View Full Version : Light Farm silver gelatin web tutorials

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01-04-2013, 07:18 PM
There seems to be a lot of wet plate work in Europe. Does anyone know where those folks get their silver nitrate? I would think/i.e. totally guess that would be the only real "issue chemical".

01-05-2013, 06:15 AM

I buy my films and paper at Fotoimpex, they donŽt mention silvernitrate in their cataloque, I mailed them a couüple of days ago, but got no answer yet.

Thanks a lot,


Photo Engineer
01-05-2013, 12:33 PM
Many new items or small moving items are often not in catalogs. A question will get you to the right person.


01-05-2013, 05:58 PM

Thank you. IŽll phone them Monday.


01-06-2013, 12:26 PM
Quinn Jacobson, the outstanding wet plate photographer and teacher (and all-around great guy) sent me this:

"There are several places he can get chemistry. The easiest and best price would be a place in Darmstadt - Wolfang Moersch Chemicals - http://www.moersch-photochemie.de/. He also has other contacts in the area. Have him contact Wolfgang.

I hope that helps."

And thank you, Quinn, for your help!
(see Quinn's beautiful art here: http://studioq.com/)

Photo Engineer
01-06-2013, 01:56 PM
You all may be interested in the fact that Mirko, of Fotoimpex fame, has been in contact with many of the former Agfa people and has the ability to get most all photochemicals for emulsion making. That is whey I suggested contacting Fotoimpex. He may be willing to supply these and I am sure that he can get his hands on them very easily.


01-06-2013, 08:34 PM
Hi to you all

I am very greatfull for all the help i am being given. IŽll contact the firm tomorrow.

If in turn I gather some relevant information, IŽll report back.



Mark Osterman
01-12-2013, 07:11 AM
Great Idea Denise

Hope this cultivates a larger community of active gelatin emulsion makers. The more people who make emulsions, the greater the chance that this great technology will survive. Hard to be in Rochester and watch the industry being taken apart brick by brick. I'd love to see the new gelatin photography culture grow to be as poplular as all the other hand applied photographic processes. Good luck with the new emulsion "school." One day, we'll have enough interest and experience to hold a symposium. :-)



01-12-2013, 07:33 AM
There seems to be a lot of wet plate work in Europe. Does anyone know where those folks get their silver nitrate? I would think/i.e. totally guess that would be the only real "issue chemical".

I have said this before, and want to repeat it: I want to seek photographic asylum in the States!!

Denise: Here in Europe (and certainly here in Denmark) ALL chemistry are "issue chemicals"!
I can get some, as I work as a teacher in a school, but as a private person: forget it!

For some chemicals, ex potassium dichromate, I even have to seek police permit to get it....

We're all potential terrorists - or the Nanny society wants to protect us and our neighbourgs... or we have to protect the nature.. take your pick.

(I had a student from Italy: he told he liked his country, as everything is forbidden, but nobody cares....:whistling: )

Photo Engineer
01-12-2013, 11:20 AM
I have had many notes from people complaining that they cannot get Silver Nitrate in Europe, as it is classified as a dangerous chemical. Therefore, they cannot make emulsions. This is going to continue to be an increasing problem world-wide as the anti-chemistry trend grows.

Add to that the fact that the price of chemicals we can get, and the shipping costs are going up as well.

I am very sorry to see this happen.


01-12-2013, 06:37 PM
Thanks, Mark. I've certainly got my fingers crossed for a symposium. It follows close behind World Peace and Universal Science Literacy on my wish list (and hopefully more attainable.)

Regarding the issue of buying chemicals. Artists will prevail. No one has ever imagined that photography is a cheap date. Even smart phone pics come at a price. If the cost of silver nitrate tripled, d.i.y. would still cost less than commercial film, not to mention the cost of ink cartridges, high end baryta inkjet paper, and Pictorico.

Ron, tell me again why people would take the GEH workshops if they think they won't be able to get the materials someday?

On a proof-of-optimism note, Henk Mantel, a.k.a. "Polder", is the latest Light Farm contributor. He lives in Germany and with a little digging (well, maybe a lot :)) he has put together the materials he needs to start making emulsions. As I mentioned before, wet plate, which takes a lot more silver nitrate and is a whole lot more hazardous than silver gelatin, is alive and well in Europe. If there are challenges along the way to making our art, I think it makes the achievements all the more sweet.

