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Thread: Carbon prints

  1. #11
    hortense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarker
    There are several processes that fall within the term "carbon prints", and I'm not sure which of those processes Sandy is going to cover in his workshop. There is, however, a fellow (whose name escapes me at the moment) here in the SF Bay area who does what I would call color carbon-pigment transfer prints. That process involves first doing color-separation negatives, and then printing those onto the transfer media. The color-separated images on the processed transfer media are then transferred to the final paper substrata, similar to the dye-transfer process.

    While very expensive to produce (he said his typical expense to produce a 16x20 or 20x24 print was $700-$1,000, excluding time involved), the prints were absolutely stunning. They were like looking at 16x20 transparencies.
    This process was the key method for making color prints in the early 1930s (maybe a little earlier?). I was called "Wash-off Relief". Les can probably shed more light on this. The process used B&W negatives with color-separation filters to produce three "color separted" negatives. Each negative was printed on to a matrix material that, when developed, produce a printing matrix. The three matrices were then "inked or dyed" with the primary colors then rolled on to a paper base (of course, carefully aligned). I still have one that was done in 1938.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by hortense
    This process was the key method for making color prints in the early 1930s (maybe a little earlier?). I was called "Wash-off Relief". Les can probably shed more light on this. The process used B&W negatives with color-separation filters to produce three "color separted" negatives. Each negative was printed on to a matrix material that, when developed, produce a printing matrix. The three matrices were then "inked or dyed" with the primary colors then rolled on to a paper base (of course, carefully aligned). I still have one that was done in 1938.
    The wash-off relief method of making prints was pretty much as described above, but it has nothing at all to do with three-color color and carbro printing. Wash-off relief was a precursor of dye-transfer, and involves most of the same type operations. The final image was a dye image.

    Three-color carbon and carbro printing also used separations, but instead of matrixes that were inked up and dyed, the separations were used to make separate cyan, magenta and yellow reliefs that were assembled together in register to form a permanent three-color image. The image is made up of a pigment, not dye, image. Color carbon and carbro are the most permanent color printing systems every devised, whether in its early1900-50) or late (Ultrastable, Evercolor) versions. Wash-off relief and dye transfer prints don't even come close to color carbons and carbros in terms of permanence.

    Sandy

  3. #13
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Roy, Bruce - sorry, I have no way of confirming the costs of the color process. I can, however, confirm that it wasn't a typo, as that was the range of hard costs he mentioned in his presentation. He indicated that sometimes the transfer of one of the color reliefs (to borrow Sandy's term) wouldn't transfer properly, so he'd have to start over (excluding the separation negs). I was under the impression, however, that the intermediate media, containing the CMY carbon-pigment image components, was similar to a graphic-arts film, but more expensive. Thus, any glitches in the process were economically painful. As I recall, he said it might take him 40 hours of darkroom work to produce a single print. But, they were knock-your-socks-off beautiful.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by colivet
    Jay, that sounds awesome. I have made some prints with The Bostick and Sullivan's tissue and enjoyed the process but did not get hooked. I obviously do not know what I am doing and have never seen a real Carbon print, but I definitely would love to go through the same experience that you had.
    Thanks!
    Bear in mind that there is really no single carbon look since carbn prints can be of any color, be found on glossy, matte surface and water color papers, (or even glass or metal), have considerable relief or none at all, and have very high or very low Dmax. You can also see considerable variation in the look of silver gelatin prints as well (matte to luster to glossy surfaces, for example, and different colors from toning), but the range of possibilities is not nearly so great as with carbon.

    With regard to the Bostick and Sullivan tissue, it is designed more for printing speed than to give high relief. Dick Sullivan looked at a lot of vintage carbon prints and found that a high percentage of them did not show much relief so he decided that look was not very important for him. And for that matter, most of my own carbon work has been with tissues that produce relatively low relief. However, there is no question but that the ability to give high relief is one of the most distinctive characteristics of the carbon process, and one that can not be found in any other photographic printing process.

    Sandy

  5. #15
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Hi Sandy and Ralph

    I took a course 8-10 years ago at Maine workshops with a fellow from California who's name escapes me. The workshop was quite mickey mouse as the equipment was hokey to say the least. Pin registration equipment was a three hole punch( I am not joking) as well the separations were not adequate and late for this course. I was truly dissapointed.
    The teacher (who's name I forget) was very competent and his work was stunning back then and if he continued I am sure it is very good.
    The basic principles of Ultra Stable Printing is quite simple but as Sandy points out very very very time restrictive. I moved away from this process as I operated a small commercial lab at the time, and getting the
    materials at that time were next to impossible.
    A good friend of mine, John Bently, daily prints these colour prints and as I have stated before on other posts I do not think there are better colour prints in the world than these prints I have seen.He is good friends with a gentleman by the name of Todd ( ) from the Seattle area, who John has told me makes incredible prints as well.
    This process that Sandy does in Black and White and what John does in Colour IMO are of the utmost importance , and if more workers learn the process , maybe the materials would become more available.


