Carbon Workshop by Sandy King
I will be teaching a workshop on carbon transfer printing at the Photographer’ Formulary in Montana this summer, June 26-July 1. Carbon transfer is one of the oldest, most beautiful and most distinctive of all photographic processes. Images can be in any color or tone desired, placed on a wide range of final surfaces, and, if worked for that purpose, have a relief or dimensional quality that is unique among photographic processes.
My work with carbon printing goes back to the early 80s when I began using the three-color carbon and carbro process. I switched to monochrome carbon transfer in the early 90s and have been working exclusively with monochrome for the past decade. All of my capture is with large and ultra large format film, primarily 5X7, 7X17 and 12X20, though in many cases I scan the in-camera negative and make the final print with a digital negative.
The workshop will include the use of commercial carbon tissue from Bostick and Sullivan as well as training in the making of one’s own tissue. I will be introducing for the first time at this workshop special procedures for making very high relief carbon images that I have developed over the past several years. So even if a person has attended one of my private or public carbon workshops in the past this particular session will present much new information, such as instructions in the high relief technique, more efficient coating procedures using special frames, and the use of digital negatives.
If you have any specific questions about the content of the workshop please feel free to contact me directly at my personal email, email@example.com. For tuition costs and logistical questions please go to www.photoformulary.com and look for the Workshops in Montana, or call 1-800-922-5255.
If you are interested in carbon printing carefully consider this opportunity. For a variety of reasons I don’t teach many group workshops and this is an opportunity to learn this beautiful and unique process in a georgeous setting with great facilities.
Last edited by sanking; 03-05-2005 at 12:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.
After a 5 week trip from december to january I cannot afford this trip! Please let us know any workshop you have on carbon on the east coast in the future!! I can get anywhere on the east coast in one day.
Originally Posted by philsweeney
I don't have any group workshops planned on the east coast in the near future. However, I have done numerous two-day carbon workshops at my home in South Carolina with one and two persons so if anyone in my area is interested in that kind of arrangement please contact me. Unfortunately I don't have the darkroom space to handle more than two people at a time. However, it is difficult to schedule because I am still a full-time univeresity professor and the only period of the year when I have a lot of free time on my hands is the summer. Unfortunately the summer is the worst time to do a carbon workshop in South Carolina because of the heat and humidity, and especially the temperarture of the water from the faucet which gets close to 80F in July and August.
Originally Posted by sanking
Seems like some combination of grad students and ice cubes could solve that problem.
I came across some of your color carbon work online several years ago and found it very beautiful and marvelous. Is that work still online? (The site also had Ernie Thiessen's casein bichromate prints showcased IIRC.)
I'm planning on attending APIS this year in Santa Fe and doing a workshop somewhere/sometime on my trip to/from NM and the Pacific NW this summer. Perhaps I'll see you in Montana.
I haven't checked the PF site yet for details, but will there be any shooting time involved or is it strictly a darkroom workshop?
Originally Posted by smieglitz
No, that work is no longer online because the person who operated the site with the gallery dropped it.
There will definitely be an opportunity for making new negatives at the Formulary workshp. The days in Montana in the sumnmer are very, very long and you would have 2-3 hours of daylight before the beginning of class in the morning and after the end of class in the afternoon.
I plan to be at APIS also so will see you there for sure.
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I am very much interested in your carbon workshop. I just wanted to know what will be covered in the workshop, i.e. are we going to make our own tissues? Also, is there any prerequisite (I know it is not a college class...) for learning this medium? I am relatively new to historical processes in general.
I was planning to attend APIS this year, but now I would like to go to Montana for your workshop. I will need to decide one over the other...
First, I regret that you have to choose between APIS and the worshop in Montana. Both would be enriching experiences for a newcomer to historical processes.
Originally Posted by Shinnya
The only pre-requisite for the workshop in Montana is that you come ready to learn, and that you be prepared to work.
The carbon workshop will cover the following.
1. How to make your own carbon tissue. Although there is currently a source for commercial carbon tissue (Bostick and Sullivan) my belief is that a person who really wants to take full advantage of the carbon process should want to learn to make his/her own tissue. The ability to do so expands the range of print colors as well as surface qualities as regards relief effect.
2. Sensitizing the tissue with dichromate, using both the tray method of immersion (potassium dichromate) and the spirit method of brushing on (ammonium dichromate).
3. Preparing the negative for exposure and exposing using UV light source.
4. How to transfer the exposed tissue to a final support.
5. Developing the image in warm water.
6. Final finishing of the image. Drying, retouching, etc.
There will also be some discussion of how to optimize our negatives for carbon printing, using both in-camera and digital types. However, the focus in this effort will be practical to give immediate results since the workshop should focus on carbon printing itself, and not sensitometry or Photoshop manipulation. I will of course provide a list of the things that people should bring to the workshop, and to a certain degree those who can bring suitable negatives will have a leg up on the learning process.
Last edited by sanking; 03-07-2005 at 07:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Hi Tsuyoshi, Joe,
Originally Posted by sanking
If you will provide me with your snail mail address I will send you a small sample of a carbo print with very high relief to give you an idea of what we will try to achieve at the carbon workshop. Most people have never seen a real carbon print, much less one with high relief, so you might find this interesting.
I would like to take up on your offer. I will send PM right away.
It is rather hard to find carbon prints to begin with. I went through practically every photographs from 19th century at Philadelphia Museum of Art, but I do not think I saw them. Or was I just not remembering them at all. I should check again.
Looking forward to seeing your prints.
Originally Posted by Shinnya
Carbon prints are indeed rather rare. One place where you can see quite a number of them is the Harry Ranson Research Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Most of the carbon prints in the collection are from the 19th century, and some are by some very famous photograpers, Nadar and Adolfe Braun for example. The collection also has some late 20th century Ultrastable color carbon prints by Robert McCowan, who is a very accomplished carbro printer. Robert has a web site on carbro printing that you can visit for information about his work.