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Thread: Autochromes...

  1. #11
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Polaroid instant process slide films also used an additive color system similar to autochrome, though they used color stripes (like on a Trinitron color CRT) instead of random filter granules.

    With today's technology, it might/should be possible to apply color transmission dyes to a film's emulsion gelatin, in darkness, with an inkjet printer mechanism (or maybe just a plain printer with the status lights blacked out); if the dyes could be kept from washing out (perhaps by using water-insoluble dyes carried in a gelatin solution?), then "all" that would be required is reversal processing the resulting film to obtain slides that work like autochromes. The resolution capability of Epson and HP print heads is such that these slides would probably even look okay for projection with mild magnification (say, from 3x4 or larger lantern slides, as opposed to 35 mm).

    Nope, don't know anyone who's tried it, but I also lack the resources to patent the idea, so have at it. Let history remember me if I'm responsible for preserving color analog photography after the last commercial color film is gone...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  2. #12
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Donald, FYI, I have tried coating emulsion on ink jet paper and am going to try to coat on ink jet film to test your hypothesis. The same idea has not escaped me.

    GMTA!

    Anyhow, the coatings on baryta / mordant work well, but on micro ceramic the results are crappy. Some mordants develop a dark orange stain as well. So, what you describe is theoretically possible, but may be difficult due to the sensitivity of the emulsion to the 'digital' chemistry.

    I'm working on the idea though. Keep in touch. Maybe there is a viable route to Autochromes by another methodology - a fusion of techniques unavailable 100 years ago.

    PE

  3. #13
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    About ten years ago I read an article in the Pinhole Journal about a Mexican (?) photographer who was using pinhole cameras and doing handmade autochromes using dyed rice starch. The images were very crude both optically and regard to the emulsion, but that worked together.

    Try contacting Eric Renner at The Pinhole Resource about which issue featured the article. (PR has a website.)

    Joe

  4. #14
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    Donald - that's an excellent idea - i was originally thinking along somewhat the same lines, except I wanted to print onto a separate sheet which would then be glued onto the film.

    I just took an old 120 negative, and taped it onto a sheet of 8.5x11 paper, so as to let my printer feed it. The gelatine emulsion accepts the ink quite readily, althouhg a whole lot of it will be needed to make a print of sufficient density to filter.

    Well, now I'm going to find some of hte cheapest sheet film that i can get my hands on and try this out for real...

    Does anyone know af a super cheap souce of sheet film that i could test this on?

  5. #15

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    if you go to your local drug store you might be able to buy a bottle of "flexible colodion" . if you pour it out onto a sheet of glass, and let it dry out, you can take a pin, pry up a corner and remove it from the glass. i have done this many times, and used ink (india), paints and other things which were readily accepted by the coloidion.

    you might be able to feed it into a printer too, but i am not sure ...

  6. #16
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htmlguru4242
    Does anyone know af a super cheap souce of sheet film that i could test this on?
    There is absolutely no sheet film cheaper than miscut 4x5 J&C Pro 100, if they still have any. Pro 100 is good film, too; the miscut won't fit most 4x5 film holders, but it's the same base and emulsion, so you could test things like color fastness, reaction to fixers, bleaches and developers, etc. Last I looked, it was just over $5 for a bag of 25 sheets miscut, about three times that for the correctly sized. BTW, it doesn't come in a box; it's in a red plastic/foil/paper envelope with (I think) a black bag inside. I haven't opened mine yet, no camera to put it in, but I expect to store it in a cookie tin once I open it.

    Actually, you might even be able to use ortho copy film for initial experiments -- it's not panchromatic, and very slow, but would react to blue and green just like panchromatic film; you'd see *some* color (with a strong cyan cast, since all red grains would be left black after reversal) if things are working right, plus you can work with it under red safelight.

