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  1. #21

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    [QUOTE=jovo]If you're ever in NYC, the John Stevenson Gallery has some absolutely stunning photogravures by Cy DeCosse. Several such works can be seen here: ( http://www.artbooks.de/21st/21st-vol4-1.html ), but they don't even begin to convey the beauty of this work. That gallery (Stevenson) is a good place to view lots of alternate process work as well.

    Hi,

    My name is Keith Taylor, and I print for Cy DeCosse, so I appreciate the remarks!

    These photogravures were made using photopolymer plates instead of the traditional copperplate method. There are plenty of online resources for this material, but the best book I found was "Polymer Photogravure - A New Method For Photographers and Graphic Artists." The authors are Taneli Eskola and Kari Holopainen, and I found my copy through PhotoEye in Santa Fe.

    The gravures for Cy were for an edition of portfolios; 25 portfolios, each containing 12 images. My background is as a commercial printer, specialising in the alternative processes of platinum and three colour gum-dichromate, but prior to this portfolio, I had no etching/printmaking background whatsoever.

    The hardest part for me was obtaining the correct density and contrast for the analogue film positives that you need for gravure. Although in the three years since then, I've moved over to digital for making all contact negatives for platinum and gum. I can only imagine that this would simplify things even further.

    These materials and techniques offer opportunities for photographers to work in photogravure without the previously high startup costs (aside from access to a press) and the health hazard factor.

    Thanks,

    Keith.

  2. #22

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    If you're ever in NYC, the John Stevenson Gallery has some absolutely stunning photogravures by Cy DeCosse. Several such works can be seen here: ( http://www.artbooks.de/21st/21st-vol4-1.html ), but they don't even begin to convey the beauty of this work.

    I have often admired his work but it has taken you to draw my attention to the fact that they are photogravures. Certainly something to use as a benchmark for somebody interested in the process.
    Hello again,

    They're not all photogravure, only the portfolio. The majority of Cy's work is still in platinum. Currently, Cy has a show of three-color gum dichromate prints at John Stevenson's gallery.
    http://www.johnstevenson-gallery.com/gallery.html

    Regards,
    Keith.

  3. #23

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    Photogravure

    The DeCosse prints are exquisite on-line and must be even moreso live.

    But the essence of photogravure is etching, as this is the only way to get the profoundly variable depth of ink and tonality that is characteristic of the medium. It was clever of the inventors to attach the word 'gravure' to 'polymer', but the actual meaning of gravure is etching. Polymer can also deliver fine results, saving a few processing steps, but it would be helpful to use clear terminology so that collectors and others are not confused.

    Etching with ferric chloride carries virtually no health risk, contrary to some much-publicized opinion. The real health risks are in the sensitizer and the ultraviolet light, which are common to all plate exposure processes. With proper precautions these present no problem.

    On the question of proper density for analog positive films: The short answer is between 0.2 and 1.8 if you have a densitometer. Eyeballing it, the basic idea is to place ALL the tones on the straight-line part of the sensitivity curve, to preserve shadow and highlight detail. On the 'toe' and 'shoulder' of the sensitivity curve, the tones dissolve to pure black and pure white respectively. So the positive film should look less contrasty than you want the photogravure print to look. Then you bring the contrast back in the etching. This is one of many reasons why etching is so important -- without it you lose the near-whites and near-blacks and a lot of interesting detail on the edge of visibility. More details at www.kamprint.com and many more details in Gary Kolb's book which was mentioned in this thread.

    Digital positives can be substituted for film positives in photogravure, and since these tend to be less dense than film, the problem of excessive density range is automatically solved.
    The Kamakura Print Collecton > www.kamprint.com

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamprint
    Polymer can also deliver fine results, saving a few processing steps, but it would be helpful to use clear terminology so that collectors and others are not confused.
    I own several Photogravure prints and I happen to know they were made from metal plates. However I've seen prints made from polymer plates and have found them to be excellent. I'm not savy enough about the process to make fine distinctions about either method but I don't see why it would matter to a collector one way or another, unless perhaps a vintage print was being considered such as one made for Edward S. Curtis.

