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  1. #1
    michael9793's Avatar
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    waxing Pt/Pl prints

    I was reading in this months Large Format Camera Magazine, that one photographer is using Renaissance Micro Crystalline wax on his prints and that it made the print pop a little and the blacks a little more deeper. Has anyone out there done this? And how does it effect the archivalness of the print.
    Thanks
    Michael Andersen
    "Capturing an image is only one step of the long chain of events to create a beautiful Photograph” See my updated website: mandersenphotography.com

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    Michael, the process is archival. It was once more common, the likes of Strand and Stieglitz were among those that waxed prints (and we know their prints are still around). I did not find the change in D-max to be worth the effort. A coat of gelatin sizing (used for gum-over pt/pd) will do pretty much the same thing. Others have tried coating with albumen - search the threads here and you will find quite a few discussions on the subject.
    Mike C

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    I have used Renaissance wax on a polished sculpture that has kept it from tarnishing but not on photographs. I print with platinum/palladium on papers that have some "tooth" although they are smooth papers and I wonder how applying and buffing the wax would work? I don't really see any need to protect the print since p/p has great archival properties. You may want to modify the emulsion or negative exposure/processing to increase the blacks.
    Jeffreyg

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    All of these posts talk about waxing with Renaissance wax. Are you talking about View Camera magazine?

    I'm hanging a show today that has 6 waxed vellum prints in it, and it does add a little bit of kick without changing the character of a pt/pd print. Here's a short blog post on a little bit of the process I'm going through for the waxed prints: http://www.anonymousvernacular.com/2...tpd-on-vellum/

    As Mike wrote, there are many posts about waxing that can be found through the search function, you can even go as specific as searching for "Renaissance Wax" which pulled up these three posts:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum42/2...-ever-try.html
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum205/...any-ideas.html
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum46/5...ng-prints.html
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreyg View Post
    I print with platinum/palladium on papers that have some "tooth" although they are smooth papers and I wonder how applying and buffing the wax would work?
    I just use old tshirts or those makeup applying/removing cotton pads like these. Put some on, rub in a circle, slowly let up on the pressure until you feel done. Keep continuing until you don't want to add anymore wax; I don't see any improvement in adding more than 2 coats of Renaissance Wax.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreyg View Post
    You may want to modify the emulsion or negative exposure/processing to increase the blacks.
    Why? As in to use with waxing or instead of waxing just print with more black? I'm assuming the latter, but most people aren't looking for "more black", but a deeper black (higher dmax). Waxing will help the tiniest bit here, but if someone wants a deeper black then they need to look at their printing workflow. The worst offender I've seen in many alt labs is the low humidity during exposure from a variety of reasons causing anemic blacks in prints.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  6. #6
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    Jeremy,

    Can you expand on that comment about low humidity during exposure? I presume you mean in the darkroom, at the time the paper is exposed to the enlarger light. How does humidity affect the paper's reaction to light?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trask View Post
    Jeremy,

    Can you expand on that comment about low humidity during exposure? I presume you mean in the darkroom, at the time the paper is exposed to the enlarger light. How does humidity affect the paper's reaction to light?
    The first thing to mention is that there's no enlarger, we're talking about contact printing platinum/palladium with UV light. None of this (as far as I know) applies to silver gelatin enlarging.

    Maybe someone else can come in and do the organic chemistry explanation as I've been up for quite a bit too long to handle it correctly, but it's VERY easy to see the difference for yourself with 1 print.

    Coat your paper, dry it with a hair dryer to bone dry, rip the paper in half.

    Take one half and expose it right away with your negative.

    Let the remaining half sit in the dark for 1/2 an hour so it has time to come back up to ambient humidity in the room (I live in Fort Worth, Texas, and our ambient humidity is rather high during this time of year, but I just invested in a humidifier to humidify my papers before printing) before printing. If you're using a vacuum frame, make sure there is something between the paper and the vacuum frame (mylar and the plasticky foam core work well for this) to help keep the moisture from leaking out.

    The first print will be very anemic and have a look that I like to describe as "cracking" blacks, like they just kind of "break off". This is a rather poor description, but for those that have seen it they have used similar language to describe the blacks. The second print will be much closer to the lush, deep black that is attainable with pt/pd printing.

    Now there are LOTS of other variables involved in this, but the *biggest* problem to getting deep blacks I have seen new practitioners make is not printing with a high enough moisture content in the paper during the exposure. Once we do this little test they are amazed by the difference.
    Last edited by Jeremy; 07-13-2009 at 07:59 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: simplified to one coated sheet as i did in last demonstration
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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    As Jeremy mentioned, it is the humidity of the 'paper' that is important. The humidity of the room you are working in will have an impact on the paper (duh!). With the POP (printing out process) like Ziatypes, the humidity of the paper becomes more important.

    This is also one of the reasons why, different papers behave different ways for different printers - plus it depends on geographic location. The way Jeremy's paper (and mine we live in the same part of TX) behaves will be different with each season, AND would be different than say someone working in Santa Fe, where the humidity is very low, vs someone living in Houston.

    Some days you can do everything right and still not get a print - it is just the nature of alt printing.
    Mike C

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  9. #9
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photomc View Post
    Some days you can do everything right and still not get a print - it is just the nature of alt printing.
    :o

    You guys are gluttons for punishment ...


  10. #10

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    France Scully Osterman waxes her salt prints with beeswax and oil of lavender.

    Stan Klimek mentions waxing Pt/Pd prints with Gamblin Cold Wax Medium. I haven't waxed any pt/pd but I have tried it on argyrotypes and it looks beautiful. There's a small section on waxing by Klimek in the last appendix in Arentz's book.

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