    Another possibility, if you can get the registration just right, would be offset print onto the film with colored gelatin in place of regular printing ink. Offset presses are a little dangerous, though -- you'd want to set everything up, then dead last turn off the lights and bring out the film to load into the press supply, and you'd likely lose the whole box if you had a jam. The advantage I see here is that an offset press seems more likely to take hot colored gelatin in place of ink than an inkjet.

    BTW, I don't think you'll need all that much ink to do the job; the photomicrographs I've seen of the starch grains in autochrome didn't show them as terribly saturated, while photo quality printer inks are pretty strong. The main key is you'd need to make up a print pattern that doesn't overlap the different ink colors, to avoid unnecessary neutral density added, while minimizing uncoated area, or framing the color spots in a black matrix like the bitumen in an original autochrome.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  7. #17
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian
    if you go to your local drug store you might be able to buy a bottle of "flexible colodion" . if you pour it out onto a sheet of glass, and let it dry out, you can take a pin, pry up a corner and remove it from the glass. i have done this many times, and used ink (india), paints and other things which were readily accepted by the coloidion.

    you might be able to feed it into a printer too, but i am not sure ...
    Unfortunately, collodion is essentialy impervious to water (spar varnish and glider dope are cellulose nitrate, same as collodion, only with a little more nitration), so if it were laid over emulsion, you couldn't develop the film afterward; this is also why dry plate collodion took so long to be worked out that dry gelatin overtook it. However, flexible collodion does make just about the finest method of cleaning first surface mirrors -- paint it on, let dry, then peel off, and it takes all the junk with it without scratching or ablating the aluminum or silver layer.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  8. #18

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    [QUOTE=With today's technology, it might/should be possible to apply color transmission dyes to a film's emulsion gelatin, in darkness, with an inkjet printer mechanism ....then "all" that would be required is reversal processing the resulting film to obtain slides that work like autochromes..[/QUOTE]

    This idea has been rattling around in my head also. To add to the deliciousness, the "lampblack" between the starch (or, in this case, ink) blobs could also be supplied at the same time from the same printer!

    j
    Last edited by jon koss; 09-10-2005 at 10:26 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: To separate reply from quote and fix spelling!

  9. #19
    glbeas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Qualls

    Another possibility, if you can get the registration just right, would be offset print onto the film with colored gelatin in place of regular printing ink. Offset presses are a little dangerous, though -- you'd want to set everything up, then dead last turn off the lights and bring out the film to load into the press supply, and you'd likely lose the whole box if you had a jam. The advantage I see here is that an offset press seems more likely to take hot colored gelatin in place of ink than an inkjet.
    Offset presses need a water repelling ink to function, so hot gelatin would not work.

    BTW, I don't think you'll need all that much ink to do the job; the photomicrographs I've seen of the starch grains in autochrome didn't show them as terribly saturated, while photo quality printer inks are pretty strong. The main key is you'd need to make up a print pattern that doesn't overlap the different ink colors, to avoid unnecessary neutral density added, while minimizing uncoated area, or framing the color spots in a black matrix like the bitumen in an original autochrome.
    Simply take a close look at your monitor screen and you can get a good idea of the direction to take.
    Gary Beasley

  10. #20
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    Ok - I think theat we're all really getting somewhere here ...

    The only real problem that I can see with this isea is getting inks that are non - soluable in. Although inkjet inks to not immediately wash out of gelatine in water, after the large amount of time spent in developers, fixers and bleach in aqueous solution, i suspect that moost if not all of the ink will be washed out. This is not to say, though, that a non-soluable ink couldn't be fed into an inkjet; so long as its not too thick, anyhting could be fed through.

    J & C seems to be out of the miscut 4 x 5, but that doesn't affect me as hte largest format camera i have is 6 x 9 cm 120.

    I'll run a sheet of film that's been printed on through the developing process next time I do a developing run to see how the inkjet dyes hold up, but it doesn't seem hopeful.

    Does anyone have any ideas for producing non soluable dyes that will be of a good consistency to run through an inkjet?

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