    Can you explain why this distinction would be important?

    Thanks,

    Don Bryant

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by donbga
    I own several Photogravure prints and I happen to know they were made from metal plates. However I've seen prints made from polymer plates and have found them to be excellent. I'm not savy enough about the process to make fine distinctions about either method but I don't see why it would matter to a collector one way or another, unless perhaps a vintage print was being considered such as one made for Edward S. Curtis.

    Can you explain why this distinction would be important?

    Thanks,

    Don Bryant
    The difference is in the details, particularly the highlight and shadow details which can get lost in non-etch processes. The unique thing about real photogravure is the absolutely linear response of UV-sensitive materials to light together with the ability to etch each tone separately. The subtlest tonal gradations become visible, traces of snow or cloud at one end of the intensity scale, shadows within shadows at the other end. And all the midtones too. This may not matter to some collectors, that's true. It depends on the kind of images they find appealing, how closely they look, whether they will continue to find a particular image interesting after living with it for a while.
    The Kamakura Print Collecton > www.kamprint.com

  6. #26

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    I just want to add a little bit to this since I have just finished a Photogravure workshop with Lothar Osterberg here in Maui. There is a lot to learn and I do not recommend to anyone to try to learn by themselves. The workshop was taught for 4 days. On the first day we looked at prints and made some positives for exposure. The second day we finished the positives and sensitized the gelatins. The third day we exposed and developed the gelatins and on the fourth we etched and printed.
    I think the trickiest part is the etching of the copper plate and if anything goes wrong here, you loose a lot of print information if not all of it. The other and very iimportantthing to know is how to ink a plate for intaglio printing. No reading can help you there. You have to see someone experienced doing it and guide you through it, but after that is really quite simple and no extremely critical.
    If you take a workshop and have access to a print studio nearby, I say go for it. It is worth it all by itself regardless of wether you continue making prints on your own or not.
    By the way look at my print in the regular gallery I just uploaded. I made 5 prints with different ink combinations and think that this one works best.

  7. #27

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    Hi Guys,
    I'll tell you guys about my costs but first let me ask Keith Taylor that he comes clean and tells us the process he used for the Gum prints he made for DeCosse , those are beautiful prints and I have yet to be able to get anything like that out of my gum printing, we beg of you!

    These are my cost right now. These include, the copper plate,the carbon tissue G35 from Autotype, the chemicals (sensitizer,alcohol,and cleaning solutions), paper and ink. This is what it costs to pull 2 test etchings an 1 final etched plate. I start with 18 Gauge economy copper and etch the tests on both sides, then for the final plate I move up to 16 gauge mirror finish copper. From then on your costs drop dramatically to just paper and ink.

    Copper Plate photogravure with traditional negative and digital screen.
    $40.50 sq.ft.

    Polymer Gravure plates (Printight) ---1 test---
    $9.51 sq. ft.

    ImaGon Polymer Gravure film ---1 test---
    1.31 sq. ft

    Currently I'm experimenting with the Precision Digital Negatives from Mark Nelson, you can get his book here http://precisiondigitalnegatives.com/. If everything goes as well as it seems so far in the testing I should be able to get rid of the initial testing period and just do a final gravure.

    At any rate, I usually do other tests to make sure I want to do the image in gravure. I use ImagOn to do my very first test. I want to make sure The image works good for me and I have to see something similar to the final piece without spending the time. Traditional gravure typically takes a minimum of three days but more typically a week and I want to make sure I have a worthy image before I go ahead with the process.

