Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
Yes. Brush marks are evident on the albumens. Of the few I've done I have more even results using a single coat of albumen. I think with additional practice with a 3" hake I could all but eliminate them. This links to a comparison from a previous thread. The first scan is a salt print, the second a single-coated albumen, and the third a double-coated albumen print.
I don't know if it's possible to eliminate the brush marks, if you use a brush. That's the sense I got from Daniel Levin when I asked about it. Something seems to happen when the sensitizer contacts the albumen, that if it's not done absolutely smoothly, you'll get a mark. For instance, if you don't float the albumenized paper in a single motion, you'll get a line every time you stop.
He said he has seen successful results with a coating rod, but hasn't tried it himself. The technique was to pour a line of sensitizer at one end of the sheet and draw it across in one pull, then trim to size, cutting off the uneven edges, when dry.
David, this comment about lines seems sensible, as the salt and silver are 'wicking' themselves together if you have stops and starts, rather than just moving together in a smooth blend. This would give rise to changes in concentration of salt or silver and therefore give rise to changes in the light sensitive material that forms. This would cause speed changes and fog changes in the material and would give rise to small 'crease' marks.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
I'm hoping to use one of my coating blades in this type of work eventually, to see if the problems can be alleviated. That was one of the reasons for talking to GEH people.
That seems like a logical explanation, PE. We looked at one of Daniel's first attempts at a 20x24" albumen print, and the lines from jerky floatation technique were clear (again, just a matter of practice to work that out).
Back to your original statement that you are thinking of beginning your alternative printing with albumen.
I print essentially all of the alt processes. IMHO The two with the most pitfalls are carbon and albumen.
I suggest you begin with VD brown, or cyanotype or palladium/platinum. These will enable you to learn about papers, sizing, coating sensitizers, etc. After some experience with these I believe you will find albumen less daunting.
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These answers and the accompanying discussion are fabulous. I have learned a huge amount from this.
Jim Noel : I will read more on these other processes before making a decision on where to start.
I really agree with Jim as albumen can be a monster. Very labor intensive and one can go through the whole procedure and one little slip up with something at the end and.....curtains!! I used to use alcohol to cure my first coat and match the salt percentage in the alcohol to the salt percentage in the albumen itself. I'd often spend a day just coating paper and then put it in my dry mount press (cold) and store it there for awhile and it would flatten out really nice. I also used that "China White" powder whose name is kaolin I think in my silver nitrate solution to gather and hold all the residues and impurities that collect in the solution. I have a boatload if anyone needs any. Then one gently decants the silver nitrate solution out of the brown glass bottle(s). Although daunting when it works it is astounding. Our very own Chad Jarvis has a great section on Albumen on his website under the info link.link here
And speaking of Chad Jarvis....don't anyone say anything but he's tying the knot tomorrow!
"EVERY film and paper is good .......... for something"
Alcohol drying is a method, but steaming is less unpleasant than standing over a tray of alcohol.
I like the tricks that PE mentions from the GEH workshop--a glass tube to smooth out the bubbles in the albumen and a hotplate to harden it. I might try those. I just cut down some paper to albumenize, though, so this batch I'll do the way I've been doing--floating it and hanging to dry.
'I really agree with Jim as albumen can be a monster. Very labor intensive and one can go through the whole procedure and one little slip up with something at the end and.....curtains!! "
That's the truth.
but this might be a possible way to proceed--
start with matte albumen paper without the salt,which imo is pretty easy to do.I do VDB on this because I can't get that color any other way, and I like the finish. The difference between plain water color paper and matte albumen, is the difference between flat latex paint and eggshell finish.
You could probably put salt in the albumen and make matte albumen salted paper prints.I haven't tried it ,but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work.
Once you're OK with that you can start to learn how to float the paper on the silver nitrate solution--it won't look the same as the glossy, but imo the success rate is a lot higher---I think because you can't see every little imperfection in the matte,as you can in the glossy--
then when you're really tired of making one perfect matte albumen print after another---move on to the glossy