difference between Bromoil & "Bromoil Transfer"?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by djkloss, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. djkloss

    djkloss Subscriber

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    I've been really intrigued with Bromoil images I've seen and was wondering what the difference is between that & bromoil transfer?

    Thanks in advance...

    -Dorothy
     
  2. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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  3. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    In bromoil a monochrome image on a special paper is bleached and then inked up by brush or brayer with a special ink.That is the final print. In bromoil transfer the ink image of a bromoil print is then transferred to another paper support, using some type of press. Bromoil transfer prints usually have a matte surface look, while bromoils generally shown some sheen from the gelatin coating of the original silver paper.

    Sandy King
     
  4. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Check out David Lewis site His book Art of Bromoil & Transfer is highly recommended ( as well as Gene Laughter's book).
     
  5. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Sandy, a bromoil print doesn't have to be an monochromatic image. Many bromoilists ink the print with various colors of lithographic ink. I just posted a bromoil transfer on the Standard Gallery.

    Cheers!

    Gene




     
  6. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Hi Gene,

    You are right, of course. I was simply thinking in terms of monochrome bromoil versus true three-color bromoil tranfers.

    During my research on Pictorialism in Spain I saw quite a number of full color bromoil tranfers. The look was very pleasing.

    Sandy
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Fifty to 100 years ago, full color Bromoils were done routinely.

    The photographer used one of the beam splitting 3 color cameras.

    PE
     
  8. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Done routinely? That's certainly news to me!!!

    Gene



     
  9. SteveH

    SteveH Member

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    While this thread is hot....
    I posted a while back a question concerning bromoil on aluminium plates; to which I received no replies. My question is simple - does anyone have experience with this method ?

    Thanks !
     
  10. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Thinking more about this subject - When I look back at some of the luminary American bromoil transfer artists of yesteryears, who exhibited their work widely: Arthur Kales, Wm. Mortensen, Chas. Partington, Ralph Davis, Robert Desme, Hugo Rudinger, Clarence Koch, Arthur Hammond and Raymond Hanson, none of these bromoilists worked in tri-color or 4 color transfer. Ed Bafford in Baltimore did full color transfers occasionly, but not routinely. A few commercial photographers did utilize full color bromoil transfers for magazine illustrations. In Europe 3 and 4 color transfers were used more by art photographers than in the U.K. and America. Rontag in Austria comes to mind and Sandy mentioned that he viewed some nice color prints in Spain. I organized a bromoil show in Richmond last October, "The Art of Bromoil" and we exhibited many vintage bromoils and bromoil transfers. Rontag's family shipped over some of his magnificent full color transfers - breath taking!!!

    Take a few minutes to view his prints:
    http://www.gryspeerdt.co.uk/rontag_gallery.html

    I have examined the print collection of the Bromoil Circle of Great Britain (which was founded in 1932). It contains no full color transfers.

    I would be most interested from a historic standpoint of the names of some of the artists who routinely produced full color bromoil transfer prints.

    Thanks and cheers!

    Gene




     
  11. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    I haven't seen your question, but once I did transfer a bromoil image onto an aluminum lithographic plate. This was done under the supervision of the head of the Printmaking Department of Virginia Commonwealth University, who prepared the aluminum plate for using on a litho press with scraper bar. I don't classify this as being experienced on my part! :>)

    Gene



     
  12. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Gene,

    The Spanish bromoil artist I am thinking of is Jose Maria Casal Ariet of Barcelona, who begin working with three-color bromoil around 1925 and practiced it until the late 1940s. Some of his three-color bromoil transfer prints were still hanging at the site of the Agrupacion Fotografica de Cataluna in 1987 when I was doing research on Pictorialism in Spain. Casal Ariet published a series of articles, in Spanish, on three-color printing with both carbro and bromoil in the bulleting of the Agrupacion Fotografica de Cataluna in the late late 1940s.

    My understanding is that a collection of bromoil prints by Casal Ariet is owned by the Funcacion Joan Miro, in Barcelona, but I have never seen any of these prints.

    I too was unaware of any significant commerical use of three-color bromoil in the USA. Wonder if PE was not thinking about three-color carbro?

    Sandy
     
  13. terri

    terri Subscriber

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    Fascinating thread! I've not seen much about the use of color in bromoils, transfers or otherwise.

