Japanese paper - to gelatin or not to gelatin?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Ghostman, May 26, 2013.

  1. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    Hi everyone,

    I would like to try and make my own papers so I bought some Rollei RBM3 Variable Contrast liquid emulsion. I also bought some Fabriano paper and some beautiful natural Japanese papers. The Japanese paper is much thinner, but not as flimsy as rice paper. It's like normal paper, if not a little thicker. Should I use gelatin on it first or not?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. GregW

    GregW Member

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    I'm very curious about this and hoping someone chimes in. I long ago found a few photos printed on Japanese paper by a commercial photographer back in the late 1930s. They were his Happy New Year greeting cards for friends. Quite beautiful. I'd like to give it a try myself.
     
  3. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I had two sheets and decided to coat one of them with gelatin. The paper is thick enough, but quite cottony. I had to coat it very carefully otherwise it would fluff a bit. It is so beautiful and feels like raw silk. It's warm and tinted yellow. I actually wanted to make albumen prints with silver nitrate, but I can't wait. So I'll coat one sheet with the liquid emulsion and the other with albumen.

    I will post back results. :smile:

    Still, if anyone else would like to chime in here, please do.
     
  4. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    wow, i'm pretty excited about these results. sounds like much fun.

    on a tangent... what's the most interesting/nicest things either one of you has coated with silver gelatin?
     
  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    This is only my personal opinion, but if you are using nice papers like Fabriano and natural Japanese papers, I would tend to stick to processes that don’t require a gelatin coating. Once you introduce this, you destroy the original paper texture and integrity.
     
  6. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I am inclined to agree with you Clive. The texture is much like raw silk and is very beautiful to the eye and to the touch. I coated about 10 pieces of about 5x7 size. I used the bottom end of the gelatin ratio so it is very thin and just seems to shore up the paper and give it a slight sheen. The texture is very much present. I have no idea what the liquid emulsion will feel or look like. I am looking forward to it though.

    Which processes do you recommend researching? I am only familiar with this liquid emulsion or albumen/silver nitrate printing.

    Many thanks for the feedback.
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    The easiest ones to try would be Cyanotype, Van Dyke brown or Photogrenic drawing. If you wish to have a go with any of these, let me know and I will PM you a how to do it.
     
  8. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I have a friend who is very into cyanotypes and am considering attending one of his workshops. As for Van Dyle brown and Photogenic drawing, I would very much appreciate any information you have to pass on.
     
  9. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I'm using liquid emulsion on rough Fabriano Artistico paper. I don't use gelatin, for the reason both you, and Clive, mention. After printing, I'm using oils and pencils on them, and want the texture to be a part of the image:

    nude16.jpg Scan 15.jpg
     
  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Liquid emulsion contains gelatin.
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I assumed he meant coating the paper with gelatin prior to coating it with the liquid emulsion.
     
  12. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I did. I was not aware that there was gelatin in the liquid emulsion and so I bought photographic gelatin on top of that. I have seen the results of this liquid emulsion on Frabriano paper and it does not compromise the texture of the paper at all. I think an explicit gelatin primer, especially a strong one would. I used a minimal and thin gelatin layer on some of my Japanese papers and they look nice. We'll see how they hold up in the rest of the process.

    BTW - Eddie, thanks for sharing.
     
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Yes. It's a silver gelatin emulsion, but that doesn't mean you can't coat the paper with gelatin first. With a thin paper, a pre-coat could help strengthen the paper. I thought that was what you were asking.
     
  14. _*_

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    hi there.. dusting off the coffin just to say hello.
    so.. how was the outcome?
    im interested to hear more.

    chris