Photogravure/Photo Polymer Gravure

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by SuzanneR, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,853
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I thought I would share a few snaps from a small New England gathering earlier today. Whitey demonstrated the photogravure process he's learned recently,and it was a real treat to see him walk through the process.

    There are a lot of steps to, and I think when you see the results, in all their three dimensional glory, you'll see it's worth the effort.

    He started with a negative he made in Europe (I forget where he said), then he made a positive on ortho film in the darkroom to about 8x10. Contact printed onto a light sensitive plate, inked it up as one would in etching, and put it through a press.

    Very fun to see!! Hopefully, he'll chime in if you have any questions about the process.

    A big thanks to Whitey!!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. roy

    roy Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,308
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    West Sussex
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Interesting Suzanne and all credit to Whitey for learning a new process. I do like the detail in a well printed photogravure and I hope Whitey gets pleasure from making more prints. Will you try ?
     
  3. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    well - it doesn't look like a photogravure to me.. rather the photo polymer gravure, (semantics?) which is a danish invention :smile:)) from about 1989...

    So it is still a very young technique.

    HIGHLY addictive!! it is SO much fun, and the possibillities are greater than you might expect.

    The only thing that makes me not do this all the time, is the cost of the polymer plates....

    Alas.

    it is not so difficult - you can get a printable plate in ca 1 hour, and it is toxic free..

    A finn, Kari Holopainen, has a great description on the process..
    (But you can do this with far less sophisticated maschinery..)

    Attached, an example of photo polymer gravure..
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2009
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,853
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Indeed, Emil, I don't know all the semantics, and you might be right. Whitey described the plates as "solar" plates, and since he's doing this process at a high school, I bet he's choosing a toxic free technique you describe. And yes... the plate took very little time. I'm trying to figure out which of my images would be well served by Whitey's process, because, yes... I think it would be fun to give it a go sometime.

    Here are some links of interest...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photogravure
    http://www.photogravure.com/
     
  5. photomc

    photomc Member

    Messages:
    3,575
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Very nice, Thanks Suzanne. It does indeed look like photo polymer gravure, as Emil said. Still a very nice process vs the copper plate. The press would be the part one would really have to find space for to do this at home - though there may be work arounds for that. Haven't really looked hard at the process (because am afraid it would be something I would really want to try - :smile: )
     
  6. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,853
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I changed the thread's title to be more clear, and Mike, I think this would be a more popular process if the press were easier to come by!

    It's pretty straight forward... just a lot of steps!! So, yes... you'd probably want to try it! :D :D
     
  7. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    5,298
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just got back from Whitey's... it was a good day. Yes it is an easy process and looks like a lot of fun. Not sure if my work fits that look tho.
    Great to see Suzanne, Whitey, Lizz and Holly again... and to meet to meet Seawolf66 and John. Thanks to Whitey for being a great host.

    gene
     
  8. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    hmm
    First: I totally forgot to add a link to Holopainen's web page.. here it is:

    http://personal.inet.fi/taide/kari.holopainen/gravyyri/page1.htm

    Secondly: This process seems to be easy, but it is actually really difficult to master!
    It doesn't take a lot of time to make the plate, but then....

    It is a process, that requires a good photographer to make the optimal inter positive (which isn't as easy as it seems), and then it requires a really good graphic printer, in order to make a really good print...

    Photographers tend to think that the printing isn't going to be that hard.. - the graphic printers think the same about the photographic part of the process..

    Both will be wrong!!:D

    (but it is still fun!)
     
  9. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,853
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't disagree, Emil, and I didn't mean to say it looked easy to master... just straightforward enough to give it a go. And, I think, if the printing presses were as easily accessible as, say, an enlarger, it might be enjoyed by more people.

    I mean... what is more fun than rolling a plate through a press!!
     
