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  1. #1
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    UltraStable - Permanent, Non Fading Color Photographs . . Color-Carbon Par Excellence

    I've had the good fortune of acquiring some UltraStable pigment tissues recently, and moreover, the opportunity to communicate with the inventor/creator of the system, Charles Berger. http://charlesberger.com/

    In a nutshell, this was the last commercially made color carbon process, ceasing production in 1999. It was a CMYK color scheme and the tissues came pre-sensitized.

    I recall reading somewhere that the pigments were adopted or inspired by the automotive paint industry. I hope that this can be elaborated upon. They are by all accounts incredibly permanent.

    As you can see from the swatches, the pigment sheets are very pure and deep in color, but they reveal more typical "process colors" as they thin.

    To test the tissues, I cut two slivers and exposed one to UV light and the other went straight to my faucet for a solubility test. Sure enough, hot tap water dissolved the pigment away and confirmed that the sheets have not fogged/hardened. The exposed sliver did what you would expect, and did not dissolve.

    As for emulsion batches; the cyan sheets are from 410, magenta from M523 and yellow from Y334. Unfortunately I'm missing the key sheets.

    I'm excited to learn more about this process, and will be posting links and articles as I find them. Charles has offered to post the original price list and working instructions for the process on his website, in addition to providing a reading list. He has so far recommended Le Vocabulaire Technique de la Photographie (Marval, Paris, 2008), a French book with a comprehensive write-up.

    A couple of points that I'm most curious about are as follows: Was there a UltraStable brand receiving paper, and if not, what was the recommended receiver, and/or the means for its preparation? What is the sensitizer? (I don't know if this can be disclosed, but there is no stain that I can observe, and the keeping qualities greatly exceed a typical dichromate sensitizer) Also, sensitometric data and recommendations for masking would be interesting to know.

    I look forward to learning more about this amazing printing technique!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P1000360.JPG   P1000354.JPG   P1000355.JPG  
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  2. #2
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Absolutely amazing digging young man, I used this process with his tissue in the 90's , this is definately worth you following.

    Bob
    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    I've had the good fortune of acquiring some UltraStable pigment tissues recently, and moreover, the opportunity to communicate with the inventor/creator of the system, Charles Berger. http://charlesberger.com/

    In a nutshell, this was the last commercially made color carbon process, ceasing production in 1999. It was a CMYK color scheme and the tissues came pre-sensitized.

    I recall reading somewhere that the pigments were adopted or inspired by the automotive paint industry. I hope that this can be elaborated upon. They are by all accounts incredibly permanent.

    As you can see from the swatches, the pigment sheets are very pure and deep in color, but they reveal more typical "process colors" as they thin.

    To test the tissues, I cut two slivers and exposed one to UV light and the other went straight to my faucet for a solubility test. Sure enough, hot tap water dissolved the pigment away and confirmed that the sheets have not fogged/hardened. The exposed sliver did what you would expect, and did not dissolve.

    As for emulsion batches; the cyan sheets are from 410, magenta from M523 and yellow from Y334. Unfortunately I'm missing the key sheets.

    I'm excited to learn more about this process, and will be posting links and articles as I find them. Charles has offered to post the original price list and working instructions for the process on his website, in addition to providing a reading list. He has so far recommended Le Vocabulaire Technique de la Photographie (Marval, Paris, 2008), a French book with a comprehensive write-up.

    A couple of points that I'm most curious about are as follows: Was there a UltraStable brand receiving paper, and if not, what was the recommended receiver, and/or the means for its preparation? What is the sensitizer? (I don't know if this can be disclosed, but there is no stain that I can observe, and the keeping qualities greatly exceed a typical dichromate sensitizer) Also, sensitometric data and recommendations for masking would be interesting to know.

    I look forward to learning more about this amazing printing technique!

  3. #3
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    the receiving material was melimex

  4. #4
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Great to hear from you Bob,

    What can you say about working with the process? I could ask a hundred questions, but perhaps it'd be best if you could just wax poetic about your experience with it.

    Clear melinex or was there an opaque backing?
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  5. #5
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    roses are red , violets are blue, I love the process so should you.

    opaque
    some workers image in reverse and then transfer to art paper after all the layers are down.

    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    Great to hear from you Bob,

    What can you say about working with the process? I could ask a hundred questions, but perhaps it'd be best if you could just wax poetic about your experience with it.

    Clear melinex or was there an opaque backing?

  6. #6
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    I have a large roll of the receiver sheet here. It is still made last I looked on the internet. The roll I have is opaque base virtually identical to the Ciba/Ilfochrome support.

    The colors like this are often created from either natural pigments or from metallized dyes which are complexes of dyes and metal salts. Either way, some of these can be quite toxic as for example the yellow once used Cadmium Yellow as the coloring pigment. The raw "glop" can still be purchased. The last I handled these was at the Formulary where they had a stock of them for making colored carbon transfers in workshops. They are still sold, according to what I have been told, but by whom I do not know.

    PE

  7. #7
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Bob, that was lovely, though not exactly what I had in mind.... Were you using analog or digital separations at that point in the 90's? How long would it take to make a print in this manner? What separation would supply the key? How were the results? How much did you charge? Where do babies come from?

    PE, I'd be curious to know where to get such pigments today, but I'm pretty certain PF doesn't have them anymore. Though I wouldn't know because I emailed them along time ago asking this and they never responded. Luis Nadeau lists some DuPont pigments in his book, I don't know if those are still available.

    I suppose the melinex support is ideal because a) polyester is completely archival and b) the smooth surface would make for excellent adhesion of the wet carbon glop?
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Ron
    the tissue I purchased from Mr Berger was pre sensitized, we used the tissue straight out of the box to exposure,
    I am interested in what you think about this.
    In fact I talked to Sandy King and I am interested in both your thoughts on how to produce the tissue so that you do not have to sensitize at time of exposure.
    I was hoping to get you both together on this topic in the near future as Ultra Stable is very high on my bucket list.

    Chris.. I will leave this thread for awhile as I am in one of the most busiest periods right now at work and cannot give this thread much attention, but I did send Mr Berger an email requesting some info,,, who knows maybe he will reply.
    I will be back in the loop in a week or two , keep digging as much as you can as this is an amazing process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    I have a large roll of the receiver sheet here. It is still made last I looked on the internet. The roll I have is opaque base virtually identical to the Ciba/Ilfochrome support.

    The colors like this are often created from either natural pigments or from metallized dyes which are complexes of dyes and metal salts. Either way, some of these can be quite toxic as for example the yellow once used Cadmium Yellow as the coloring pigment. The raw "glop" can still be purchased. The last I handled these was at the Formulary where they had a stock of them for making colored carbon transfers in workshops. They are still sold, according to what I have been told, but by whom I do not know.

    PE

  9. #9
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Will do Bob, and I suspect we'll see Mssr. Berger in due time.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  10. #10
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    Bob;

    When I saw the pigments at the Formulary, Sandy King was standing next to me along with Bud. They described that these were pigments used in making up the carbon Glop and as such were stable mixtures. They were about the consistency of paint and came in 6 colors plus black. Bud had partially full 1 L bottles (not for sale) that had apparently been used in one of Sandy's workshops which had just finished that week.

    A book on color photography, by Leadly and Stegmeyer, describes this and several other color processes akin to Dye Transfer.

    A google search for Ultra Stable will show you a company in California that makes the reflective support. I have a roll about 4 ft x 25 ft. Mark Osterman and I have been using it as a support for our various print experiments. I took a short roll of it over to his home about 2 weeks or so ago for him to make some prints on.

    PE

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