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Bill Harrison
10-14-2013, 07:54 AM
Folks, With all the interest in cooking over the past 30 years, it is now impossible to go out to eat and find a restaurant able to serve what we can make at home for 1/4 the cost..... It's a lot more planning and work, prep thru clean up.... Same is true for emulsion making and like cooking, the more you do, the better & faster you get. Of course we won't starve, because it's not food, AND we CAN just keep using film, now that it's clear it will not die. Think of it as brain plasticity training, now that science has made it clear, if you don't use it, you lose it... I'm having a very interesting time learning calotype (checkout the calotype society on flicker) which is not for the faint hearted. Carbon is the visual opposite in image quality & wet plate somewhere in between if you print in albumin with the glass wet plate. The added learning that comes with the exposure to the history of the times when a particular style you may be interested in was being practiced is clearly a bonus, especially if you like to get decked out in period uniforms and gowns.... It costs a few bucks to get started, but in the long run, less than LF & ULF once a year with Ilford ($ching-$ching, due to buying for a year) Kodak ($$$) and to a lesser extent Acros and now Adox is back.. The more of US that do honest to goodness hand made work the more the market will grow ($$$ in our pocket) and the more interesting people in the field there will be to share information with.... It's a shot in the arm waiting to happen for all areas of photography. Even digital if you wish to mix ... there's room for all the varied purists to play well with others. Thank you Light Farm, Ostermans, Sandy, Artcraft et al, and to those about to become a part of a slow growing sand-box of fun.

Bob Carnie
10-14-2013, 08:29 AM
As a printer for others who constantly is putting images on gallery walls, my interest is to make hand made colour prints that will have the ability to achieve a level of permanence that current inkjet and RA4 technology could only wish to achieve.
Its the reason why I have one of few large commercial wet labs in Canada.

Also I think the prints look pretty cool...

The more this envelope is pushed the marketplace will have to take archival issues into their buying practices. I am changing my complete business model to push these historical prints.

I only cringe to think the damage that has been done with the current crop of art stars placing ink:munch:et an RA4 into the hands of collectors with huge influence
and legal friends.

These types of prints do have a very limited lifespan and I believe its only a matter of a few years before we start reading up on the lawsuits that start happening
worldwide...... here is and example.... FIDDILE STICK, STOMPWINDER AND FLUXMATTER LAW FIRM HAS JUST SUCCESSFULLY SUED JAMIA/FLAVOR OF THE MONTH ART STAR FOR 50 THOUSAND EUROS.... due to complete collection of dye coupler prints fading off their walls..

Its only a matter of time..:munch:

kb3lms
10-14-2013, 08:48 AM
Count me as one who would love to try it, but who doesn't have time to take a class or put enough time into it to really know what I'm doing.

A class is not needed and the time required isn't that much. If you could make a cake from scratch, you can make and coat an emulsion.

Actually, it's a fine activity that you can do in stages. For example, precipitate and ripen. Stick in the refrigerator and walk away for a week. Wash, then refrigerate and walk away and so on. A work flow like that may or make not make a noticeable difference in the final product but you can work that way with just fine results. Most of the hardware supplies you need that you might not already have in your darkroom can be bought at any dollar store.

dwross
10-14-2013, 11:03 AM
Thank you, Bill, for including The Light Farm on your list. I love the phrase "slow growing sand-box of fun" :). It is indeed that.

And Jason (above) is spot-on. So many things are far more about organization than actual time. It really comes down to priorities and what stokes the fire in your belly. No right or wrong answers there, of course. But, sometimes excuses should be recognized and acknowledged.

ntenny
10-14-2013, 11:09 AM
Emulsion making has been high on my to-do list for several years now, but has never quite bubbled to the top. If I can manage to quit my day job, ship my kid off to college, and get the cleaning fairies to take care of the kitchen, I'm there! :-)

The one-day seminar at the Light Farm a few years back was enormously inspirational, and I'm sort of embarrassed that I never got around to following up on it, but one of these days. I wonder if there aren't a lot of people (well, "a lot" in relative terms) in a similar position, hanging back from saying anything because we have nothing to add to the discussion yet.