  10. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    5,298
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    rolling some squash through a press!!! :wink:

    gene
     
  11. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My wife has developed some mastery of this process, and will be producing a significant number of gravures for a show in April. Her blog isn't current, but will become so as she works toward this show. Hers is a hybrid process using a digitally enlarged negative which makes it unsuitable for apug directly, but if you're interested, the link is below. It is anything but simple, however, and requires a good deal of skill in printmaking (as well has owning, or having access to an intaglio press). But, the results can be exquisite, and it is a procedure well worth the effort.

    http://www.susanvossgravures.blogspot.com/
     
  12. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

    Messages:
    463
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Location:
    Waltershause
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Solarplates are surprising when you start to work with them, they react to light like a slide film does. If you want your print to be darker, expose less! Did Whitey use an Aquatinta screen, and if so, what density / pattern?
     
  13. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the post Suzanne. I have been collecting my 'pieces' to start doing polymergravure again. I recently picked up a 12 inch shear that won't bend the plates when cutting. I have access to a UV plate-burner and have a small press as well. Now it's all about finding time. Neat pics by the way. Thanks for sharing!
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    "Some mastery"....:rolleyes:

    tell your wife, that I am totally in awe, seeing her prints!
    I know it can be done great with d'''''''y negatives, but these are not great - they are better than that!

    By the way: you actually don't need at real intaglia printing press..
    The old "presses" or rollers for wet clothes, can be used, if you make two thin plates of metal, to put over and under the print (the rollers are made of wood..).
     
  16. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Many thanks, Suzanne, for the publicity. Yes, it is poly-gravure, or whatever you choose to call this bastard son of the true gravure process, not the real, copper plate variety. The plates I used yesterday were not Solar Plates (as sold by Dan Weldon and explained here) but Toyobo KM73 plates available through Boxcar Press in Syracuse, NY and other establishments in other parts of the world. The KM73 plates are harder and more suitable for fine detail and continuous tone than are the solar plates, though solar plate printing is great for high contrast or drawn and manipulated prints like those that Emil has posted. Each has its own strength.

    I don't know about this process being a Danish invention, Emil, I'll have to take your word for that. I do know that the plates all come from Japan. What you say about the mastery needed, however, is quite true. I have been printing intaglio work since the early 1970's and I am still a beginner. The "really good photographer" part will undoubtably elude me for the rest of my life.

    I second John Voss's good words about his wife's work, her prints are inspiring - and really what spurs me on in this. If Susan is giving any workshops, John, let me know. There are many others out there, certainly Kari Holopainen is among them. The positive transparency is the tricky part, to be sure. Computer printed images work well, but so have ortho-litho prints that have been developed for continuous tone. The image I printed yesterday used a positive made with Ultrafine ortho-litho film developed in Sprint paper developer. I've even used copy machine transparencies, but you have to want that look. I want to try the continuous tone positive film being sold by Efke, since I used to use it's Kodak cousin, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Too many ideas, too little time. As for the half-tone screen, Pahedrus, I use a computer generated and image setter printed stochastic screen, purchased from Dan Weldon's website. Without it, you get very high contrast - no mid-tones.

    As for the need for a press, I disagree with Emil on this. The pressure needed to really get the mid-tones of a printing plate are considerable. You can print rough textures and the surface inks without much more than the back of a serving spoon rubbed over the paper, but a press is a necessity for a tonally nuanced image. This is why many printmaking courses at local community colleges and art centers are filled with veteran printmakers - access to a press is worth the cost of signing up for yet another course.
     
  17. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    here :
    "In 1990 the (danish) graphic artist Eli Ponsaing made a revolutionary discovery. He demonstrated that photo-polymer plates can be used for photogravure. His technique has gained ground all over Scandinavia. His book describes how this new method may be applied.

    lt is indispensable for everyone working with graphic media interested in discovering new ways of making graphic art.

    Eli Ponsaing has been a teacher at the (Copenhagen) Academy of Art for many years."..

    text from the first book on polymer gravure published..
    see the attachment about the book..

