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Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Ole, Jan 15, 2003.
Would be nice for those of us who tend to drag home old plate cameras as well!
19th century emulsions were pretty slow. Liquid Light and similar products might be a place to start. Maco even makes a VC emulsion, so you could vary contrast with filters instead of development time, and you could coat and handle it by safelight. (Hey, how come no one's developed a VC film? It wouldn't be panchromatic, but it would be interesting).
Liquid Light would probably be your best bet. I know they sell a Tintype kit, and the principle is the pretty much the same (except with a longer exposure time for a glass plate).
You may also want to look a various wet plate methods. Some of the results are truly amazing. Especially if you want an old-fashioned look.
Jay, the book "comming into focus" has a chapter on collodion wet plate. Not the easiest thing to do and you would need special film holders to make it work. I know there is a technique to make dry plates, but I am not familiar with it. I suppose a google search might help.
Collodion is very flammable and I would guess more of a hassle to use. I suppose if they did it in the past is not something impossible but I am going to wait until there is no more film before I worry about this. Heck I figure as long as they have x ray film we still will have a way to take pics.
There is a guy by the name of William Dunniway who is an AMAZING collodion artist. I mean this guy can take picture which you would SWEAR was taken during the Civil War. He is just amazing. Check him out for ideas. http://www.collodion-artist.com/
He also goes a bit into the process. Varnishing seems to be needed to protect the image. Something to consider as I bet the same would apply with a modern emulsion.
Personally, if I had the resources I would love to take modern pictures using that process. I have even devised a project based on that idea. But alas, I have no darkroom....
And I am NOT gonna set a tent up....
You might not be intersted in this stie since it deals with collodion photography, but here's a link anyways:
FWIW, I work as a photographer at a history museum, and we hired one of these fellows a few years ago for an event. He did mostly ambrotypes and tintypes, but was on the reenactment circuit, as a vendor. Some of these guys go around the country to reenacments and do the whole bit, selling portraits on the spot....I met another guy last Fourth of July at another event I was photographing, and he was handcoating ambrotypes on the spot & shooting portraits of people ...from what they tell me, ambrotypes are a little easier to make in quantity than tintypes (ferrotypes), but the guy we hired also told me of doing one reenactment where he made over 300 tintypes in a weekend. Both of them were shooting with vintage cameras & barrel lenses with waterhouse stops.
Those emulsions are slow and orthochromatic as well, but there's at least one book out there, I think the Silver Gelatin handbook or something like that, that covers making your own liquid emulsions. A really old book that might be worth a look is "the Silver Sunbeam".
Hope this helps,
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</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert Kennedy @ Jan 15 2003, 11:20 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> There is a guy by the name of William Dunniway who is an AMAZING collodion artist. I mean this guy can take picture which you would SWEAR was taken during the Civil War. He is just amazing. Check him our ideas. http://www.collodion-artist.com/ </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
That is so bizarre!!! To see such an old looking image, and then see the date of 'taken august 2000').
yeah, but you wouldn't think it was too strange if you were surrounded by hundreds of reenactors who are so intense about what they do that they'll scrtuinize clothing for accurate thread counts or wear a wool uniform and go on a 40 mile march in the middle of August for "fun".....I work with several reenactors and do alot of patron work for them as well. They're a dedicated bunch ...
I know. It is very strange, but also I think full of potential. Personally I find the look quite appealing. Especially the "raggedness" of the hand coated material. You can see thumbprints, uneven coating, etc. It adds to the whole image though.
It is also good to know that this won't become a lost art. While I may not go for doing ambrotypes or tintypes all day long, I am so grateful somebody is doing this! It helps preserve our photographic heritage.
I do have a question though regarding handcoating glass. It just popped into my head that with the collodion method, you have a pretty sticky substance. Which helps hold everything to the glass.
How about modern emulsions? It seems that you would want pretty smooth and even glass (uncoated of course) for such a project. But smooth glass is slippery glass. Do modern emulsions easily adhere to glass?
well, old glass plates can have alot of problems like the glass becomes brittle, or the emulsions flake off. There's a term for that, I can't remember it now, but there's a pattern of decay with glass plates where the emulsion basically falls off the plate due to temp & rh amongst other things. They require different types of environmental conditions than regular film storage as well, so it's not really an incredibly stable media to begin with....
Like I said, I've never done them before. I'm sorta curious about them though. I was surprised , from talking with one of these guys, how short some of the exposures were. I was always under the impression they would be rather long, but he was shooting at fairly short exposures, although for the life of me I can't recall the exact times right now. It was a pretty bright day though....you certainly didn't need a neck brace or anything for the subjects. Apparently the wet coated plates will have the characteristics of unevenness on the edges, and you'll see a little spot in the corner of the plate where the person's fingers would have been. They hold it by an edge and sort of move the plate around to get the emulsion to spread across it. One guy showed us how to tell the difference between a dry plate and a wet plate based on this sign of where the finger marks were. I'm trying to remember all this now, so I hope I'm getting this right, but the thing about the tintypes was that the iron plate (note: "ferrotypes"--this is the correct term) needs to be varnished for the emulsion. I don't know if you've ever seen an old tintype that has been bent or chipped up? Where the iron has been exposed & has begun to rust? They call that prep work japaned, it's like a lacquer coat almost....so there's more prep work in making tintypes as I understand it than making an ambrotype, which is just the emulsion coated onto the glass, which is sandwiched emulsion side down to another sheet of glass, with black backing to it. It could be flocking material or some sort of paint....they used canadian balsam to hold the plates together , and the whole thing was assembled into a "union case"--I'm sure you've seen old daguerrotypes in those ornate cases? Ambrotypes and sometimes tintypes were assembled this way as well.....so you can make an ambrotype and if you didn't case it up, it would be a negative....the cased ambrotypes are often (not always) reversed to protect the emulsion, but a daguerrotype is always reversed and a different beast altogether.....they're not all monochromatic either--some of them will be handcolored or tinted in various ways. Of the modern ones I've seen, few look like the actual artifacts I'm used to seeing. I don't know if they're "too perfect" or what, but they do look quite real in a way too....
