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Thread: Autochrome

  1. #11
    tjaded's Avatar
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    It's so amazing to me that so many people consider things from the past as simple or whatnot compared to present day technology. It makes me really happy to see that there are people that want to try and re-create this technology as opposed to just going down and buying film off the shelf. It sort of makes me think about the whole photo world/process and the future. I am finding it troubling that fewer and fewer classes will be offered to teach people about the chemistry of traditional photography. Will the next generation of photographers that want to work in a darkroom only be able to if they can still buy ready made developers and such? As technology "improves" it seems to take away knowledge in some ways. The easier the process becomes, the less the end user has to know about it. I consider myself to have just scratched the surface of photography and find it kind of frustrating that a large portion of my learning will have to remain theoretical until I have the time/money/space to teach myself without the ability to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of someone who has done it. I guess what I am trying to say is that a process like autochrome has been lost to us, but it didn't have to be that way. As technology changes, it shouldn't mean that everything that came before is automatically worse/substandard and should just be forgotten.

    On a side note to all of this, how many of you have seen or own any autochromes? I have only seen reproductions and would like to see some in person. I guess I'll watch eBay? I dunno...
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    "Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it." -Paul Strand

    www.glasskeyphoto.com

  2. #12
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Found the answer to my question about what lampblack does (filler in the emulsion, apparently) here: http://www.bway.net/~jscruggs/auto.html.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  3. #13
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjaded View Post
    On a side note to all of this, how many of you have seen or own any autochromes? I have only seen reproductions and would like to see some in person. I guess I'll watch eBay? I dunno...
    I've seen one. Just like Daguerrotypes, reproductions just don't work - the original itself must be seen. Preferrably held in the hand too, but the guards at the exhibition wouldn't let me do that.

    I've bought a small daguerrotype on ebay just to get a proper look, and been outbid on six Autochromes.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerevan View Post
    Found the answer to my question about what lampblack does (filler in the emulsion, apparently) here: http://www.bway.net/~jscruggs/auto.html.
    Actually the lampblack was not in the emulsion per se. It filled in the spaces between the starch grains which were coated on the emulsion. Each starch grain acted like a little colored filter. If there were no filler then the color would be degraded since unfiltered light would reach the emulsion.

  5. #15
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    I've seen plates and Cibachrome prints from plates.

    I also have a pair of unused plates. I took the emulsion off of one so i could see the screen.

  6. #16

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    not quite the same as
    holding on in one's hand
    but there are a bunch of them
    on this site:

    http://www.culture.gouv.fr/public/mi...8%20ET%20Aisne

  7. #17
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    There is also the set from WWI that was on display a while back. The URL was posted here, but I can't locate it offhand.

    If you think of CMYK in digital imaging and current analog products use CMY, then Autochrome was a rough analog of CMYK with the carbon black acting as the "K" image giving better contrast and higher dmax.

    Since this is just an analogy, the comparison is just rough.

    PE

  8. #18
    Black Dog's Avatar
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    I've only seen reproductions, but even those blew me away.
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  9. #19
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    The actual plates are even more amazing than the reproductions. When held up to light, they almost glow with a pointallist effect.

  10. #20
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htmlguru4242 View Post
    . . . The second and more significant issue is the emulsion that must be employed. Seeing as how Autochrome is a full-color process, a panchromatic (or at least orthopanchromatic) emulsion must be used. . . .
    Is it possible to apply the color screen as a permeable layer [U]over[U] an existing panchromatic film? Perhaps a gelatin screen could be stripped from its base and applied to panchromatic film, as color transpariencies were stripped and applied to paper substrates in earlier days of color photography. Or panchromatic emulsion could be stripped and applied to the screen.

    The Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City had an exhibit of prints (I believe Cibachrome) from Autochrome images. Even the second generation prints were magnificent.

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