    The ImaGon is a non-etch polymer film and you can process and start printing in about 30 minutes. That will give me and idea of how I want to proceed. I'll live with the print for a couple of days. If I decide to go on I'll make one test on polymer plate. These are very close to the final look and take even shorter to process but are more expensive. I'll live with this print for more than a week and I'll have several of these prints in my studio at any one time. Once I make a decision to go ahead it's a matter of time and being patient and letting the image slowly develop.

    All the steps of gravure are very subjective and you can have a myriad of variations and ways of approaching the plate. Both etching and printing are very zen like and make up most of the fun that can be had with the process. So from beginning to end it could be more than a month to produce one image. But this is my working method. You can work much faster if you like.

    My picture taking is very similar in that I only take one or two 4x5 negatives in a specific place. Typically I go out and scout the location at come back to it at different times of the day and see how the light changes and think about it for a while. I usually have several images like this in my head for weeks at a time and then when the weatheris ripe, over a weekend or two I make all my exposures for the next couple of months then I work in my studio when there is no weather (meaning no storms) in the SF. Bay area. So all the work happens with the seasons.
    Best regards,
    Steven

  8. #28

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    [QUOTE=squinonescolon]Hi Guys,
    I'll tell you guys about my costs but first let me ask Keith Taylor that he comes clean and tells us the process he used for the Gum prints he made for DeCosse , those are beautiful prints and I have yet to be able to get anything like that out of my gum printing, we beg of you!

    Hi Steven,
    As I mentioned in an earlier post, for my alternative prints I'm using digital negs, both from an inkjet and an imagesetter. For the gum prints, they are solely imagesetter negs. however.
    In Photoshop, after editing I split the channels to get the three grayscale files. The RGB files are renamed CMY - I don't work with a black separation. The images are all printed on Fabriano Artistico, with a single coating of each colour in the order Y,M,C. I use a 15% Potassium Dichromate solution with Daniel Smith's gum arabic. The colours I use are also mainly from DS. Cadmium Yellow Deep and Pthalo Blue. The magenta is Sennelier Bright Red.
    Hope that helps!
    Keith.
    Keith Taylor
    Platinum, Photogravure and Historic Process Editions
    Website | Weblog | Google+ | Facebook
    2011 Minnesota Center for Book Arts/Jerome Foundation Mentorship Program recipient

  9. #29
    Gustavo_Castilla's Avatar
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    Alt photo

    I think Ralph make a good point do you want to make many prints?
    you could go to http://www.alternativephotography.com/
    to get some Ideas
    Gustavo Castilla
    We are not moved by things ,
    but by the views we take of them.
    Epictitus.
    My site
    My flicker page
    Facebook
    Contact

  10. #30

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    Copperphotogravure

    I was planning a book with photogravures 1987 and started to learn
    the photogravureprocess and I still are learning after 17 years.( The
    book had been done but in offset.)
    Copperphotogravure is a technique which are very special and all the photo-
    gravurists I had read about or meet does work in differences ways. I think
    the best way to learn is to go to a workshop or been working together
    with somebody whos practice it. It is very much Zen around the lovely process, and the etching is the most difficult/amazing in the process
    I run a course every year 34 weeks on biskops arno folkhighschool and
    the biggest part of the course is copperphotogravure and gumdichromate.
    To get nice gravures it´s important to be a skillfull printmaker.
    But it is a lovely process.
    Some of my students and I are also represented on
    www.alternativephotography.com. There is also one of the descriptions
    of the process. Today we use specialmade screens for the process.
    One of my friends had done a fantastic work about the Photogravure-
    process and if everything is going well it is published during this year.
    It is also a dvd film showing the process.
    The work is about all known variations in the process,
    also in diffrent ways of colurseparation.
    I tell you on this site when it is published.

    Have just come home from the workshop there the students during the day had done the transfering of the pigment paper and tomorrow we do the etching.
    Sometimes when i walk home after a etchingday and it had been good
    results I look at the stars in the winterdark swedish sky, I just feel
    like somebody is holding his hand over me and let me work with this
    amazing process!!!

    Lasse

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