-NT

Hexavalent
10-14-2013, 12:23 PM
I've been making emulsions for a couple years now. Started with a workshop at Eastman House, making a simple Azo-type paper.

Having "caught the bug", I've been slowly building a lab so that I can pursue the more technically advanced preparations. Although a decent emulsion can be made simply with minimal equipment - pursuing higher speeds, spectral sensitivity, latitude, good LIK etc., does require some $$ chemistry and equipment.

Along with copious amounts reading (both old and newer technical information), experimentation, and the disposal of significant amounts of money (by my standards), I've had some great successes, and many failures.

Ron (PE) has been very supportive: advising on technical matters, hand-holding, and saving me from racing down the wrong path.

Unfortunately, there has been a history of "pissing matches" regarding emulsion work on APUG: unsubstantiated technical claims, dismissal of advanced techniques/chemistry as being "unnecessary", and often, a bizarre bias against anything related to EK. For this reason, I've taken the majority of my discussions off-line.

Vaughn
10-14-2013, 01:00 PM
My emulsion making will have to be limited to carbon printing for the next few years -- still have three teenagers in the house and a job. But I bought a house and with (finally) my own darkroom in the foreseeable future, such endeavors such as film-making will be possible.

winger
10-14-2013, 01:20 PM
A class is not needed and the time required isn't that much. If you could make a cake from scratch, you can make and coat an emulsion.

Actually, it's a fine activity that you can do in stages. For example, precipitate and ripen. Stick in the refrigerator and walk away for a week. Wash, then refrigerate and walk away and so on. A work flow like that may or make not make a noticeable difference in the final product but you can work that way with just fine results. Most of the hardware supplies you need that you might not already have in your darkroom can be bought at any dollar store.

I didn't know that. (And I'm not entirely sure about the cake part, but I am a chemist who has made acrylamide gels for electrophoresis successfully).


.....And Jason (above) is spot-on. So many things are far more about organization than actual time. It really comes down to priorities and what stokes the fire in your belly. No right or wrong answers there, of course. But, sometimes excuses should be recognized and acknowledged.

And for those of us who haven't done more than read a bit about it, we don't necessarily know that we can put it away for a bit until we have another block of time. I also have a very tough time learning anything by reading about it. A class would be the visual learning push that would make the reading make sense.
It's tough to know where to start without a class to see what really matters in doing it. Those who have been doing it for awhile don't always remember what it's like to be a total newb (I know I was bad with that aspect when teaching new trace analysts how to do polarized light microscopy and infrared spectroscopy). Having a simple roadmap would be a great assist.
I'd be most interested in making paper - especially one that worked well for contact prints as I'm currently in between darkrooms and don't have an enlarger.

dwross
10-14-2013, 02:02 PM
Emulsion making has been high on my to-do list for several years now, but has never quite bubbled to the top. If I can manage to quit my day job, ship my kid off to college, and get the cleaning fairies to take care of the kitchen, I'm there! :-)

The one-day seminar at the Light Farm a few years back was enormously inspirational, and I'm sort of embarrassed that I never got around to following up on it, but one of these days. I wonder if there aren't a lot of people (well, "a lot" in relative terms) in a similar position, hanging back from saying anything because we have nothing to add to the discussion yet.

-NT

Nate:

That was a fun weekend. I had a great time. I'm glad you remember it fondly. Every year I think about doing it again, but can never get it pulled together (See, when I preach about organization, it's from embarrassing personal experience!) Next summer, if you come to Florence, drive up the road for the afternoon and visit. If you give me a head's up, maybe I can even organize something :).

dwross
10-14-2013, 02:09 PM
Bethe,

Workshops can be a lot of fun, but they are also expensive and few and far between. If you are interested in working with homemade paper, I hope you don't wait for a brick and mortar workshop. I invite you to check out the web tutorials on The Light Farm. I designed them to be go-at-your-own-pace home workshops. The first recipe (KCl Gaslight Paper) is a fool-proof contact printing paper. I can't imagine you'll have any difficulties, but I welcome any and all feedback.

http://thelightfarm.com/Map/TLFTutorials/tlftutorials-handmade-silver-gelatin-emulsions.htm

DannL.
10-14-2013, 02:56 PM
A question for the masses . . . When was the first ready-to-use silver gelatin emulsion sold to the public? I am speaking of emulsions similar to Rockland's liquid light, etc. I would guess it must have proceeded the commercial sale of dry-plates themselves, but I would be very interested in learning of the actual history behind these emulsions. And not to steer the thread to far into left field.

gandolfi
10-14-2013, 03:16 PM
Hi DannL,

$-wise, homemade is a lot cheaper. Time-wise, of course you are right. Every step of d.i.y. does add time to a process.

