Retrophotographic POP!

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by Ole, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I just got my hands on some of the "newest old stuff" from Retrophotographic - their POP paper. I've been playing with this over the last few days, trying different ways of making prints with it.

    I used a weak solution of sodium thiosulfate as fixer, and Tetenal Gold Toner.

    When toning before fixing, the prints turned warm brown, with slight increase in density. When toning after fixing, however, the tone progresses rapidly through brown and cold brown to blue, giving various splits on the way. The density also increases dramatically on drying.

    I'm going to buy more of this stuff :smile:
     
  2. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    Ole-

    You would be a good person to ask this question-

    I've been wondering what is the difference between POP and regular paper? Is it true that prints on POP only last a few days?

    Matt
     
  3. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    Hey, Baltimore, I'm in Hagerstown. I have a box of 11x14 Centennial POP in my fridge. Wanna try it out?
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The difference is that regular paper requires developing; POP does not. It is exposed to strong light in contact with the negative until the shadow areas (light areas on the neg) turn dark. It is then washed of excess silver nitrate.

    At this stage the image is a rather peculiar plummy puplish-brown, which is how the entire picture will look after a few days unless it is fixed and/or toned. In the fix it turns more yellowish brown. Toning can be done either before or after the fixing - when POP was common, there were special "toning fixers" to be had.

    Gold toning normally gives a colder image, in the case of this specific combination fixing first gives greater effect than toning before the fixer.

    I have a POP print in my "collection" which is well over 100 years old and still fine. When I tried htis new paper, I recognized the tone of the prints from my wife's grandparents' wedding photos - they are quite likely to be POP as well, and they've been hanging on the wall in good light since 1929...

    A toned POP print will not fade any faster htan a "regular" print. Untoned and unfixed prints won't fade eihter, they'll just go black...
     
  5. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    I am dying to try some POP paper.
    I've read You can use regular fix but rapid fixer bleaches the image. Does selenium toner work on the POP paper?
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I only had 10 sheets, and now I've used 5. I've used a 10% sodium thiosulfate solution, since I didn't have any ready-made "regular" fix.

    From experience with similar systems (van Dyke and salted paper), I'm quite certain that "rapid" fix (ammonium thiosulfate) will bleach the print. Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner containg ammonum thiosulfate, and bleaches far quicker than it tones.

    I'll give Viradon (old) a go on one of my remaining sheets - I'm interested to see how that works. Old Virdon was a combined sulfide and selenium toner, but without thiosulfate or other bleaching components. I just happen to have some left :tongue:
     
  7. gma

    gma Member

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    I keep offering information from the previous millenium. I think that is what I know best. When I was young (1950's) the five & dime stores sold packages of cartoon character negatives and a few small pieces of POP. We would expose in bright sunlight under glass (not furnished). It seems like there was a common household product that was used to "fix" the image to a limited degree, but the images lasted only a few days or weeks as I recall. Secondly, I remember that portrait studios made proofs on POP because they were cheap and not long lasting.
     
  8. lee

    lee Member

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    When I was a young boy I remember bringing home proofs from the school portraits that were purple or eggplant color. These I believe to be POP proofs so that if the parents did not buy the photos or return the proofs they would just disappear.

    lee\c
     
  9. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Back in the old days Kodak, (and others no doubt,) made a paper called, I think, "Studio Proof" which was Printing Out Paper. The photographers of the day used this for proofs to give to their patrons. They of course gave it to patrons unfixed.

    Now, here is a thought, develop an inkjet that fades in a few weeks as opposed to a few years....
     
  10. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    Ole-
    thanks for the info-



    Cjarvis-
    Check your PM
     
  11. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    I fix POP (and VDB) with Rapid Fix (ammonium thiosulfate); I just don't use the hardener. Works fine. I've always done it that way, but I'll try some sodium thiosulfate to compare results. Stay tuned.

