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  1. #1
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Intriguing proposition for "electroplated photograph" - What do you guys think?

    http://www.finishing.com/265/85.shtml

    I came across this question after spelunking the interwebs, and indeed this sounds like a fascinating proposition.

    Basically, print a gum negative on a sheet of metal and then electroplate it. The electroplated portions will then constitute the positive image. The result is a seriously stable photograph.

    Is this possible, plausible? I'm just thinking about the possibilities.... electroplating various metals in layers. Selective tarnshing, polishing, petina, etc.; could result in very beautiful and unique colors/tones.

    Please, I'd love to hear your opinions. Heck, it sounds fairly easy to do.

  2. #2
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Offhand the only thing wrong I noticed was he mentioned electroplating with zinc, platinum or silver. The silver would quickly tarnish, turning black instead of remaining light colored like the others. It is interesting.

  3. #3
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Well, knowing that, you could use silver for your blacks.

    Would gum be the only option for the resist?

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    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    http://www.finishing.com/265/85.shtml

    I came across this question after spelunking the interwebs, and indeed this sounds like a fascinating proposition.

    Basically, print a gum negative on a sheet of metal and then electroplate it. The electroplated portions will then constitute the positive image. The result is a seriously stable photograph.

    Is this possible, plausible? I'm just thinking about the possibilities....
    You may be surprised to hear that electroplating has been used for reproducing photographs and line drawings since the dawn of the "electric age" in the 19th century and the invention of the battery by Volta. I recently bought a book about old (offset) printing techniques, and it details many processes, including ones using electroplating, to create "matrices" that could be used in reproducing photos or drawings on paper.
    Last edited by Marco B; 07-22-2010 at 04:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

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    Marco B's Avatar
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    You may find this link interesting:

    A SHORT HISTORY OF ELECTROLYTIC PRINTMAKING

    Marco
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  6. #6
    Marco B's Avatar
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    By the way, one technique described in the book I have, details some aspects I don't see in the other articles. It could possibly be used in conjunction with dichromate hardened matrices, as the book described that they pressed wooden line engravings into bee wax (that you could probably do with the dichromate matrix). The wax had been made conductive by using graphite, and was subsequently electroplated with copper from a coppersulphate solution, giving a durable negative image that could be used as a normal printing plate in book printing, using any of your preferred "durable" inks and a simple hand cranked printing press, as used in etching.

    OK, I know see that the use of graphite is mentioned here:

    http://www.greenart.info/history/History1.htm

    "If the cathode was a three-dimensional object or mould in wax, plaster of paris, or metal, coated with ‘plumbago’ (black lead) or graphite to conduct electricity, then the copper formed a solid negative mould over the object."

    I guess from reading this, is what they did was dust the wax mould with a very thin layer of finely ground graphite to make it conductive for the electroplating, and when the electroplating was finished, remove the wax by melting it and wash away any graphite and wax remains in warm water or so to expose the plate and have it ready for printing...
    Last edited by Marco B; 07-22-2010 at 05:15 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  7. #7

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    unfortunately the guy doesn't know much about gum printing. first thing that came to my mind was that the gum layer won't stick to the metal (or swim off in development). gum is infamous for being picky about surfaces.
    gelatin (aka carbon printing) would probably be a better option (it is used on metal surfaces in copper photogravure).

    and about the plating: can one achieve greys (not-white, not-black) with this? except when using a printing screen (or is it grid?? sorry don't know the english word for the little dots).

  8. #8
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phritz phantom View Post

    and about the plating: can one achieve greys (not-white, not-black) with this? except when using a printing screen (or is it grid?? sorry don't know the english word for the little dots).
    It's called a half-tone screen.

  9. #9
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    A line screen to produce the half-tone screen might be necessary. I don't know the first thing about gum printing, so the word of caution about materials it can stick to is welcome. But does gelatin harden in the same manner, allowing for a resist?

    Marco B, thanks for the link!

    This is very interesting... I need to learn more though.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    A line screen to produce the half-tone screen might be necessary. I don't know the first thing about gum printing, so the word of caution about materials it can stick to is welcome. But does gelatin harden in the same manner, allowing for a resist?

    Marco B, thanks for the link!

    This is very interesting... I need to learn more though.
    ah, so it's screen! i can never remember whether the german "raster" translates to "grid" or "screen".

    you might get the gum layer to stick to the metal in one way or another, but in no way without serious sizing/ undercoats. and you need bare metal for the plating. so i assume this technique is doomed to fail.
    but, carbon printing is used in copper photogravure. an image made from gelatin and pigment is transferred onto a sheet of copper and the put into an etching bath (areas with gelatin won't etch or etch less proportionally).
    i think this is very similar to what you have in mind.

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