Here's Henk's first article:http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/Index/HenkMantel/GettingStarted.htm

Enjoy! I certainly did.

01-12-2013, 06:48 PM
Denise: it is not a cost matter - if you can't get it you can't!

I still can as said above, but the majority of people here can't. And the way things are going, soon nobody can! (at least those that make silly unimportant things like photography...)

The future doesn't look great! But as long as I have my job - my future is ok....

01-12-2013, 07:01 PM

I'm very glad you'll be able to make your stunning photography for the foreseeable future!

If being able to get chemicals really is threatened in Europe (or at least select countries in the EU) perhaps a strategy of slow, incremental stockpiling is in order. Many professions and hobbies have disappeared or become very rare in the last few decades. "Setting by" the tools and materials is a fact of life for many artists and craftspersons. Happily for silver gelatin emulsion makers, the chemicals go a long way.

All my very best wishes,

Photo Engineer
01-12-2013, 08:40 PM

I think that Emil gave part of the answer. You can't get it, but want to learn is the other part. A third part is that several manufacturers have just simply quit making the chemicals used in photography and this includes sensitizing dyes and antifoggants. The demand for Hypo has gone way down and so has production while price goes up. What used to be shipped in tank cars now comes in 55 gallon drums.

So, laws prevent purchase, demand decreases and production either goes down or stops, but people still want to learn. OTOH, I must say that while early interest in workshops was world-wide, it is now decreasing to the US due to these problems and the cost of travel in some cases.

My book is selling well and I may have to go into a 3rd printing. And I've already had requests for V2.


01-12-2013, 08:55 PM
I buy my films and paper at Fotoimpex, they donŽt mention silvernitrate in their cataloque, I mailed them a couüple of days ago, but got no answer yet.

see at the Moersch site, there is a link to a listing of a german chemicals dealer specialized in photographic chemicals:

this is a german mail order dealer having a special subsection "photochemicals" in his listing
I just realized that this dealer has restricted newly some relevant chemicals from sale to consumers. I can't see any reason for this.

a belgian dealer:

01-12-2013, 09:07 PM
I would like to join in but in trying to order the chemicals in Germany all the time I get the answer : we are not allowed to sell to private persons. The internet, or the way I use it, doesnŽt give any answers.
So does anyone have any experience with an internetshop in Germany?

That a chemicals dealer rejects a consumer as client cannot be based on chemicals related law. Most probably were those dealers set up as wholesalers and due to that might not offer consumer related rights. Without adapting to the consumer they could get into trouble.

German law concerning chemicals distinguishes not only between chemistries themselves and type of client but also between over-the-counter or mailorder sale. It's all quite complicated.

But to the relief of german lawmaking: photochemicals have got a privileged status. But then the question arises what are photochemicals...

The main problem in Germany is that local dealers in chemicals have vanished. And as indicated above over-the-counter sales are of legal relevance.

01-13-2013, 04:35 AM
Hello to Denmark

IŽve got a few replies from Dutch firms, who can supply small quantities of the needed chemicals within the EU commonmarket. If Denise agrees IŽll publish the name of some firms in my next article on the Lightfarm. I am still waiting for the reactions of some firms in Germany.

I live in Germany but I am Dutch so it is easy for me to contact Dutch firms, but they all read English.


01-13-2013, 09:36 AM

I absolutely agree. In fact, I was going to ask if you'd be willing! Thank you.


01-13-2013, 09:42 AM

Thank you for the info on the German photochemistry situation and for the links.

01-13-2013, 03:47 PM
Hello to you all,

Thanks a lot for the links, I am checking them all. The Belgian website (also in English), apart from supplying chemicals, has a lot to offer. Not each supplier is able or allowed to deliver Silvernitate and Potassiumchloride. That is not that cost effective. But succes is for sure, weŽll succeed in the end.

If anyone has more addresses, please. IŽll contact some people in France and Hungary, perhaps we can create a European list of suppliers.