    Gene, thanks for posting that link - that is amazing work, indeed.
     
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  15. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    I've done quite a bit of bromoil in the past. I posted several images in the gallery. David Lewis is an excelent resource for information and materials. His bromoil paper is fairly easy to work with. The nicest paper i've worked on was the Agfa MC matte. Too bad to see it go.

    Transfer involves inking up an image and transfering it by running it through a press. I've never tried this, although I have had a very nice gravure press now for a couple of years. Given the work involved in inking up a bromoil, I have been hesitant to risk transfer all that hard work.
     
  16. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Sandy, thanks for the interesting info about the bromoil work of Jose Maria Casal Ariet. I'm fairly knowledgable about the history of Bromoil in the U.K., Belgium, Russia and the U.S.A. Spain is a different story, however. I know nothing about any of the bromoilists there - past or present.

    Cheers,

    Gene
     
  17. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Gene,

    One of the interesting facts about Spain is that it was economiclaly isolated from the rest of Europe from the end of the Spanish Civil War until the early 1950s when the US signed a series of treaties that allowed air force and military bases on Spanish soil. One of the results of the isolation was that there was virtually no way to buy photograhic supplies so many of the photographers there continued tio use old processes like gum, bromoil, etc. at a time when the use of these processes had disappaeared as mainstream processes in the rest of the world.

    One of the greatest bromoil artists of all time IMO was the Catalan Joaquim Pla Janini, who died in 1979 as I recall. In his studio in Barcelona that looks out on the main cathedral of Barcelona in the old part of the city he made hundreds of technically perfect bromoil prints, including a very large number of transfers in sizes up to 16X20 or so. Fundacio La Caixa published a book of his work in 1995, the title being simply Joaquim Pla Janini. Not sure if this book is avaiable by loan in the US, but in case it is the ISBN is 84-7664-531-7. Also, I believe you know that I wrote the text of a book published in 2000 by the Ministry of Culture of Galicia on another bromoil photographer, Schmidt de las Heras. In fact, I own a very fine bromoil print by Schmidt, which was given to me by the present owner of the Schmidt collection, Jose Carruncho, a fine photographer in his own right.

    I have personally never made a bromoil print, but in my research on Schmidt I learned a lot about how it is done, and have a great appreciation for the beauty and flexibility of the process.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2006
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Gene;

    In their textbook "Making Color Prints" by Leadly and Stegmeyer, they devote a full chapter to Tricolor Bromoil Printing, (Ch IX). They list sources of individual color inks and complete kits, but then refer back to the similarities to other tanning and transfer processes, so the chapter is short.

    It then refers the readers to the book by Dr. Emil Mayer, "Bromoil".

    These books were published before the middle of the last century, and the L&S book outlines many color print processes.

    I think that Sandy King's comments about use in Spain are to the point as well. I have seen many fine color Bromoil prints. If you get to Rochester, maybe we can see if GEH has any in their collection that we can view. I've really never checked it out. We might find some really old ones there.

    PE
     
  19. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    PE - I have both of the books to which you refer. The little "Making Color Prints" book is here on my desk now. I just reread the tiny chapter on tricolor bromoil printing. It's still my opinion that full or tricolor transfers were produced in the "good ol" days on an infrequent basis by a very few and not routinely by large numbers of bromoilists. Compared to traditional bromoil, tri-color bromoil was somewhat of a mechanical process: inking film matriices by a roller, not a brush. The color process had few of the controls that bromoil was known for and few ways to express artistic creativity. The tricolor inks sold were not only used by those producing full color prints, but by those doing color layering from one unseparated negative. I use them now - except they are vintage inks from Drem in Austria and Sinclair in London, not Partington (misspelled "Parkington" in the book). Some of the monochrome transfer artists, Robert Desme as an example, used film for the matrix also, which made multiple transfer a snap when it came to registration. Alas, Agfa up and changed the emulsion formula of the film in the early 70's I believe it was, and then only photo paper could be used, and, of course, when the paper matrix was soaked in water one experienced the shrink/swell factor and registration became much more difficult. Desme gave up transfer at this point as did some others. I have long studied the history of bromoil to the extent that I could find information. I would be very interested in the names of any photo artists in the USA who produced tricolor or full color bromoil prints. I know many produced these in carbro and carbon. The only tricolor bromoils that I have come across were commercial photo illustrators. One reason, perhaps, is that the old one shot 3 color cameras were both heavy and expensive and most bromoilists were amateurs and artists. And - there were a number of other processes that could produce full color prints easier and better than bromoil! Dr. Emil Mayer's book, "Bromoil Printing and Transfer," only makes a two paragraph mention of making a full color transfers from separated negatives, saying that it is extremely difficult and requires a complete mastery of the process. Mayer elaborates on polychrome transfers, but these were like I now work, from one unseparated negative and utilizing various colors of ink. Mayer himself was a master of transfer, but only produced monochrome prints. Or, at least, no color prints of his have ever been found.

