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Terrance Hounsell
10-13-2006, 11:38 AM
I don't know if this the right forum to ask this question but here goes anyway. I have am interested in hand coating silver gelatin paper but given the amount of work involved need a good reason to undertake the venture.

One reason that I can think of would be to duplicate the wonderfully soft and creamy look found in portraits of the early 20th century. There may be many factors in creating a paper that can recreate this look and I wonder if anyone can give me an idea of what they might be.

One possibility that comes to mind is that modern emulsions are poured onto a thin layer of clay known as baryta which is meant to stop the emulsion from soaking into the paper surface. The purpose of this is to a) enhance the image detail and b) enhance the density of the darker tones. Papers that don't have a baryta substrate would have a softer image both in detail and in tone and thus eliminating it would be a step towards recreating the look that I am after.

Appreciate your thought on this.

dwross
10-13-2006, 12:16 PM
I have had very good luck coating silver gelatin on Fabriano Artistico Extra White watercolor paper. It hits a middle ground between emulsion that enters the paper (platinum) and emulsion that sits on top (gelatin on baryta). I'm recording my research at this address: http://dwrphotos.com/blog/EmulsionResearch.htm
There is picture of a 5x7 neg contact printed on FabArt with silver gelatin emulsion entered on Aug 8-9. Like all papers with a slight tooth, flatbed scanning creates the appearance of fog. The original has wonderful dmax with rich, dense blacks and clean highlights.

Photo Engineer
10-13-2006, 12:43 PM
Terrance;

The comments you make about baryta paper are correct. It enhances detail and increases visual contrast of the image.

It is not simply a matter of pouring the emulsion on the paper though, and I'm sure Denise would be happy to comment on that. It is an art to getting the coating smooth otherwise you get defects in the coating and in the final image.

PE

TheFlyingCamera
10-13-2006, 12:43 PM
I have had very good luck coating silver gelatin on Fabriano Artistico Extra White watercolor paper. It hits a middle ground between emulsion that enters the paper (platinum) and emulsion that sits on top (gelatin on baryta). I'm recording my research at this address: http://dwrphotos.com/blog/EmulsionResearch.htm
There is picture of a 5x7 neg contact printed on FabArt with silver gelatin emulsion entered on Aug 8-9. Like all papers with a slight tooth, flatbed scanning creates the appearance of fog. The original has wonderful dmax with rich, dense blacks and clean highlights.

That's some really cool stuff you're doing there! Thanks for sharing, and it makes me interested in coating my own silver papers too. I'm used to doing palladium now, but this has its own appeal.

dwross
10-13-2006, 01:31 PM
As PE very tastefully hinted, his emulsion coating blades (available from Photographers Formulary) produce much smoother results than any other coating technique (at least that I've tried). I broke my budget resolution and bought a 10 in blade. One thing and another will keep me from playing with it for the next ten days, but I plan to post a review of the blades (4x5 and 8x10) on Nov 1.

Flying Camera: I can certainly recommend you try silver gelatin coating. I knew I'd enjoy learning it for learning's sake, but the satisfaction of the product has been an unexpected bonus.

Terrance Hounsell
10-16-2006, 07:15 AM
I have had very good luck coating silver gelatin on Fabriano Artistico Extra White watercolor paper. It hits a middle ground between emulsion that enters the paper (platinum) and emulsion that sits on top (gelatin on baryta). I'm recording my research at this address: http://dwrphotos.com/blog/EmulsionResearch.htm
There is picture of a 5x7 neg contact printed on FabArt with silver gelatin emulsion entered on Aug 8-9. Like all papers with a slight tooth, flatbed scanning creates the appearance of fog. The original has wonderful dmax with rich, dense blacks and clean highlights.

Thanks for sharing, I've read your blog with great interest and encourage you to perservere. Nice set up BTW. Good luck and keep us posted.