I'm no expert on this either, but we have alot of these older types of photographs in our collection. Oh well, enough rambling....
I know that one of the appeals of the ferrotype was that the exposure times were very short. From what I understand all it is, is a negative that is underexposed with a black backing. This gives the positive effect. Plus they were cheap to make. No printing needed and all you do is develop the origional. This made them very popular apparently. You could set your gear up on a boardwalk very easily and didn't need the headbraces and all that. At the time it was the equivelant of the guy with the polaroid and the colorful parrots at the beach. If you know what I mean.
I'd imagine too that ferrotypes require less precision in coating than a glass plate. It would seem to me that the glass would show any uneveness in the emulsion far more readily than the ferrotype since the black backing would help hide a multitude of sins.
actually it's the same type of emulsion as an ambrotype. It's just coated onto the iron plate that has been lacquered black--japanned--or some later ones were brown as well. An ambrotype is the collodion coated onto glass, and looks like a positive because the negative image is sandwiched with a black backing material of some sort. The tintype has the wet collodion coated onto the black lacquered plate--this makes it appear as a positive in the same way the black backing of the ambrotype makes it appear as a positive. The negative is not as dense as a modern neg--it's thin. As I understand it, the wet plates were faster than they would have been if that emulsion had dried. They coated them, shot them wet & processed them. I've heard it said that the reason why tintypes prevailed, besides the economy of them, was that they were more durable than the others.....the daugerrotypes and the ambrotypes were more fragile, so they were cased up to survive. Tintypes were coated with varnish in the end to protect the emulsion and often just packed into paper folders....we do have some in our collection that are in very ornate cases, with gilded frames and leather casing--these look similar to ambrotypes. Because of that black lacquer though, the tones are really sorta muddy in a way. But I have copied tons of tintypes onto 4x5 film and they hold *alot* of detail, they can be very crisp images, and some of them quite large as well. I've seen them as big as 8x10s....it's just a different tonality.
Daugerrotypes and ambrotypes are one-of-a-kinds, but I believe tintypes could be repro'd as copyshots (more tintypes) as well. sometimes you can read the little adverts for this work on the back of the folders or later on the backs of CDVs and cabinet cards.....
Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my agency
Well Jay, you got me curious so I did a search. Here you go, how to make dry plates.
So where is this liquid gelatine you are talking about?
BTW in the article they mention add the silver nitrate to the potasium bromide and iodide, remember to do this under a safe light (red) as the film becomes sensitized when you add the silver nitrate.
Jay, thanks for the links. Either puerto Vallarta or Mazatlán are good choices. I am more partial to Mazatlán, but really there is not much difference. Enjoy and have a nice trip. Hope next time you get to visit with us.
PS. Does Dr. Leubner have a web site? or anywhere I can see what he is up to.
Controling crystal size and growth is not an easy thing to do, and it might be you need a lab with gizmos worth way too much money for the hobbiest to use. When I studies solid state chemistry, most of the stuff required a lot of controls and a thorough knowledge of physical chemistry, at this stage I just want to take pictures and not worry about such things.
I understand that Bergger is contemplating bringing a contact paper to market sometime in the future. For those who have not tried Azo with Amidol it has the capabilities to produce incredible prints. The nearest tonal range to Pt-Pd. I know that we who are interested in contact printing on silver should pay heed to the need to support this product. Michael Smith has went out on the limb a long way to keep this excellent product in Kodak's line for the time being. For those who have not done so, I encourage visiting www.michaelandpaula.com.
This is an excellent site devoted entirely to supporting those who contact print on Azo. My soap box just collapsed, so I'm off to the next street corner. Good luck.
uh, Donald I think you want the Azo thread......not glass plates.
Jay, I checked some of the sites with Dr. Leubner's abstracts and they would seem to be very complicated topics. Anyhow, I am sure with the info you have you can get good results. E bay sometimes has glass plate holders.
Sorry, I was responding to the preceding comment about another good contact paper being in order. My point being that we already have one. My apologies again. I'm off to another street corner...Whistling.....
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (jdef @ Jan 19 2003, 02:03 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Jorge, in one of the formulae I found the total emulsion quantity comes to 2000g, what's your best guess as to the area that would coat (on glass)?-jdf </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
Well, 2000 grams depending on the density could mean 1 liter or 2 liters. Assuming you end up with about 1 to 1.5 liters of solution and you coat 8x10 pates, at 2ml per plate I would say about 500 plates minimum. LOL.....I would pare down the quantities before you make that much, unless you really want to spend the rest of your life coating plates and not taking pictures.
OTOH from what I have read the coating porcedure is less than efficient, so maybe you use more, but still you would end up with 100s of plates.
You may also want to consider cyanotyping a few just to see what you get. I love the old cyanotypes myself. I think part of the appeal for me is the fact that they were very common, but are now sort of ignored by many in favor of the more "realistic" tintypes and daguerrotypes.
But it might be fun to do a few prints from these plates.