Lo-tech (or poorman's) techniques

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by q_x, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. q_x

    q_x Member

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    Hi there!

    I'm gathering the ideas of poorman's photography in the area of light-sensitive materials. When I write "Poorman's" I could also write "DIY-ish", "natural" or "eco".

    So far I've been able to find very few:
    Egg's white is supposed to harden (become insoluble, like gum in bichromate processes) in daylight without sensitizing,
    Extracts from flower petals are bleaching under the sunlight,
    Leaves do the same thing.

    Do you know any other ways to make poorman's photos (this things may be expensive, but should not include industry level chemicals/materials, but rather things you can find or do on your own)?
    Are there any poorman's ways to fix such photos?

    The only two photographical "instruments" are pinhole camera and directly casting shadows (when objects are near paper). I'm feeling this is nearly all.

    Cheers,
    Luke
     
  2. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Coffee developers?
     
  3. q_x

    q_x Member

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    Coffee developers are developing silver salts. Silver salts are not as lo-tech, as I need.
    Also fixing can be made in kitchen salt. Just the medium being developed or fixed is not enough lo-tech.
    One can say "you can do silver gelatin easily". Paper is not lo-tech, gelatin, measuring cups, thermometers, clocks (!) and various salts are also not as lo-tech, as I need.

    I was considering salted paper, but I can,t see easy way to make silver salt pure and easy enough.
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Tape a negative to a leaf on a tree in direct sunlight. Leave it for a while then try to find a way to fix the image.



    Steve.
     
  5. John_Brewer

    John_Brewer Member

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  6. q_x

    q_x Member

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    I know the things you've mentioned.

    I've found a book from 1849 (?), the flower petal tinctures were described there. Quite old technique.

    And bichromate solution after exposing will also make an grey-green image (not washable, but pale).

    I have not checked the egg properties and hopefully I'll try this in summer. Now we have almost no sun here. I'm feeling it's close to the North Pole from here, this winter seems to be endless.

    Cheers,
    Luke
     
  7. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    In terms of actual possible process description, I think the Alternative Photography website already mentioned can't be beat. However, for getting some ideas and historic background, you might also wish to look at the book listed here:

    PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 19th CENTURY:
    A Process Identification Guide

    by William E. Leyshon

    A direct link to a full PDF version of the book can be found in the Links section of APUG here:
    http://www.apug.org/portal/?id_category=93

    Marco
     
  8. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    If it was not for the Ammonium or Potassium dichromate, carbon printing would fit the bill...Knox Unflavoured Gelatin and some sugar from the supermarket, with some ink or watercolor paint tossed in. Transfer the final image to some fixed-out photo paper that was too old (fogged) to print with.

    Whoops, I guess one has to have fixer then. One could use any paper that one has coated with gelatin (but hardened, so that takes more chemicals).

    Vaughn
     
  9. q_x

    q_x Member

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    Thanks for pointing the book, Marco :smile:
    Vaughn, I know the carbon process pretty much, it will be very good. Thanks.
     
  10. brucej

    brucej Member

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    wow that's a great PDF to have, full of good info
     
  11. brucej

    brucej Member

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    Luke try spinach for Anthotypes

    I have also had good luck with leaves from fruit trees IE- plum trees
     
  12. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    There is an excellent book called "primitive photography", aother one with te title "experiments with pinhole and self-made caeras" or similar.

    Not only pinhole, but also other cameras can be made at home with little effort: rewarding are, for instance, hyperfocal cameras - can be done with simple lenses!

    Eggs without dichromate does not sound promising to me. Of course they dry and rot in daylight, but that is about it. Dichromate is just poor-man enough, and will give first-rate quality at prices considerably lower than normal photographic paper.

    For exposure, there is always the sun.
    And cyanotype is always pretty economical, too.
     
  13. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Yes, that was what I thought when I first inadvertently stumbled upon it on the internet.

    I keep people pointing to it whenever there is a relevant topic in a thread, as, although I put it up in the Link's section, not many people seem to use that part of APUG, considering the low number of hits there...

    Well, that might be partly to blame to still present "spam" links, like the first two in the "Books" section. I contacted Sean once about that, but it seems he still hasn't found time to clean it up.
     
  14. q_x

    q_x Member

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    Thanks all. Winter seems to be near the end here. World is turning more and more green each day, so I'll try the methods related to leaves first.
     
  15. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The egg white thing is true. Some little bastards egged my brick wall one year. The egg wouldn't come off until I soaked it with bleach and then power washer blasted it off. Not a smart move. Had to do a little re-pointing after that.