Fixing a solargraph
I've seen some pretty cool solargraphy images, and I know that people usually just take the paper from the camera and immediately scan it. How much are people manipulating the scan afterwards? Has anyone tried fixing their undeveloped paper negative, and then make a print from it using optical means, or does everyone just scan it, invert it, and play with the levels to get a pleasing image?
I've never done this before, and would like to try it in the near future. The suspense is killing me though. :)
a solargraph is a pinhole version of what Nicéphore Niépce, one of the early inventors of photogrpahy,
called a retina print. he used a camera and lens rather than a pinhole.
solargraphs, unlike lumen prints, are more of a silver stain, not a chemical reaction.
with lumen prints the emulsion sweats, the plants sweat as they are left in the sun compressed onto the paper,
so there is a reaction. lumen prints can be fixed and toned. people use gold or selenium or other things to tone them
and a weak hypo bath to fix the images. from what i understand they print them darker than what they want
because the fixer bleaches the image and makes it faint ....
with the retina prints / solar graphs fixer removes the image entirely. it turns the paper completely white.
i plan on using a super saturated salt solution with my own retina experiments. talbot used a supter saturated
salt solution to fix/stabalize his images before hypo was suggested, and people here on apug, and elsewhere have used
salt solutions to fix film, so it is worth a try :)
the thing about using a scanner, is that it fogs the image so you only get 1 or 2 tries, it is pretty tricky.
what i usually do is scan the image barely tweak it in PS.
i can't speak for anyone else .. who knows maybe they boost it a bit, but probably not ...
I thought these might actually be able to be fixed. Had no idea that fixer would remove the image. I guess its sort of a hybrid process then unless someone can figure out a way to fix the image. They're really interesting images though.
It could be fun to see what you can make it look like, but it seems out of the spirit of pinholing to do serious editing in PS.
I don't use PS. I have GIMP. But that's out of the scope of this site. I was looking for an analog way to do this.
wouldn't it be easier to set up a flash / copy stand rig in a darkened room
I thought about that, but a contact print would reverse the negative into a positive. I wouldn't get that with a copy stand loaded with negative film and then printed. And I don't have any of the Rollei Digibase negative film lying around either. :(
i have a job on my plate that is almost out the door :)
when it is gone .. i will make a retina print and soak it in
a salt water fixer for a while and see what happens ..
it is a very weak fixing solution so it might just work well enough
to save the image enough to contact print it :)
i will report back when i find the time to do it :)
( it won't be more than a few days ... )