    About the press. I am not sure I explained my self quite clear..
    I an talking about a press, but about an old version, my grand mother's generation used for sheets and so on...

    I know about the considerable press needed, and you can get that with this old maschine, but as the rollers are made of wood, they will ne destroyed rapidly if not "protected" by two pieces of metal..

    see an image of the old maschine.
    here in Denmark, you can get them for next to nothing....
     

    Attached Files:

  18. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I've always loved the look of the photogravure. I hope I can take a workshop from Jon Goodman someday. Do I understand that this process ( photo polymer gravure) doesn't require the heavy press that is required for the photogravure process? Thanks, Robert
     
  19. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Whitey,

    Wow. Your post is incredible. I am using the exact same materials, stochastic screen, using the same suppliers and am amazed at all the similarities between our processes. Unlike you however, I have not been printing intaglio work since 1970. If you are a beginner, I don't know where that puts me.

    I have had less than stellar results with the KM73, and your post is showing me that adding time, to get more density, is counterintuitive. It is however what I have been doing. Perhaps that explains my less than stellar results.

    Consider me subscribed to anything you write from now on. I will be watching with keen interest.


     
  20. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Emil. Thanks for the clarification. The wooden rollers I have access to are far less robust. I can see how those would work.

    Steve. Adding time in terms of exposure actually reduces density of he final print, since the plate is hardened further than you wish and washing out takes more water and more "scrubbing" (note quotes. you don't really scrub anything.) I'm still experimenting with the proper ratio of time with the positive and time with the screen.... another of those long term experiments. Cutting the plates for smaller images was big problem for me but now I sometimes find a number of smaller images I want to do and expose them all on a single plate, cutting the plate down later, when it's exposed, hardened and ready for ink. Alternately, I'll ink and print the whole plate and simply cut the paper after the printiong process is finished. Paper is much, much easier to cut! The only issue is in finding positives with similar density- ones that will allow exactly the same exposure timing. Cutting the plate first has one advantage - I often get an extra strip from the trimming, useful for exposure testing.
     
  21. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That paragraph taught me more than anything I learned from BoxcarPress. Thanks Whitey.
     
  22. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    So I guess it would be safe to say that a press such as a heavy American French Tool Press floor model with 7 3/4" rollers would best serve the purpose? Of course with a press that heavy you could actually do the copper photogravure process also. Would the lighter table top American French Tool Press models provide enough pressure? Because they are thousands of dollars cheaper. Robert
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2009
  23. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an floor model etching press made in the 60's that weighs in at about 200 kilos and another that is portable, like this one. Either one will turn out a nice print, but the larger is more comfortable to use. Even more comfortable and predictable are the presses similar to the one you mention. There are lots of choices out there. Try to get access to a press at a local college or school and then make decisions as to what you want or need. To draw a photographic parallel, don't buy the ultra-large format Gandolfi before you've tried a 4x5. You might want it, you might not.
     
  24. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Thanks Whitey, We have a floor model etching press here at the college. I'll check the specs on it but I'm sure it will handle at least what your portable press can. I'm already set up for alt processes with a plate burner so the only other thing for the home studio would be a press. But the one at the college will do to tackle the learning curve. Has anyone compared the quality of the polymer photogravure to the copper photogravure process? Robert
     
  25. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I haven't done any traditional gravure, but I'll say that I've seen lots of poly-gravure prints and they have never come to the level of perfection evident in the copper-plate gravure prints tipped into wonderfully expensive old hard-bound books. It may be possible, but I'll have to have it proved to me. I've never seen a poly-gravure print done by someone who has also mastered copper-plate gravure, of course. The craftsmanship is certainly a factor; it may even be the deciding factor, but I think not. The plate and the process do make a difference.
     
  26. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Whitey, As much as I love a platinum/palladium print, I must admit, a good copper photogravure is hard to beat and next in line would probably be a carbon print. Thanks for sharing the polymer photogravure process with us. Robert