I have just recently started following APUG regularly. It's been wonderful to read the comments and questions from people who love the totality that is photography, especially as my photo-geek friends have one by one gone exclusively digital. It is reassuring to see how many folks understand the satisfaction of working with the traditional processes. Fun for the sake of fun, of course, but also knowing that so much of who you are is in that final print.
There is increasingly an additional aspect (at least for me) that I have been slow to appreciate. As I have watched products that are near and dear to me disappear, the sense of loss (originally just a vague kind of ticked-off ggrrrr!!!) has been influencing how I approach my artistic explorations. i.e. "Why go down this road when such and such won't be available about the time I figure it out? " Simple loss morphed into a kind of fear and it wasn't very compatible with creativity. I figured it was time to change the situation.
I took Ron's first workshop on emulsion making at PF in June. I can highly recommend it. (although, in truth, a little chemistry and a lot of darkroom background should probably be prerequisites) The feeling that "it's back in my hands" has made the weeks since June some of the most satisfying of my thirty years as a photographer. I've been journaling my efforts at http://dwrphotos.com/blog/EmulsionResearch.htm
Last edited by dwross; 09-04-2006 at 08:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Terrence, you can reach me through CFAAHP during the time between 9/9 and 9/16. An alternative is sixty eight degrees.com. You may see the work of one of my students here: http://dwrphotos.com/blog/EmulsionResearch.htm
Originally Posted by Terence
Thanks for the comment. I read Terrence's comment first then saw yours. I appreciate your joining the discussion.
i did quite a bit of liquid light on glass over a 3 or 4 year period.
i made dry plates - some small 6x6cm, 4x5" and some were window pane. i projected images onto them and then used them to make prints on photopaper - so they were an internegative. the small ones were placed in an enlarger, the big ones were contact printed.
my work was packed up and moved 4 times since i did this sort of thing, and i have been looking for the glass and for the prints (for the last few months!) but come up empty. i have a few images, but they are not the things i wanted to post --- when i find something, i will make sure to add some visuals
thanks for posting all this great information ( and thanks for the cool formula!) btw - does this formula differ greatly from the one kodak released years ago "aj - 12" it is the formula ( i think? ) that the unblinking eye article is about. the comments in the chemical recipe section suggest that it is not a very contrasty or easy to use emulsion.
This formula is similar to AJ-12, but comes from a different source, and I have commented on where both formulas fail, ie; the use of active vs non-active (oxidized) gelatins.
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Always been interested in this, but it isn't in the funds for right now. I may get into it in the future when I also finally get into mixing up my own developing chemicals for film and paper. It would be kind of fun to make a glass plate pinhole camera.
No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.
I dont post in this forum because its all new information to me, but I do find everything you are writing fascinating and very helpful. Thank you so much, and as several others have said please continue.
I read all your posts and am very excited about learning from you. Unlike a few of the posters here, I think it is quite worthwhile to have the knowledge and expertise to make your own paper and film emulsions. I would not even remotely consider having a lab process my film or print my negatives either.
I think people need to be aware that the market for paper and film is shrinking. They are fooling themselves if they think this trend is not going to continue. And given that the market is driven by demand, we can all expect the cost for out\r materials to continually rise. The local photo store in my neighborhood now sells 11x14 forte PWT for $93 a box. I'd rather make my own than pay that. I have tried to negotiate bulk pricing from Ilford. They couldn'y care less. All of this points me in the "make your own" direction. Besides, the more control I can leverage on my personal work, the better.
Many of the films and papers I used 20 years ago are gone now. I don't necessarily agree that what we have now is better. Its different, maybe even easier.... but better? I haven't seen anything out there now that is the same as Portiga, or Brovira, or Ektalure, or Panalure, or Ektapan.
I hope analogue processes are here to stay. But there is no way that they are going to be more commercially practical than the digital processes that have taken over. (And believe me, I hate to admit that). And that fact alone will continue to limit our choices and increase our out of pocket costs.
Hats off Ron, the knowledge and experience you offer the group is invaluable.
Thanks. I'm off to NYC this Friday AM, so I won't have much to post until I get back. I'll see you in Oct.
Your comment about AJ-12 bothered me until I realized what was in the back of my mind. Of course it is low contrast and slow. It is an emulsion designed for active gelatin, but without the instructions on how to use it without active gelatin!
We used that emulsion a lot as a research emulsion and it was high contrast. We used to add the finish to it that increased the contrast! Treatment with one of the sulfur compounds I mentioned before will double or triple the contrast and speed, while treating with sulfur + gold will at least quadruple speed and double the contrast while softening the toe. This makes the former treatment good for paper, and the latter treatment good for film.
Treatment with selenium or tellurium compounds is also useful to increase speed, but Kodak abandoned these methods due to toxicity concerns. Fuji uses tellurium. See their recent articles and patents about its use in CA color papers.
Now, about the future....
I see one or two manufacturers in the business, making only RC papers in one surface (color and B&W), and probably one or two film products, both negative (again color and B&W). There will probably be 35mm, 120, 4x5 and 8x10 sizes and thats it if you are lucky. The reason is that each of those sizes requires different support (35, 120 and sheet). If volume is there, the support will be made, but if not, then that size will vanish. Prices will be sky high.
I can coat on just about any surface paper for a custom look, and I can custom tailor the contrast grade. Film is much harder, and my biggest problem is getting the support, and I am limited to about ISO 40 ortho. I'm working to improve that but it is the hardest part.
At a guess, within about 5 years, coating your own paper will be entirely cost effective and within about 10 years, making your own sheet film and plates will be cost effective if things keep going the way they are at present.
You might find some of the stuff at SILVERPRINT interesting as they have been playing around with some Gevaluxe paper - reportedly the most expensive paper of its day!
Hope this helps,
"A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous...got me?" Captain Beefheart