Northeast Ohio APUG Lith Printing Workshop Syllabus
When: July 27-29, 2012
Where: John's Power's Estate
Definition of "Lith Printing"
The term is somewhat of a slang but it stands for a style of B&W print processing using high contrast (Graphic Arts, or Lithography) developer and certain conventional projection printing papers in a manner in which they were not intended to be used. I suspect the term originally came from "Kodalith Print" (see below on history of Lith Printing).
How does it work?
Just about everyone who has experience in a conventional wet B&W darkroom knows that when you snatch a print from the developer tray before it has completed development, the print comes out flat with low contrast.
Now imagine the same setting using a very high contrast developer. When you snatch the print from the developer tray before it has completed development you have the combination of too much contrast and too little contrast. If you pull the print at the exact correct time, you get a print with normal overall contrast and a unique rendering of the highlight and shadow values.
Added Bonus Some papers (many of which are discontinued) had a unique property that when they get wet but and are not developed or are incompletely developed, they turn a salmon color. Some papers turn more brown and some more orange.
Therefore, if you choose the correct paper, during the above-mentioned "Lith Printing" technique, your underdeveloped prints (with 'normal' contrast) will take on some special coloration.
Step By Step
Tray 1:Lithography developer. This usually comes in two liquid parts "A" and "B." I use conventional graphic arts developer and mix 50ml "A" plus 50ml "B" together and add water to make one liter.
Tray 2: acetic acid stop bath
Tray 3: fixer
Expose the print. Since we want to be able to remove the print from the developer early, to get the low contrast and under developed salmon color, we need to blast the paper with plenty of exposure. Otherwise the image will be too light. You need to experiment but I use about 2 to 3 stops more exposure than I would use to make a normal print processed in Dektol. I use white light, even with multigrade papers.
Put the print in the developer and wait, and wait and wait....
The image can seem to take for ever to form, but once it starts forming, it will continue into a full high-contrast image quickly. A few seconds make a big difference. You need to be prepared with a flashlight/safelight to spy on the image so you can snatch it out of the developer at just the right time.
Place the print in the stop bath to halt the process quickly. After the stop, the rest of the process is the same as a conventional print.
Control of the Process
MORE PRINTING EXPOSURE leads to the print getting dark faster in the developer and the need to snatch it quicker leading to LESS CONTRAST and MORE COLOR
LESS PRINTING EXPOSURE leads to the print taking a very long time to come up in the developer leading to MORE CONTRAST and LOSS OF COLOR (A standard high contrast black and white print)
There is no way to predict which brands of papers will show this special coloration. When shopping for paper the best way to know what will work is to follow or bump a thread like this one (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/9...paper-b-h.html )
History of Lith Printing
The high contrast work of Bill Brandt can be traced way back to the 1930s in images like this:
I suspect that the high contrast work of Brandt and others spawned an interest in using Graphics Arts or Lithography materials in the 1960s and 1970s. One such product was Kodalith.
"Kodalith" came in both a high-contrast film and high-contrast paper. Some photographers began using the high contrast Kodalith paper in a manner different from what it was intended. It was discovered that when under-developed, the overall contrast would appear more normal and the paper would take on a salmon discoloration. This technique was used by photographers such as Les Krims (example below), John Wood and Michael Beacotte (example below) (and I am sure others) in the late 1960s and early 1970.Kodalith
A type of photographic printing paper coated with an orthochromatic emulsion which gives a high contrast print with very dense blacks when processed in Kodalith developer. It is a material normally used for graphic art work which, however, can be used to give a range of unusual effects if development is controlled. A brown or yellow appearance can result if a print is given less development time and over-exposed.
Les Krims 1969 "Kodalith Print"
John Wood 1969 "Kodalith Print Collage"
Paul Baron 1972
Michael Becotte 1975 "Kodalith Print"
It seems the technique had declined in popularity due to the loss of Kodalith paper in the mid 1970.
According to some posts here on APUG, in 1984 Seagul Oriental paper was found to produce similar images similar to Kodalith when developed in dilute lithography developer and this started the modern "Lith Printing" period:
The story is not complete without mentioning Tim Rudman, who has promoted the techniques in many books, articles and workshops.This is going back to 1984 - I had started importing Seagull paper into the UK (Silverprint Co.) & gave Mike Spry some samples. He started playing around with it in lith [developer] & discovered it was perfect for Anton [Corjbin]'s style. As far as I know Mike was the first to use Seagull in lith [developer], even Oriental the manufacturers hadn't seen it used this way. --Martin Reed