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  1. #1
    jmooney's Avatar
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    Josef Sudek's Processes and Materials

    Hi All,

    I've recently discovered Sudek and I'm trying to learn more about him and how he worked. Does anyone know what materials and chemistry he used? I know he switched to contact printing in 1940, any insights into other processes he used?

    I'm smitten with his images so he could have printed on a dinner plate using mouse droppings and I'd still want to see it but I'm always interested in learning about these things for some historical perspective.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmooney View Post
    Hi All,

    I've recently discovered Sudek and I'm trying to learn more about him and how he worked. Does anyone know what materials and chemistry he used? I know he switched to contact printing in 1940, any insights into other processes he used?

    I'm smitten with his images so he could have printed on a dinner plate using mouse droppings and I'd still want to see it but I'm always interested in learning about these things for some historical perspective.

    Jim
    Jim,

    In addition to contact printing with silver Sudek also made a lot of prints with carbro, which is a method of making pigmented prints. Carbro is similar to carbon transfer in terms of the final print but a different method is used to make the print.

    Carbro was the process used to make high quality color prints from the 1930s to early 1950s. You can find a brief description of the process at http://www.flickr.com/groups/carbro/.

    Sudek used the carbro process to make monochrome prints, not color, though many of his prints were made with a carbon tissue that has a very warm brown color.

    Sandy King

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    There were a couple of videos following him around as he photographed Prague, but they seem to have been removed from MySpace. Don't remember if they contained any darkroom images. Maybe others would know of their availability.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

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    I've read that he would scrounge around for paper from other photographers and had a hoard of it he would print from. Sometimes the beauty is in old materials...

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    Glad that one more person has discovered his work! Good luck in your quest for info. I don't know much myself, as far as all the technical details are concerned, but I heard about him from a teacher soon after I started in photography, and have always liked what I have seen, so I am interested to read this thread.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PVia View Post
    I've read that he would scrounge around for paper from other photographers and had a hoard of it he would print from. Sometimes the beauty is in old materials...
    That does not surprise me. I have a book of his carbro prints and it looks to me that many of them were made from carbon tissue that was pretty old. As carbon tissue ages the gelatin slowly becomes slightly insoluble, which at first creates a slight veil in the highlights, and eventually a very dark fogging that ruins the image. Many of Sudek's carbro prints in the book I have show signs of highlight veiling and other process artifcacts that one would expect from tissue that was somewhat aged.


    Sandy King

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    That does not surprise me. I have a book of his carbro prints and it looks to me that many of them were made from carbon tissue that was pretty old. As carbon tissue ages the gelatin slowly becomes slightly insoluble, which at first creates a slight veil in the highlights, and eventually a very dark fogging that ruins the image. Many of Sudek's carbro prints in the book I have show signs of highlight veiling and other process artifcacts that one would expect from tissue that was somewhat aged.


    Sandy King
    Sandy,

    What's the title of the book you're talking about?

    Thanks,

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmooney View Post
    Sandy,

    What's the title of the book you're talking about?

    Thanks,

    Jim
    The title is Joseph Sudek: Pigment Prints, published by Salander O'Reilley Galeries in New York. It is a cataogue that accompanied an exhibition of Sudek's work held at the Galeries in 19 98. There is no ISBN number.

    The book contains essays a number of essays about Sudek's work, and plates of sixty pigment prints from the artist's estate.

    I heard about the exhibition and called the gallery to get a copy of the catologue, shamelessly identifying myself as a potential collector of Sudek's work. That probably would not have worked but knew more about the process than the person I was talking to so he gave some credence to my claim to be a collector.

    I have never see any of these prints reproduced elsewhere and would like toi scan and post some of them here but it probably would not be legal to do so.

    Sandy King

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    The title is Joseph Sudek: Pigment Prints, published by Salander O'Reilley Galleries in New York. It is a catalogue that accompanied an exhibition of Sudek's work held at the Galleries in 1998. There is no ISBN number.
    Sandy King

    I have this book and it's really quite lovely. He was a remarkable photographer.
    ___________________________________________

    Richard Wasserman

    http://www.richardwasserman.net

  10. #10
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    I also have the Joseph Sudek: Pigment Prints but the other book I have of his, Sudek Sonja Bullaty, published by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc, New York, 1978 is my favorite. It shows a wider range of his work including early work starting in the 1920's. Some of his earliest work was done in soft focus pictorialist style. Nearly all of the Pigment Prints work date from the 1950's with some negatives from the 40's.

    Dan
    Daniel Williams
    Enumclaw WA USA

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