Some comments about my book and my work.
The book and DVDs are moving. Modest but nice sales with some good comments. My thanks to all. It will take some time to see if sales justify a Volume II, "Advanced Photographic Emulsion Making and Coating" (or whatever).
It might be useful to comment on the negative remarks made by some on these topics though.
It has been suggested that I am trying to "force" the Kodak method on the emulsion making community. Well, I have to say that what is true at Kodak is also true at Fuji and Agfa and Ilford. After all, science dictates this to emulsion makers, not me, and as I say in the book, form follows function.
Ok, so how do I "dictate"? The Azo type emulsion came from a teaching formula at RIT.. I modified it with the help of Dr. Bruce Kahn from RIT and a former EK emulsion maker. I improved it by reducing aggregate formation, pepper grain, and also improved speed and repeatability. I also learned how to make it in 3 grades. I could not get (at that time) all of the chemicals for making "real" Azo, and one method escaped my attention. So, I used a method from Agfa Lupex to control contrast which turned out to be almost identical to the Kodak method after I had looked into the methods involved. You see, form follows function. Kodak used a different chemical but got the same results.
Anyhow, to continue, the Kodabromide like emulsion is a molar conversion of the Azo type emulsion with mass redistribution to compensate for contrast, speed and the tendency of AgBr to be even more aggressive in formation of aggregates. No Kodak, Fuji or Agfa involved at all here. Just Trial and Error (T&E). It works. However, where Kodak used Cadmium and Mercury, I substituted methods used by Agfa and also known by me to work. This was to make it more palatable for use in home darkrooms.
The ISO 40 emulsion came straight from Baker, but I modified it to make it more repeatable and also I updated the sensitization step due to the lack of active gelatins. Oh, the same goes for the above as well in case you wondered. Again, no Kodak or Fuji. No agfa either. And again, it required a lot of T&E.
Last but not least, I worked hard to get those coating blades made. They use a tried and true method that came from EK and others, including the paint industry. It is claimed by some that these blades have an inherent design fault. Frankly, if there is one, the claimants don't say what it is but I am aware of none. Many people out there are using them. The blade is used at EK in 4 forms, one for paper and three types for film. The purpose of the heavy blade made of SS is to hold the support down flat, keep the emulsion in the "well" hot, resist corrosion, resist scratching and spread evenly in quantity and width over the surface of the support without wearing away or changing undercut. Other materials don't do all of this.
So, the idea of a coating blade like this was endemic to the industries that needed to coat uniform thin layers over a broad width. Kodak coated up to 42" using this basic method. I tried other methods, but this is the best and the least messy. Wire wrapped rods come in second IMHO. We go downhill from there.
Anyhow this one does involve Kodak, but also any industry that uses coatings. There are many of them out there and I really don't care what anyone uses. I merely wanted to get a high quality method out there as there are so many low quality methods out there, or so many of dubious quality. After all, you can use a paintbrush to apply the emulsion, but every time I bring it up, the students try it and are not really satisfied with the results even if the coatings are unique in appearance, or the students just refuse to try it at all. Why, you can even soak your paper support in the emulsion in a tray or float it face down on the emulsion in a tray to coat it.
So, there you have some of the back story about the response to the book and the methods presented in it and some of my answers.
About the only Kodak thing I use is Kodak terminology for many of the items involved. I have a multi page dictionary in the back of the book to help the reader on that. If there are any Fuji, Agfa or Ilford people willing to present their work, I have yet to hear from them. They could write interesting books themselves I'll warrant.
Thanks all for the response.
Good to hear that the book and DVDs are selling in nice numbers. I am going to buy them, as soon as I can get the money to do so.
I think you are doing the community a service, now and in the coming (darkish) future.
I also think of the more scientific side of emulsion making as meaningful to pursue, to strive for excellence. To help people who want to, get as good a result as is possible without buying a lab. Even the most ardent "artiste" will eventually see that some good equipment and methods helps along, getting faster to the results you need, be it brushed or coated in some other way. (whatever happened to the spin-coating experiment?)
In the end, the more people who make emulsions, the better. Low or high-tech does not matter, it's just means to a specific end.
So take all that to heart. If you did not do all this work, nobody else would.
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu
Always enjoy your podcasts on the APUG radio show. Love the way you can explain things in plain English. Keep it up!
Sorry I haven't been following too closely lately, but how do we order the book/DVD set?
You can contact me via PM or e-mail for order information or you can order them from the Formulary.
For those in Europe, you can order them via Fotoimpex.
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Sounds like some people are jealous, for what reason, who knows. The majority respect your knowledge and experience, and are smart enough to learn from it. That is what counts. Keep up the good work.
I guess I never particularly thought about it. But, I must leave their business to them. I have commented on it enough here. Now there, 3 Points of View in one sentence!
I have to say, it is pretty hard to find, if you're not in the loop. I tried Googling various ways before asking directly in this thread, and I could only find it at fotoimpex.de after a few attempts, and didn't turn it up at the Formulary. I also tried searching APUG and couldn't turn up the post stating where the book was available, despite having used the APUG search engine, oh, at least once or twice before.
I had a suspicion it might be at the Formulary, but hunting around their website I couldn't find the books section. Who would have guessed that I should click on "Labware/Bottles" to find books? Until you mentioned in a PM that it would be there and I looked further, I'd just assumed they'd stopped selling books altogether.
So as far as marketing the book goes (and for the past couple of years, the marketing of books has become a significant portion of my job description), I think you're 95% there--you're really active on a number of internet forums, you're doing workshops, and you have all sorts of people interested in what you're doing, and they know who you are and that you have a product to sell. Up to this point, I'd say you have a wildly successful guerilla marketing campaign, that probably doesn't even involve a penny spent on print or internet advertising (or if you or your vendors have bought advertising, I haven't seen it). Your potential customers just don't know, unless they are following very closely, where to send the check to obtain the product.
You have a recognizable name and a recognizable internet handle, so the Formulary would sell more books if they gave you an author bio and made the page accessible to search engines, not to mention making it easier to find books on their website. "Labware/Bottles" indeed!
And it wouldn't hurt to have other ways of buying it, if you don't have an exclusive agreement with the Formulary (and if you do, they should be doing more for you)--Freestyle, Artcraft, GEH if they sell books, and Amazon (if you don't have ideological objections to Amazon) are all reasonable possibilities.
I'm seeing the ad for Shanebrook's book right now, but haven't noticed yours, which doesn't mean it's less visible, necessarily--just that I haven't noticed it, and spending a fair amount of time on APUG, these things may whiz past me more than other readers.
As far as the search engine goes, it's probably hard to differentiate the posts where you have the URL from the other posts about the book, and I'm not sure how to address that. I may have another solution, but let me run it by the other moderators first.