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  1. #1

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    Using household materials for photographic process.

    I'm looking for a photographic process that suits me. Right now I have a DIY large format camera but no real process in mind. The camera is a technical camera type camera with a 8cm diameter magnifying glass for lens. It works (well it creates a clear image on the A4 size ground glass), but has no cassette to store film.
    In general, for what I understand, is that the more toxic your process is, the better/sharper/faster it creates an image. I'm willing to compensate in this for the return of a less toxic process. My goal is to create an image with the use of household materials.
    One of the reasons I want this is acces to the materials. As we all know, it's getting harder to find the right fluids and ingredients to make and develop your own photographs. There must be a way to "MacGyver" a photograph with easy access materials.
    Right now I'm looking into Anthrotype. I know it's a UV process that uses a positive original to create a positive image, but I'm trying to use it as a film. Straight on the camera. It's not working so far, because there isn't enough sun right now and my "flower paint" has gone bad before I could apply.
    I'm also looking at alternativephotography.com for a process. I think I have to dig back deep into the history of photography to find a suitable process, because many newer processes are better/sharper/faster, making the old processes obsolete.
    Who has got an alternative process that is suitable for experimenting with and has got easy acces ingredients?

  2. #2
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    If it is DIY, I presume the D should be interpreted to stand for design as well as do. What was your design intention?

    Lets also get a batter handle on what you view as toxic. Do you means the product itself, or the proucts and byproducts that go into the total life cycle of the the product.
    If it is the later case (and I am not trying to start a flame war about the merits of the Digital side) then buying a new camera every 2 years might count as more toxic.

    If we are talking of some sort of coated paper to capture an image, cyanotype is not too evil. Develops in water. Ferric cyanide is similar in environmental load to many iron ores mined all the time for steel making. Ferric Ammonium Citrate is like an iron mixed with dung by products neutralized in citrus juice kind of chemical . Ferric/ferrous iron going down the drain is the same as rusty pipes.

    Hope this gives you some food for thought.
    my real name, imagine that.

  3. #3

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    My first intention for the design was to make a flatbed scanner camera. A large format camera with a regular flatbed scanner at the back. Right now, this works, but the scanner needs some hardware and software alterations to create a better image. While making the camera I thought, why not make a camera that can tilt and shift, while I'm at it? The materials I used are mainly low cost, alternative materials. Like the magnifying glass lens and the hand foulded bellows.
    As we all know, it's getting harder and harder to find the ingredients needed for analogue photography. Right now I'm using my 35mm SLR camera with film I let develop at a local store. They have everything for digital photography, but the only analogue they have is 35mm film ASA200 and ASA400. And that store is concidered a specialist in photography. Asking for another type of analogue photography process left the store owner in an akward silence.
    That's what raised the question for alternative processes. Accesability is one aspect, easy use is another. Right now I don't have a darkroom. I have a room I can make dark, do some processing and afterwards clean up so it can be used for every day use. (it's the laundry room, so leaving everything out is not an option)
    I used cyanotype before in my profession: I'm a draftsman. The first company I worked had a blueprint machine. Is it still easy accesable or can it be home produced with easy access ingredients?

  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Cyanotypes require two chemicals, some paper, a brush and some trays. (and a bit of sun!) Pretty straight forward.

    Another process is carbon printing. Knox Unflavored Gelatin and sugar from the supermarket, some lampblack watercolor paint from the art store, and some Ammonium dichromate. Oh -- and lots of time.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5

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    Without access to a good analogue photostore, where can I get the ingredients for cyanotype or carbon printing? Is Ammonium dichromate availlable at a regular store? Can Ammonium dichromate be replaced by something else that is commonly availlable?

  6. #6
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    while you don't say where you are, look to US based sources as a start. Photographers Formulary, and Bostick and Sullivan.

    Amm Dichomate though the mail internationally may be a hassle; I think it can be an explosive device precursor if you intentionally abuse it enough, in the right manner.


    Then again, rice left to go moldy, I believe can become a bioterror issue. But I can still buy that 20lbs or more at a time at the grocery store. I guess the great war on terror has not turned every potential hazard stone yet, or more tongue in cheek, perhasp caught a bit of common sense in its stone turning to date.
    my real name, imagine that.

  7. #7

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    hi steven L

    if you have just photo paper, you can make lumen prints.
    loads of fun, no chemicals required at all ...

    you do need emulsion though ... cyanotypes are a blast too ..
    you can get a kit through the photographers formulary or bostick and sullivan
    (for dichromate too )

    they ship worldwide !

    john

  8. #8
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L View Post
    Without access to a good analogue photostore, where can I get the ingredients for cyanotype or carbon printing? Is Ammonium dichromate availlable at a regular store? Can Ammonium dichromate be replaced by something else that is commonly availlable?
    Fotospeed do a couple of kits (available from SilverPrint, although you may find shipping to be excessive. Another source of chemicals would be Moersch - My German isn't very good, but it looks like he does cyanotype solutions.

    As for Ammonium Dichromate, it can be substituted with Potassium Dichromate - Both are very toxic and can not be sent through the post (it is on the no-fly list). Unfortunately, this sort of stuff is getting difficult to purchase anywhere in the E.U. even through specialist suppliers.

  9. #9

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    I forgot to mention I'm from the Netherlands. You can buy all kinds of drugs here, but no chemicals.
    There are chemical kits for children here, to explore the wonders of science. Perhaps one of these kits contain the right chemicals for any form of photography.

  10. #10

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    Hallo Steven,

    You can buy chemicals by postorder here:

    http://www.hekserij.nl/
    (Last time I checked they had the ingredients for cyanotype)

    and

    http://www.labstuff.nl/

    I never ordered at the sites. Because I could get the chemical I needed (KBr, potassium bromide) in at Drogisterij de Spaanse Vlieg in Groningen. (saves shipping, I work in Groningen):
    http://www.despaansevlieg.nl/

    Regards,

    Jan Alwin de Jong

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