Silver Nitrate Paper?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by htmlguru4242, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Today, while i was working in the chem. lab, I accidentally spilled some silver nitrate on a piece of paper (argh). I set it aside, forgetting that it was sensitive to light. About an hour later, I noticed that it had darkened significantly under the fluorescent lights.

    That got me wondering; would it be possible to produce images on paper coated with only silver nitrate? I know it would be incredibly slow, but is there any reason why it wouldn't work?
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yes, it would work, but IDK what the tone scale would be like.

    PE
     
  3. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    silver nitrare alone reacts with organic compounds, which are found in paper too
     
  4. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Hmm, Fulvio, does that mean that its perhaps not reacting with the light, and, instead, with the paper?
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The reaction products of silver and many other compounds are light sensitive to some degree, and form silver metal.

    The problem is, how well it does it imagewise and how 'fixable' the image is.

    PE
     
  6. magic823

    magic823 Member

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    Just add ferric oxalate and you have kallitypes.
     
  7. joshverd

    joshverd Member

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    No. I think it was reacting to light. My understanding is that AgNO3 is not light sensitive until it is in contact with organic compounds. I believe Fulvio was saying there was organic compounds in the paper to make it light sensitive.
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm pretty sure that this must have been tested and published by someone - Talbot? Herschel? Anyway one of those 19th century people who tried absolutely everything.

    I'm also fairly certain that there are major drawbacks to nitrate as compared to halides, or it would be a "standard alternative process". :smile:
     
  9. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    Look under "Salted paper prints" and you'll find something similar.
     
  10. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I definitely know about the salted paper prints with AgCl, along with a bunch of other things that Talbot and others tried. (I attempted to do a salted paper print or two back in high school it didnt come out too well).

    And Ole, I thought that I'd heard something about the early experimenters doing this, and im SURE that they did, seeing, as you said, that they tried pretty much everything. I'm just surprised that I haven't read about it anywhere.

    I think one of the major disadvantages would be that its very very slow.
     
  11. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    I remember Liam Lawless has written an article on exactly this in the "World journal of post-factory photography", entitled something like "salt prints without salt". He noted, if i am correct, that it was particularly papers with alkaline buffers responding well to just coating them with silver nitrate together with an organic substance (he had some fancy recipies on this), and exposing them - he particularly recommended fabriano 4.

    I tried it once, it works, though I would have had to calibrate the process had I pursued it.
     
  12. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    How does it come out with an image?

    I intend to pick up some silver nitrate when I get the chance so I can start playing around with these things.
     
  13. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    some papers still contain alkaline buffers and often salts that may react with silver nitrate... You will still obtain a very unusual salt print.

    If successful you should have a (rather unpleasant, but tastes are tastes) brownish-purplish image.

    I would rather experiment on calotypes and investigate Hyppolite Bayard idea of "direct positive" which I heard of --(a sort of calotype positive taken in camera like it were a daguerrotype but with a paper base).
     
  14. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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  15. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    mmm must be some sort of cross between daguerrotype and calotype

    I would stay away from mercury vapors :smile:

    I'm not sure if this is what Bayard process consisted of...

    Anyway I found this description on Wikipedia:


    << The direct positive process involved exposing silver chloride paper to light, which turned the paper completely black. It was then soaked in potassium iodide before being exposed in a camera. After the exposure, it was washed in a bath of hyposulfite of soda and dried. The resulting image was a unique photograph that could not be reproduced. Due to the paper's poor light sensitivity, an exposure of approximately twelve minutes was required. Using this method of photography, still subject matter, such as buildings, were favored. When used for photographing people, sitters were told to close their eyes so as to eliminate the eerie, "dead" quality produced due to blinking and moving one's eyes during such a long exposure. >>
     
  16. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Fulvio

    YES, OMG I saw that a loooong time ago and it caught my interest. I tried it with a piece of chlorobromide paper, darkened in the sun, and them soaked in iodine tincture. I put it out in the sun with a dark card on one half for around 25 minutes, and then put it in fixer. I saw a LITTLE difference between the two halves, but it could've just been my head.

    As I recall, he was going to announce this right before the daguerrotype can out, yes?

    Wow, thank you sooo much for reminding me about that.

    Do you have the stuff to try this??
     
  17. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    yes, Bayard didn't make it to become the "founder" of photography in France, but actually he played a significant role. He was the first one to held a photographic exhibition and arguably creator of both the first staged photograph and the first political protest photograph ever.

    The whole story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippolyte_Bayard

    As for me, I didn't try the direct positive, but in the last months I've been playing with Talbot calotype negatives a lot.
     
  18. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Did you ever get the calotype negatives working? I know you were posting here with alot of troubles with them.
     
  19. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    yeah, they're quite difficult to perform... Paper selection is crucial, among other things.

    there are several methods to make calotypes

    I haven't been successful with Talbot original process, but there are some easier variants. This process will always deliver unpredictable results.

    The most recent I made were a few weeks ago for a demonstration... One looked fine, another like total crap, same day same setting... Calotypes require a lot of light to print, arguably much more than collodion wet plates. Shooting indoors can be very difficult, sometimes close to impossible (also because they're sensitive only to UV and a little to blue-violet light). If you shoot outdoors you need a portable darkroom as they have to be exposed wet. There's a way to make them dry-sensitized, but they're even slower.

    If one wants to have fun with a very rough paper negative, I suggest to use modern liquid emulsion on lightweight paper (<100gsm). The effect is close enough and easier to handle. You can develop the "negative" with a brush or a sponge to achieve a more painterly effect on the final print.
     
  20. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Have you tried the instructions in Alan Greee's "primitive photography"?

    I didn't (yet), but they seem to be congruent with older literature (silver sunbeam), and they describe also the dry paper process.
     
  21. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    no, I have used a PDF found at the GEH website, illustrating the "Greenlaw process"; inside there are instructions for 3 possible kinds of calotypes, one of which is dry

    here's the link:

    http://www.arp-geh.org/indexsep.aspx?nodeidp=241
     
  22. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Interesting website; I didn't know about it. But I suggest you might have a look at Alan Greene's book which might be particularly profitable for you as you already gathered some practical experience. Greene's instructions are all meticulous; quite labour-intensive, but they seem quite extensive and aim for completeness, and thus might be helpful.

    His dry-process involves, for instance, prior waxing and three cleaning baths of destilled water to complete the sensitizing (the silver sunbeam advises, if I recall correctly, only two). He also gives timings: 20 to 40 seconds in full sunlight at f4, everything else runs into minutes.

    Personally I really feel appealed by some of the picture reproductions in his book, other than on this pdf which only shows nondistinct text negatives.
     
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