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Thread: Autochrome

  1. #1
    tjaded's Avatar
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    Autochrome

    Hi--
    I just found this site, super cool so far....

    I would guess this forum would be more appropriate than color photo, so here goes. I am fascinated by autochromes and would love to do some for myself. My question is this, does anyone know how to make them? This is something I would very much like to do. Is there a group/person out there that has tried to re-create the process recently? Thanks for any tips/advice.

    Matt

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    Black Dog's Avatar
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    Ag magazine published a piece on Autochromes several years ago-issue 14 if memory serves correctly. It was written by Martin Reed from Silverprint, so you might want to try contacting them as well.
    "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 '.

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    jd callow's Avatar
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    Welcome to APUG. Do a search for a mamber by the name of HTMLGuru he is/was attempting to recreate the process.

    *

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    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    According to my contacts at George Eastman House, to date no one has been able to replicate Autochromes, not even the French, using the reconditioned equipment used in the original film production.

    PE

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    DBP
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    Didn't Polachrome use the same principle?

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    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    DBP: Yes, polachrome used a similar principle, though I believe it was rules vertical lines rather than a random screen.

    I've been trying for a while to get this working. Let me tell you right up front that it is quite a trick to get working.

    The first issue arises when coating the screen. It is near impossible to get the dyed starch grains in a monolayer on the plate. It is also basically unknown how the lampblack was applied to the plates. I think that I've figured out the coating, though the lampblack remains a mystery.

    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. (orthopan would be one that is sensitive to all colors up to orange). There are no liquid panchromatic emulsions available as far as I know. I've considered making one, but the manufacture of a panchromatic emulsion is a complex, time-consuming and expensive process. The dyes needed are EXRTREMELY expensive, even though they are only required in small amounts.

    tjaded, PM me if you have questions.

    I'm off to work on some more of this now, in fact.

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    Gatsby1923's Avatar
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    I sometimes wonder if Holy Water, and a Latin High Mass are required to make an autochrome. I have tried off and on for years with no success

    Dave M.
    I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
    Carl Sandburg

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    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    It might help.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

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    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Dufaycolor and Polacolor used ruled screens. This has been duplicated many times. In fact, I was shown a demo of this at George Eastman House by one of the instructors.

    I have a set of dyes for making the pan emulisons. Making, sensitizing and coating them are the most difficult part. Even using the screen method, I don't expect a speed much over 3.

    PE

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    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htmlguru4242 View Post
    The first issue arises when coating the screen. It is near impossible to get the dyed starch grains in a monolayer on the plate. It is also basically unknown how the lampblack was applied to the plates. I think that I've figured out the coating, though the lampblack remains a mystery.
    What does the lamp black do? Does serve as a dye, giving colour? Or is it some kind of backing for the plates?
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

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