    PE, this has been a most interesting discussion!

    Cheers,

    Gene
     
  20. Photo Engineer

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    Gene;

    You are entirely correct. My comment was misleading and ambiguous.

    I should have said that bromoil represented a fair portion of the color prints made in the early days of color printing. This was split among the many processes extant at that time including carbro, bromoil, dye transfer and other similar methods.

    Does this seem a more reasonable asessment?

    Even Kodak Dye Transfer experts like Louie Condax were impressed by Bromoil and Carbro color prints. I have had the opportunity to discuss this and many other subjects on the early days of color printing with him personally, but of course, he preferred dye transfer. This was long ago and far away though.

    Louie and Charlie Edens, the father of Type "C" often got together in our office to debate the merits of 3 color transfer processes and tripacks like type "C". I have often wished I could make a 3 color Bromoil. Charlie encouraged me to make some dye transfers, but I always felt that my results were quite mediocre to say the least. I never tried a Bromoil.

    I do believe that a 3 color Bromoil using a brush can be made and would be very beautiful. I'm sure that the ones I saw were all done by using a roller. My print collection includes quite a few dye transfers but no bromoils.

    PE
     
  21. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    PE - A friend of mine, Chuck Kimball, in California, produces 3 and 4 color bromoil transfers. Chucks work is more painterly than what we refer to as "full color" transfers and have a look of autochrome or fresson. Chuck uses a roller or a brush - ot both. Check this out:

    http://www.artistsloft.com/bromoil/source/53.htm

    Cheers,

    Gene
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Thanks.

    That is beautiful.

    PE
     
  23. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    PE - In rethinking the question of tri-color bromoil transfers in the "good ol' days," I think the bottom line is there were more doing it than I thought and fewer doing it than you thought - maybe somewhere in the middle? :>)

    Cheers,

    Gene
     
  24. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    I have to say, this is a fascinating thread. Folks reading it should understand the high level of experience and knowledge of participants like PE and Gene Laughter. Fellows, it just don't get much better than this when talkig abou historical processes.

    To both of you, if possible I would like to put aside some time this year, or next, to visit with you. Gene, that could be in Myrtle Beach, just down the road from where I live. Ron, you are farther away but hope we can find a time to vist as well.

    Thanks to both of you for sharing your knowledge and expertise withi this forum.

    Best,

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2006
  25. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Thanks, Sandy. Unfortunately the history of bromoil is sketchy at best. This thread has made me reflect, think and ... do some educated guessing! It has been fun and I have about exhausted what little knowledge that I have on this subject! :>)

    Cheers,

    Gene
     
  26. Photo Engineer

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    Gene;

    The history of emulsion making is sketchy as well, and often incorrect. I have been dealing with this enforced secrecy for years, but with bromoil it is quite a different story. I have a feeling that no one cared enough for some reason, to document it well. I suspect you are right, that the true figure is somewhere in between. I bought that book in about 1950, and always thought that bromoil was quite popular in the early part of the century for color printing. It was part of what I was 'told' by several older photographers.

    Next time I go over to GEH for lunch, I will try to get more information and perhaps do some digging into their archives. I have access to the EK library as well which might contain something.

    Sandy;

    I have several very good pictures of you and the both of us at the Formulary last month (analog not digital of course). I wish you well and regarding comments here, I hope that you and Gene and I can get together sometime for any reason at all, especially to toast the past and the future of conventional photography.

    Warmest regards.

    PE