    By the way every time a question about POP comes up, I always do my best to endorse it and convince people to give it a try. I'm not Michael Smith vis-a-vis AZO about it, but I think it's a worthy paper. You need pretty near bullet-proof negs to fully exploit its advantages, but man, when you hit one...

    www.redhillphoto.com/poptips.html
    (Sorry for the shameless self-promotion)
     
  12. garryl

    garryl Member

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    >You need pretty near bullet-proof negs to fully exploit its advantages, but man, when you hit one...<

    That's because it has what is called self masking properties. It's the reason a lot of old negative can't be printed with regular techniques.
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Negatives developed in Pyrocat-HD work very, very well. But even more "modern" development (read: thin) negatives work well if the image is toned after fixing, at least in my admittedly very brief experience. The example I put in the Technical Gallery is toned before fixing, and even that went rather well. That negative is far from bulletproof!

    But I agree that bulletproof negatives (or pyro-stained oned) print better.
     
  14. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    Ole, I've been surprised by some thin negatives that print really well. Those have usually been accidental discoveries for me, though. Should I give my pitch for gold borax toner now?
     
  15. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    Hoe does the Retrophotographic compare with the stuff put out by chicago Albumen Works?
     
  16. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    I have been told they are the same, and made by Kentmerre, though, of course I have no first hand knowledge.
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a little more experience with the stuff now - I bought a bigger pack of 8x10s.

    I have no idea if Retrophotographic POP is the same as Chicago Albumen Works', I have only tried the one. I believe they are both made by Kentmere, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're identical.

    Cjarvis, fixing with rapid fix will bleach the highlights, unless you tone before fixing. That may be why you feel you need bulletproof negs? Mine are far from bulletproof, although I get better results with very long scale negatives. I sometimes use (very dilute) rapid fix as a bleach; both for POP and van Dyke.

    I use Tetenal gold toner - I believe it's a borax toner. Works wonderfully, and can give an astonishing range of tones - as well as an astonishing range of tonalities. It all depends on how and when you use it.
     
  18. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    Ole,
    Don't your highlights bleach somewhat no matter what fixer you use? For that matter, doesn't the whole damned print bleach somewhat in processing? I always let it go until my shadows are completely solarized, then I look for a lot of detail in the highlights...that's when I stop printing.

    Here's something interesting about POP. If you tone in gold, tone before fixing; but if you tone in selenium, fix before toning. You'll get a more pronounced bleaching effect with the latter, but selenium is really versatile. I tone in a 2-3% solution...should take about 45 seconds to get a nice chocolate color.
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No, the whole pint lightens in fixing but regains the full range when dry. I only get significant bleaching in rapid fix.

    Gold toning before or after fixing gives very different results: Before fixing it can retain some of the warm colours, after fixing it goes significantly cooler along with darker midtones and shadows. This is useful to adjust the curves - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    I've never got good results with selenium toning, possibly because I expose much less than you do? I find that the whole print goes mush grey-brown in KRST. Maybe I should try hihger dlution? Maybe I should try Viradon (old)? Maybe I should mix up some palladium toner?

    But I think I'll just wait for summer, sunshine and good exposure (9 minutes in smmer sun = 9 days in winter gloom).
     
  20. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    I tried this last winter & found it to be OK. But the amount of work & exposure involved was a real pain in the backside... if I am going to use something that takes that much time I use Ziatype Platinum printing. I like it better, time factor is about the same and I feel I have more control over how the image looks.
     
  21. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    Ole,
    Okay, I see. I get the same effect. The challenge with POP is the constant shifting of tone and overall look.
     
  22. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Canon inkjet paper (Or at least what I've tried) fades in a few weeks in normal room light.
     
  23. mark

    mark Member

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    I'm intrigued now. Aside from Retrophotographic and Chicago Albumen, does anyone else sell it?
     
  24. Jeanne

    Jeanne Subscriber

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    Bostick & Sullivan also sells the Chicago Albumen Works POP. They also sell gold toner.
     
  25. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

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    Toning POP psper with Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner

    POP paper can be toned with Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner diluted 1:500 to 1:250 before the fixing step. Watch the print carefully during the toning stepo to make sure you don't over tone the image. You can also dilute Kodak Rapid Fixer 1:19 to use as a fixer for POP paper. I have used these methods with my students successfully to simplfy the process and reduce the cost of chemistry. Check the Chicago Albumen Works web site for more informatoin on POP processing procedures.
    Gary