I've come to think of all this as Slow Photography, done for all the reasons gardening and real cooking are done. I'm on the same page as MDR. Knowing your materials and process adds a whole new layer to the experience. Also nice to know that a paper or film will be available for as long as I want to make it, not for as long or short a time as some commercial interest decides they want to.

!

First: MOMUS: NO this isn't America! site is worldwide and run and owned from New Zealand....

A couple of things: first remember not all here are from America, and I can for one state with out question, that a ready made emulsion here is FAR less expensive than the home made one!

Secondly. a lot of the raw chemicals are next to impossible to get here with out a police permit. And a VAT registration... So it is limited what one actually can do, even if we want to...

I have made my own simple emulsions from scratch and it was a fun challenge - and I truely would like to do more...

Also "you" have a formidable opponent these days: the Wet Plate imagery... It is like this has quickly become the thing to do for so many people.. And no matter how bad images made the applause is always great and loud...

I would like to learn wet-plate - incognito, and learn to master the dry method publicly and loudly.... (albeit I think I am almost alone in that..)

However a photographic asylum in America might be first on the agenda.. :)

Ian Grant
10-14-2013, 03:18 PM
Unfortunately, there has been a history of "pissing matches" regarding emulsion work on APUG: unsubstantiated technical claims, dismissal of advanced techniques/chemistry as being "unnecessary", and often, a bizarre bias against anything related to EK. For this reason, I've taken the majority of my discussions off-line.

Your last paragraph need addressing, it's not that there's a bizarre bias against EK rather that some here think that was the only cutting edge company. Ilford were way ahead and so were Agfa in terms of B&W emulsions and chemistry until the 1980's. And then it's conveniently forgotten that much of Kodak's cutting edge research took place outside EK at Kodak Ltd, Harrow.

I rarely post on emulsion making here despite having over 10 years commercial experience because there is such a heavy bias towards one persons work which skews threads into there's only one way.

There's many way to skin a cat :D There's different approaches which can give near identical results as I learnt for myself when I worked with an Ilford emulsion for a short time (early 1980's) alongside our own emulsion.

Ian

dwross
10-14-2013, 03:55 PM
Emil,

Your situation may not be as grim as you think! "Polder", here on APUG, has been making wonderful progress with emulsions in Germany. He has written a number of articles for TLF (all of which I have enjoyed immensely) but one in particular might be useful to you. http://www.thelightfarm.com/Map/Index/HenkMantel2/ChemicalList.htm

You are an amazing and eclectic artist. I can imagine you'd like to try ALL of the processes someday. I wish you all the luck in that, but would it be OK if I hope you declde to do more silver gelatin emulsions?:) The portrait made on a simple Br paper you posted a short while ago was stunning. Don't listen to the voices that say an emulsion has to be more complicated than the one you made. (Ian: please note that I said doesn't have to be, not shouldn't be.)

Hexavalent
10-14-2013, 03:57 PM
Ian,

Indeed there are many ways to skin a cat. Ilford, Agfa, Polaroid, Fuji, CIBA and a host of others have all been key players in raising the bar of photographic chemistry. In strange way, EK is a easy target to be labelled as having some sort of "industry arrogance", much in the same way that people target Microsoft.

Oh well, I'm just trying to gather information, cram it into my skull, and hopefully use it to further my emulsion projects.


Your last paragraph need addressing, it's not that there's a bizarre bias against EK rather that some here think that was the only cutting edge company. Ilford were way ahead and so were Agfa in terms of B&W emulsions and chemistry until the 1980's. And then it's conveniently forgotten that much of Kodak's cutting edge research took place outside EK at Kodak Ltd, Harrow.

