Niepce's "Physautotype" Process
If anyone is interested, the details of the phyautotype process — the missing link between Niepce's research and Daguerre's final development of the daguerreotype — is fully discussed and illustrated in an article I wrote in the current issue of Photo Techniques magazine.
There is a useful link in the article, or just contact me if you need more info.
The way things are going, I'll buy the mag and read the article just in case there's no other way to make a traditional photograph in a decade or so.
Should be easy to do, John, even a hundred-plus years from now. The sole ingredients are lavender oil, alcohol and white petroleum! Compared to making a daguerreotype, a physautotype is childs-play (even relatively "child-safe").
I wouldn't call that "child-safe" -- it sounds flammable as hell!! White petroleum is either kerosene or naphtha, aka lighter fluid, aka Coleman fuel; both alcohol and lavender oil are flammable as well. Imagine doing this in a darkroom safelit with a candle or kerosene lamp? Eeek! No worse than ether and collodion, though...
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.
Those chems. do sound bit flammable, though with proper precuations, they're certaninly not dangerous, unless, as Donald menitoned, you were working under the old-fashined gaslight, in which case I wouldn't want to be anywhere near them.
This is remarkable safe, at least compared to, say, the Daugerrotype process, as mercury and iodine vapors are really nasty.
Does anyone have a copy of the article that they could link me to, as I have no way of getting a copy of the magazine?
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Could you send me a copy of your article (after all these years)? I met someone at the Salt Printing & Albuminen Printing course this weekend and she trying to learn this process for some creative purposes. It would be nice to sent her the article for help.
"Have fun and catch that light beam!"
Bert from Holland
my blog: http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
my Linkedin pinhole group: http://tinyurl.com/pinholegroup
* "So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you." (the original Willy Wonka: Gene Wilder, 1971)
* My favorite cameras: Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T2, Nikon F4s, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras
Before anyone rushes out and stocks up on lavender oil, Niepce's process required exposures measured in hours. It was hardly a practical method and was abandoned after Niepce's death.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Mark Osterman conducted a course on the phyautotype process at the George Eastman House in early February of this year. For those of you on Facebook, if you go to Mark's Timeline and go back to February 6, you wil see some sample images.