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  1. #1
    dwross's Avatar
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    Feeling for a pulse

    Hi All who visit here,

    Seems time for my periodic informal poll on emulsion making. This time I'd like to try to dig a little deeper. Not too many years ago, this sub-forum was vibrant and intellectually and creatively engaged. Of course, the whole world of photography is changing so fast the head spins. A person needs a month to just study the manual every time you do a pixel up-count, and I'd wager few photographers can resist the incredible new tools -- so time and money there. In addition, it looks pretty good for commercial analog right now. Lodima has gaslight paper covered beautifully, and Ilford is certainly in for the long haul with their superb lineup of materials. As is Photographers' Formulary, Bostick and Sullivan, Freestyle, BH, Artcraft, and many others, including the formerly secondary manufacturers, rapidly moving to the foreground. So, fear of loss isn't a motivator (thank the stars.)

    Still, it's hard to believe that the interest in emulsion making has just faded away. If nothing else, I'd think that the need of many photographers to 'own' their process, soup-to-nuts, would show up here. But, it's all faded away. If anyone is willing to share, I'd love to hear the reasons you started making emulsions or were seriously considering it, and now have given up the idea. As far as I know, there are only about a half dozen of us who are going at it semi-seriously. It's easy, cheap, safe, beautiful, versatile -- so color me puzzled. Anyway, I'd love to hear from folks.

    d
    www.thelightfarm.com
    Dedicated to Handmade Silver Gelatin Paper, Film, and Dry Plates.

  2. #2
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    We are very busy here in Toronto, working with different papers , processes, from carbon -colour and black and white to gum, cyanotype and different silver gelatin paper processes.

    The basic problem for me here on APUG is I use a digital element to produce my negatives and positives , this digital conversation is not possible here, so therefore I am here only for specific darkroom discussions that do not push the envelope.
    Not that these discussions are not of worth but all the new progress we are making here involves a taboo topic.

  3. #3
    dwross's Avatar
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    That's an excellent point, Bob. I do think the restrictions on digital talk have gotten pretty loose. You didn't even have to type d****l this time! Do you think it would encourage more people to try emulsion making if they could discuss the inkjet negatives they're printing with? I wonder. A negative is a negative, after all. But, I'll take a chance on moderator wrath. I just got a Pentax K5 because the dynamic range is supposed to be excellent (Pentax, because that where all my lens investment is.) It's still in the box, but I'm excited about the creative possibilites.

    I actually think part of the problem is lack of darkrooms. My favorite paper emulsion could be made in a temporary bathroom/darkroom. I've been toying with the idea of going to the trouble of making a tutorial for The Light Farm to that effect. I just don't know if it would be worth it.
    www.thelightfarm.com
    Dedicated to Handmade Silver Gelatin Paper, Film, and Dry Plates.

  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Hello!

    Need and time. As long as film is available, what little time I have beyond work (including giving workshops) and raising three boys has to be used for making art...in my case carbon prints from camera negatives, and some platinum/palladium prints. Taking on making my own dry plates would seriously impact the number of finished pieces I can make in a year. Presently I am lucky to make 5 or 6 a year. The boys have three more years of high school -- perhaps then I can devote the time and space to a totally hand-made working regime. The idea is very interesting from an artistic point of view.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5
    dwross's Avatar
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    It is all about time. That's as much as anything behind my impulse to get a new D-camera, and I haven't even found the time to unpack it!! I'm already intimidated by what I know will be an inch-thick instruction book.

    Only three years of high school left. Amazing. Your boys are still 12 years old in my head. As Cheryl Jacobs said in her new thread, "time flies". I'm off to San Francisco next month for what I think will be my son's final graduation (after 10 years of education past H.S.) Empty nest and still not enough time. When you find more of your own and decide to take the plunge, you know where to find me for a free dry plate/film how-to. I hold out hope that you'll mate handcrafted negatives with your (most beautiful in the world) carbon prints.