I rarely post on emulsion making here despite having over 10 years commercial experience because there is such a heavy bias towards one persons work which skews threads into there's only one way.

There's many way to skin a cat :D There's different approaches which can give near identical results as I learnt for myself when I worked with an Ilford emulsion for a short time (early 1980's) alongside our own emulsion.

Ian

Prof_Pixel
10-14-2013, 04:00 PM
it's not that there's a bizarre bias against EK rather that some here think that was the only cutting edge company.

I don't see any bias against the EK Company. However, I think we all know who have been involved in 'pissing matches' regarding emulsion making here in the Forums.

Ian Grant
10-14-2013, 04:11 PM
Oh well, I'm just trying to gather information, cram it into my skull, and hopefully use it to further my emulsion projects.

That's the important part and it's the sharing of experience that's important.

Strangely what I don't see is how changing certain parameters has large effects on the resulting emulsion, something I learnt very ealry on.

Ian

Ian Grant
10-14-2013, 04:30 PM
I don't see any bias against the EK Company. However, I think we all know who have been involved in 'pissing matches' regarding emulsion making here in the Forums.

Well I've never said there was a bias against EK, I've only ever seen the exact opposite a huge bias for EK :D However I've only seen you post as is, no Bias, sure there can be an EK perspective.

Ian

Hexavalent
10-14-2013, 07:14 PM
Strangely what I don't see is how changing certain parameters has large effects on the resulting emulsion, something I learnt very ealry on.

Ian

I'm not quite sure if I'm addressing your statement about "parameters", but I'll offer that I've learned (the hard way) that time/temp/reagent conc. during "finishing" (sulfur/gold) can be critical when trying to squeeze another stop or two from an emulsion. Some of the procedures are probably easier done a large scale as opposed to a basement lab scale.

kb3lms
10-14-2013, 08:15 PM
still have three teenagers in the house and a job.

Me too. Actually 4 teenagers (girls). I'll be the first to tell you that other than the holidays when I may cram in a few batches, I get to make a run about every other month. Actually, my last batch (and first ortho) made in June is about 1/2 used. Checked it last week and it hasn't grown fur so it should still be good. Right now I don't have time to coat the rest of it and still two rolls to shoot up from the last coating. My batches are about 150ml each. I have made single jet and double jet runs and while I haven't actually achieved VAg control, I can accurately measure and track VAg and rudimentary control is within my grasp. That means it isn't hard. There is noting in my setup other than the silver wire that didn't come from a local hardware store. The silver wire I bought online.

Due to time, work and extra-curricular constraints I have never taken any classes. Out of about a dozen runs that I have made, one was a complete dud and one other, the first, wasn't great. Everything else has given something very usable.

Get a credit card that gives you cash reward points and use the points to buy Silver Nitrate. 50 grams will go a long way at small size batches, say 6 to 8 and maybe more. The other chemicals are relatively cheap. Depending on how well I can coat I get 8 to 10 120 size rolls out of a batch. The subbing problem has been solved for coating on PET (there are various ways) and glass I understand is not a problem at all.

VAg control is not necessary at all. Don't even think about it unless that curiosity level strikes you. Cyanine dyes for panchromatic film get expensive but erythrosine for ortho is not. (Search here and figure out why) Again, don't worry about panchromatic till that peaks your interest. You don't need T-Grains - although it is one of those holy grails.

Use your moments of down time to read some of the old literature or search out some of the landmark books from the used online bookstores. Yes, there are pristine copies of Glafkides listed for well over $400. You don't need pristine. Patience will find you a serviceable set in the $50 range. Baker's 2nd edition is often well over $100. I got mine for about $40 and it is like new except for a faded spine. I missed a copy on the big auction site for a whopping $2.48, no doubt to someone within our ranks here. (Congrats if it was you!)

You do not need EK, Ilford, etc. consistency and quality just like you don't need a Ferrari to go to the grocery store or the latest, greatest Nikon to take a picture of your kid. Fords work just fine. Keep that in mind.

Carbon printing is a mystery to me. And what in the world is gum printing? Gum is something for teenage girls that I can't possibly imagine printing anything with.

Tweak the knobs.

-- Jason