    Sandy. are the materials for colour more available? ( my friend John tells me that they are still next to impossible to get. The separation stage to me is obtainable but the black, yellow , magenta and cyan tissues seem to be the problem?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    Hi Sandy and Ralph



    Sandy. are the materials for colour more available? ( my friend John tells me that they are still next to impossible to get. The separation stage to me is obtainable but the black, yellow , magenta and cyan tissues seem to be the problem?
    Bob,

    No, the Ultrastable color materials are no longer being produced, unless production resumed very recently. Some people may still be making Ultrastable prints from remaining stock, but production ceased several years ago so there shold not be much of it remaining. It is quite possible, however, that three-color carbon tissue will be available in the near future from Bostick and Sullivan. Dick Sullivan is very keen to produce the tissue and apparently has a very high end color lab interested. Unfortunatley all previous attempts to revive color carbon have failed, including the Ataraxia project that, from my understanding, had quite a lot of financial backing. It is quite simply a very, very complicated process to control.

    The color printer on the west coat you are thinking of is Tod Gangler. He printed with Ultrastable while it was available, but I believe he is now working with color tissue that he makes himself. His work is outstanding.


    Sandy
    Last edited by sanking; 03-21-2005 at 04:15 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #17
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    Thanks Sandy

    You are right his name is Tod, I think Bostick and Sullivan would be a wonderful choice for the colour tissues, I assume you are speaking of cyan , magenta and yellow and the black being the tissue you are using now??

    As a commercial venture to sell to others,I would not be interested but from a personal project point of view I would be extremely interested in this colour methodology. My initial ventures into this process were not productive , but now I would be very interested to make these prints if the materials were available through a good vendor like Bostick and Sullivan.
    All the prints I have seen are on rag paper with multiple hits on various parts of the image . Putting the images on paper of course is harder but the results speak for themselves. The colour reproduction is faithful to the 8x10 transparancies that originally shot and processed in a bus in Mexico.
    Good luck with your workshops

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    Thanks Sandy

    You are right his name is Tod, I think Bostick and Sullivan would be a wonderful choice for the colour tissues, I assume you are speaking of cyan , magenta and yellow and the black being the tissue you are using now??
    Bob,

    That is correct. I am talking about the three-color cyan, magenta and yellow tissue. Not sure about the K. Traditional color carbon and carbro processes, which used continuos tone separations, did not use a black printer. Ultrastable did, I believe because of the requirments of half-tone negatives.

    I should point out that the Ultrastable process, unlike traditional color carbon and carbro processes, gave prints with very little relief. Almost none, in fact. For that reason along I never seriously considered working with the materials, even though Ultrstable prints coule be very beautiful in other respects, and are very, very permanent.


    Sandy
    Last edited by sanking; 03-21-2005 at 04:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #19
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Sandy

    For the ultra stable process the k is needed, John and Todd are using it.
    You mention the carbon process requires continuous tone negs, we have talked about some possibility in the past of trying a neg system togther which by the way is very close at my end.
    My question is could it ever be practical to produce con tone negatives (lets say like the seperation negs required for dye transfer) and apply this to the colour process using the three colours and the k????( I am under the impression that the colour carbon pigment process requires a seperation negative with either stocastic or fine line screen to make it work.
    Would high quality con tone negs be viable for this colour work?
    I am doubtful but maybe you have different view.
    thanks Bob

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
    Sandy

    For the ultra stable process the k is needed, John and Todd are using it.
    You mention the carbon process requires continuous tone negs, we have talked about some possibility in the past of trying a neg system togther which by the way is very close at my end.
    My question is could it ever be practical to produce con tone negatives (lets say like the seperation negs required for dye transfer) and apply this to the colour process using the three colours and the k????( I am under the impression that the colour carbon pigment process requires a seperation negative with either stocastic or fine line screen to make it work.
    Would high quality con tone negs be viable for this colour work?
    I am doubtful but maybe you have different view.
    thanks Bob
    Bob,

    I am certain that the color carbon pigment process (but *not* Ultrastable) will work with continuous tone negatives. It remains to be seen what kind of tissue Bostick and Sullivan will produce, but I am strongly inclined to believe that it will be developed using inkjet separations, which function much like continuous tone negatives. I have made many color carbon prints with in-camera continuous tone separations so this is not an issue from my perspective. Regular carbon tissue only will print very well with fine line screen imagesetter output, because I have printed a few negatives of that type, and probably with stocastic negatives as well, though I have never actually printed one.

    BTW, talking about going back in time, I have just purchased a one-shot 5X7 tri-color camera from the 1930s and plan to use it at some point in the future to make some in-camera separations for a portfolio of three-color carbon prints based on period technology. I bet it has been a long time since anyone did that! But the main question is, why would anyone be stupid enough to attempt to make color carbon prints from in-camera separations when one could make digital ones from color transparences?

    Sandy

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