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  1. #1

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    Matte surface of gum prints

    I'm curious how people feel about the matte look of gum prints, whether gumover Pt/Pd or multi-colored gum prints. Any alt process, for that matter.

    Anyone who has seen my work will know that I do this type of printing almost exclusively. I love it, but sometimes I find myself missing that gloss or semi-gloss surface of gelatin silver papers and c-prints or even (please forgive me) some digital papers. These gloss prints often seem more palatable to people.
    I sometimes can tell by the look on my wife's face that she wishes my prints had a "shine" to them. This is especially true of prints that are not monochrome. A matte surfaced tri-color gum print sometimes looks a bit dull to the eye. And frankly I think I like these alt. prints better when they're behind glass.

    I like my prints for their texture, depth, nostalgic, and sometimes impressionistic painterly look. Watercolor paintings don't "shine", do they? But sometimes.....
    How do you feel about this issue?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com

  2. #2
    Davec101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdivot View Post
    I'm curious how people feel about the matte look of gum prints, whether gumover Pt/Pd or multi-colored gum prints. Any alt process, for that matter.

    Anyone who has seen my work will know that I do this type of printing almost exclusively. I love it, but sometimes I find myself missing that gloss or semi-gloss surface of gelatin silver papers and c-prints or even (please forgive me) some digital papers. These gloss prints often seem more palatable to people.
    I sometimes can tell by the look on my wife's face that she wishes my prints had a "shine" to them. This is especially true of prints that are not monochrome. A matte surfaced tri-color gum print sometimes looks a bit dull to the eye. And frankly I think I like these alt. prints better when they're behind glass.

    I like my prints for their texture, depth, nostalgic, and sometimes impressionistic painterly look. Watercolor paintings don't "shine", do they? But sometimes.....
    How do you feel about this issue?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com
    Interesting thread, as it happens I much prefer my cyanotype/platinum prints without glass in front of them. I really like the absolute matt appearance of such prints, however I can see what your getting at, when I pull my prints out of the washer they have a sort of glaze to them that is more pleasing than the dried down final print. I remember reading that Paul Strand used to wax his platinum prints to give it that wet glossy look, although I worry about how this would effect the archival qualities of the print!
    Platinum Printing Editions http://www.dceditions.com
    The Art of Platinum Printing Blog http://artofplatinum.wordpress.com/
    Alternative Photographic Processes blog http://altphotoblog.com/

  3. #3

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    Sometimes I look at one of my platinum prints and even like it - until I look at a silver gelatin from the same neg. Then the platinum looks pretty dull. I have waxed some of my platinum prints w/ microcrystalline wax, which is supposedly archival, but I don't know for sure. But the wax sits on top of the emulsion, and that's not the same as printing on a glossy silver gelatin emulsion. You still loose a lot of separation in the dark zones. I tried, but could not get the platinum emulsion to stick to a well seized paper, using gelatin for sizing. That might be very interesting, a glossy platinum paper!

  4. #4
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Albumen prints are glossy, aren't they? I wonder what a platinum/palladium toned albumen print would look like.....hmmmmmmm......

  5. #5
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    I think both surfaces have their place. I love matte fiber B+W prints, and the matte surface has its own character to it. However, the real reason to do RA4 printing is that the gloss prints you get from that have a more natural gloss than inkjet papers. For that the gloss is very nice. It's like you're holding a slab of awesomeness in your hand.

    Have you tried some sort of laminate? That will give you a very nice gloss. I don't think it would alter any tones though.

  6. #6

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    Steve, you might consider sizing with Gamblin PVA (I think there's a thread here sometime in the recent couple of months on the subject). I tried it and I didn't care for the glossy surface it gave to the print, but it might be just what you're looking for.
    Katharine

  7. #7
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    If I have a negative which I feel needs to be on glossy paper, I make a duplicate with the correct contrast for albumen and print the new negative on double coated albumen paper.
    A negative which has the correct contrast for Pt/Pd will be too contrasty for a good print on silver gelatin. Of course,the opposite is also true. That said, if certain staining developers are used in processing the negative, it is possible to get both a good silver gelatin and a respectable Pt/Pd print. Whether either is the best possible print is always debatable.

    A negative for gelatin silver will always look too flat on Pt/Pd even if the print is waxed with Dorland's Print Wax which burnishes to very nice gloss. I have never had this wax change color or cause damage to a print.
    I don't believe this wax has been available since the 50's or 60's.

    Back to the original message in the thread, I only make gum prints when I think the negative will benefit from the painterly quality of the color and the texture.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  8. #8

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    Katherine,
    Actually I do use Gamblin PVA for sizing. I got this from Jim Larimer over at Hybridphoto. We had a discussion about it a few months ago. I use it diluted 1:2 with water. I have not noticed a difference between that and gelatin/formalin sizing in terms of gloss. The PVA soaks right in with no real noticeable effect on the sheen of the paper. Do you use it full strength?
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com

  9. #9

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    Oops, I'd forgotten that you were one that was sizing that way, sorry. I tried it several different ways, but full strength was what gave it the shiny look I was talking about. Jim Larimer and I discussed this somewhere and decided that the paper makes a difference; I was using it on Arches bright white, which has a crisp (relatively nonabsorbent) surface, on which the size would probably sit up more on the surface than on a more absorbent paper.
    Katharine

  10. #10
    Aurum's Avatar
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    Would a nice glossy Dig*tal paper optimised for inkjet used as a base for something like gum bicromate be a good combo for getting glossy with alt-process, or would it just fall apart with all that soaking in water?

    've not actually tried this, as I don't keep glossy inkjet paper in the house
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

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