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  1. #11
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    The workshops at GEH are apparently of two varieties.

    One consists of a series of specialized workshop which is conducted by one of the Process Historians. They are on some sort of schedule, and if you can't find it on the web site, I'll try to get over there and get one to put up here. If I can't get there, I'll call them.

    The other type is under the Mellon grant in which they have full time students from all over the world working on a full semester of work which covers all forms of photography from the early phases up to modern technology. I was there at a round table discussion about my emulsion making work showing them samples of my prints and the coating blades and we made plans for my showing them what I am doing in a 'how to' session for spring. The albumen portion of the course has just ended. I got a note from the instructor that they had moved on to another type of photographic imaging.

    Why they use dry paper was explained as follows:

    1. Dry paper is like a sponge (sound familiar?)

    2. You should put a static charge on the paper with a brush before laying it on the surface. They did this with every sheet as it laid flat on the countertop.

    3. You get better uniformity and it lies flat.

    Now, based on what I read above (and this was the first time I ever saw this process), I saw paper handled by the students lie flat on the surface when applied properly to the tray, and be bubble free and uniform from side-to-side.

    I saw a few bubbles that were expertly taken care of and I saw edge non-uniformity expertly taken care of. I also saw a few prints and they were truly superb! These people from Russia, Spain, Israel, Argentina and the US among others were doing an amazing job.

    The facilities are outstanding. The instructors are top notch. The photographic collection (equipment and photographs both) is superb. And, they just acquired George Eastman's original notebooks for safe keeping. They are available for study, I understand, and contain a lot of the early formulas.

    PE

  2. #12
    juan's Avatar
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    It could be beginners luck, but I smoothly coated albumen with one of the sponge brushes from the hardware store. That worked better than a hake brush for me.

    I've had trouble finding a glass container large enough - glass baking trays advertised as being 11x13 actually measure 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches at the bottom where the albumen would be. Does the container actually have to be glass as some sites say?
    juan

  3. #13
    Shinnya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
    The workshops at GEH are apparently of two varieties.

    One consists of a series of specialized workshop which is conducted by one of the Process Historians. They are on some sort of schedule, and if you can't find it on the web site, I'll try to get over there and get one to put up here. If I can't get there, I'll call them.

    PE
    Thanks, PE. I really appreciate your time.

    Warmly,
    Tsuyoshi
    ----- P R O J E C T B A S H O -----
    Re-introducing Photography to Philadelphia
    Summer '11 Photography Workshops

  4. #14
    John Bartley's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for your replies. They will be a great help with my thoughts on this process.

    cheers

  5. #15

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    In my experience,if the paper is wet it will tend to sink,getting albumen on the back. Also the water in the paper will dilute the albumen,giving you a matte albumen finish.

    you need to use thin writing paper like Cranes, so that you can push the edges down when the curl up, once they get wet they will stay down---if you use heavy paper you will push the paper "under" while trying to get the edges down.

    If you want a glossy finish you'll need two coates,the first coat will have to be steam cured or it will wash off when you do the second one(I cook mine in the microwave)

    if you want a matte(eggshell finish) dilute the albumen 1:1 with water or with a 2% solution of starch( corn, arrowroot etc).

    If you're planning on using it in camera--- imo, you're better off doing it on glass,Add the bromide and iodide to the albumen before you whip them up then spread a small amount on the glass like gelatin- don't warm up the albumen to help it flow, warm the glass--again this has to be heat cured( microwave) but try not to make it too hard.
    (safelight time)--dunk it in a 10% solution of silver nitrate for a min. or so, then in a 15 % solution of amonium chloride--give a good wash in running water-- let it dry---you're good to go--


    good luck

  6. #16
    John Bartley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don M
    In my experience,if the paper is wet it will tend to sink,getting albumen on the back. Also the water in the paper will dilute the albumen,giving you a matte albumen finish.
    Thank you for this Don. I wondered if someone else had tried it. There's no way that I could have been the first to think about it here on APUG .

    If you want a glossy finish you'll need two coates,the first coat will have to be steam cured or it will wash off when you do the second one(I cook mine in the microwave)
    I have read that the first coat should/can be hardened with a soak in alcohol and ... ? (I forget right now). Is the steaming a second step in hardening, or an alternate to the alcohol?

    cheers

  7. #17

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    My understanding is is that heat/alcohol is an either /or thing..Albumen in it's natural state is water soluble,and there's plenty of water in it, so it has to be cured in some way in order to apply a second coat without washing off the first..I've have never used alcohol but my understanding is it works fine.This is a 150 yo process and they used what they had.The support being paper there were not many options.On glass they used direct open flame to heat the glass in order to cure the albumen---I use a microwave because I have one. There might be many other options--who knows. Sometimes technology gets to a point where everything is working fine and it just kind of stops moving foward or takes a rest(you still have a P3-P4 in your box? what happened to Moores Law? are we at 10 gig yet? 8?)


    BTW -this is not meant to be "advice" or "how to'-- Just a reference point

    you'll work things out in your own fashion as you go along.

  8. #18
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If you steam the albumenized paper before sensitizing or applying another coat of albumen, you harden the albumen and humidify the paper at the same time, so that the paper is easier to work with.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  9. #19
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    At GEH, the dipped albumen coated paper is hung to 'set' for a few minutes. During this time it is inspected and checked for a uniform coating of albumen. They used a glass rod to burst any large bubbles and ran the rod around the edges to help remove any concentrations of the albument.

    Then the paper was taken, still on the hanger, over to a box which was warmed by having a hot plate sitting in the bottom. The previous step prevented drops of albumen from dropping onto the hotplate.

    As sheets were added to the 'hot box', the previous sheets were moved forward to the front of the hot box until they were virtually dry. Then they were removed from the hot box to finish drying at room temp.

    With all of the students going full blast, they turned out a room full of albumen coated sheets. And, BTW, I think that their salts were already in the albumen so that the next step would have been the dip in silver nitrate. I was unable to attend the session the next day.

    PE

  10. #20

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    I peel my sheet off the albumen holding it by a dog ear and let it drip for a few seconds,then I lay it face up in a sheet of 300# water color paper,and inspect for bubbles/missed spots----then into the microwave---I "cook" it until the edges start to curl then I put it in a pad of watercolor paper. When I'm done coating I weight down the pad, and the next day all the sheets are flat. If I'm going to double coat,I repeat the process.


    If you're doing albumen prints the salt would already be in the albumen. I don't use salt because I'm doing VDB on matte albumen paper.

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