    And, speaking of time... the time at the computer probably doesn't bear too close examination. I think I'll go out in the world with a camera or two. Gorgeous day here at the beach!

    d
    www.thelightfarm.com
    Dedicated to Handmade Silver Gelatin Paper, Film, and Dry Plates.

  6. #6

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    Hello Denise and all,
    As I write this, a brand new batch of homemade Panchro emulsion is chilling prior to washing. I am still very much in that game. I have not posted here much because of a more diverse schedual. I have slowed down considerably from the days when I was making 3-4 emulsions per week.. I have very ambitions plans for applying my silver emulsion to Carbon Transfer. I hope to speed back up in 8-10 weeks. But for now, I am taking things slow, book researching, thinking. As soon as I am satified with my emulsion, I wil post the formula here.
    Bill

  7. #7
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Denise;

    I find interest high (or normal compared over the years I have been here). We have filled, or nearly filled 3 workshops at George Eastman House with students from the US, Canada and Europe. And that is just for the contact (Azo type) paper. I get many e-mails and PMs on this subject as well.

    The book and DVDs are selling well. Just about as expected. So many show interest. Sales include the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. I believe that sales in Europe extend to the middle east.

    As for analog overall, well, if I get say 5 messages - 10 messages / week on emulsion making, I get 20 - 30 / week and sometimes that many per day regarding processing problems and formulation of all kinds of process solutions.

    So, I see a lot of exchange going on in all areas, and a lot of interest.

    Mark and I are working on extending the workshops due to the interest displayed in this type of work, and will have some on the schedule soon at GEH. Our Kodak Lunch Group certainly rouses a lot of interest as well. Then they can talk to a room full of former EK engineers about any topic they wish, and the air becomes electric sometimes with the rapid exchange of information and ideas.

    So, from my POV, I see no decrease in activity. It is about the same, but with more people involved.

    I wish to thank them all for their interest.

    Ron

  8. #8
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    The idea of showing a temporary bathroom/darkroom setup would be welcomed. I do have a key to a darkroom but finally getting a job means I would like to be able to set up at home. At the moment even the normal film processing is a bit of a hassle, so I have had to push my entry into making emulsions a bit further into the future.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwross View Post
    ...And, speaking of time... the time at the computer probably doesn't bear too close examination. I think I'll go out in the world with a camera or two. Gorgeous day here at the beach!

    d
    I am up at the university -- I offered to our students a chance to use my 8x10 in connection with a carbon printing workshop I am giving them next week. No one showed (my fault...I did not give them much lead time, so I am rescheduling it for next Thursday), so I have the camera, I have film loaded -- might as well drive a little farther north and get into the redwoods!

    Off I go!

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  10. #10
    dwross's Avatar
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    Ron,
    I certainly have my fingers crossed that you and Mark can give a dry plate workshop at GEH. Mark's recipe is the very definition of simplicity: http://thelightfarm.com/Map/DryPlate...PlatePart4.htm . I think it's an excellent entry to the process. No one emails me about "process" questions, but we pretty much line up with emulsion making questions. I wish the numbers were higher, but what I was really referring to was this sub-forum. There's no getting around it -- the place isn't what it was. Are the people you talk with actually making emulsions? If so, I wish they'd share their experiences -- or at least some images. And if not, why not? Emulsion101 is even quieter. Perhaps there's more activity in the private GEH workshop alumni sub-forum(?)

    Bill,
    Can hardly wait! (But reading and reflection are very good things -- I'm trying a bit of that philosophy myself.)

    Jerevan,
    For you, I'll plan on the bathroom emulsion tutorial (and I'll try not to get too cute with the name!) It won't be before autumn, which I imagine suits you just fine. Gather the warmth and light during the summer months. It was the first dry, sunny day here in weeks and I gotta tell you, I'm not planning on going into the darkroom to develop today's film until it rains again!

    Vaughn,
    I hope your Redwoods were as glorious as my Cape Perpetua today!

    d
    www.thelightfarm.com
    Dedicated to Handmade Silver Gelatin Paper, Film, and Dry Plates.

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