Collection of Japanese Collotypes from the Meiji period

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Vaughn

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I am reading some Tanazaki short stories right now. Blind people also tended to go into music.
 
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mooseontheloose

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Thanks for the link. There are only 2 remaining collotype printers left in the world, both of the here in Japan. A small one in Osaka does only black and white, the other here (Benrido) in Kyoto does colour. They often do official reproductions of art inside temples, castles, and other historic places. I did a workshop with them back in April to make collotypes of my own images, and of course got a tour of the building and how do they make collotypes on the dedicated presses. It's an incredible amount of work - here are a few photos from that day (part 1). They have to make masks for every single colour:
 

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mooseontheloose

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Here are a few more. They do have some ultra large format cameras and in-house darkroom to take and develop photos, but they also use digital negs (as they did for the workshop I was in). After wetting and inking the emulsion it goes through the press, with two people working it - one person on one side to ink, the other person to pull the prints off the press. The last 2 photos show my own negative/matrix with a dry-roller (to remove excess moisture) - they've been using the same style dry roller for over 100 years. The other photo is a collection of images from the same neg using different papers and ink. Trying to match the original (a lith print) required using varying mixes of black and brown inks added separately, one on top of the other (brown over black if I remember correctly).
 

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Colin Corneau

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So great. You're just making me want to move to Japan even more!
 

Helios 1984

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It is interesting to note that in Japan the job of massage was traditionally given to blind people. See 'Amma' yawning shampoorer

Masseurs were part of the Todoza, a guild for blind men, and referred to a Zato. Blind folks also worked as acupuncturists, singers and biwa players. Their guild was under the protection of the Shogun himself, and its leader was respected and almost as influent as a Daimyo.


 
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Thanks for the link. There are only 2 remaining collotype printers left in the world, both of the here in Japan. A small one in Osaka does only black and white, the other here (Benrido) in Kyoto does colour. They often do official reproductions of art inside temples, castles, and other historic places. I did a workshop with them back in April to make collotypes of my own images, and of course got a tour of the building and how do they make collotypes on the dedicated presses. It's an incredible amount of work - here are a few photos from that day (part 1). They have to make masks for every single colour:

Thanks, did not know that. Liked your photos!

Was Japan the leader in collotypes in its heyday?
 
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Masseurs were part of the Todoza, a guild for blind men, and referred to a Zato. Blind folks also worked as acupuncturists, singers and biwa players. Their guild was under the protection of the Shogun himself, and its leader was respected and almost as influent as a Daimyo.




Thanks for the info!
 

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Here are a few more...
Wow, Rachelle...what a great workshop experience! Must have been a difficult to decide which image to use! Next Spring I will look for the entry info for Benrido competition and submit some of my redwood carbon images. Who knows?
 

mooseontheloose

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Wow, Rachelle...what a great workshop experience! Must have been a difficult to decide which image to use! Next Spring I will look for the entry info for Benrido competition and submit some of my redwood carbon images. Who knows?

Vaughn, you should definitely do it! I've been wanting to apply to the competition for a few years now, but I have not been able to get into my darkroom to create a cohesive portfolio. Hopefully I'll be able to do it sooner rather than later, although of course I wouldn't stand a chance against your beautiful redwoods. ;-) In any event, the winner's images are displayed during the annual Kyotographie photo event in April-May, which is a great time to visit Kyoto as well.

As for the workshops, they sometimes run 2-, 3-, and 5-day workshops which allow for printing of a bigger negative - up to 8x10 (we were limited to 4x6 for this workshop). I've missed the last few workshops that they've offered since they conflict with my work schedule, but hopefully I'll be able to do another one soon. I already have a couple of images in mind that I could use for them.
 

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Vaughn

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If (and that's a big if!) it happened, I might even have a son going to grad school in Tokoyo.

Don't know if I mentioned it, but while in Kyoto last December, I came across a photographic installation at one of the temples along the Philosophers path. A woman had cyanotypes covering round paper lanterns -- reflecting on her time on Mt Fuji, if I remember right. Photograpms of leaves, etc. Just a fun discovery and a nice cup of tea from the artist...whose card is who knows where!
 

mooseontheloose

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Thanks, did not know that. Liked your photos!
Was Japan the leader in collotypes in its heyday?

I don't know if it was a leader, but it certainly was popular all over the world. The process was first developed in the 1850s in France and came to Japan in the 1880s. Most old postcards were probably printed with this process, in addition to books and other reproductions. However, as other alternative (cheaper) means of reproduction became more popular, collotype printing presses closed around the world (as it is an expensive, labour-intensive process). As I mentioned before, only two are left, both here in Japan. Petapixel had an article about it here, which shows a couple of videos about the whole process (the first video is much more interesting than the second). Also, if you go to the Benrido website here, and click on the History tab, there's another really interesting video about the process there too (scroll down a little).
 
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Crazy, but WordPress shut this site down last night as I was uploading a 50 photo Japanese souvenir photo album of hand colored albumen prints.

Got this:

Your site has been suspended from WordPress.com for violating the Terms of Service. If you believe this was done in error, please contact us as soon as possible to have the suspension reviewed. (To learn more about what is and is not allowed, please see our User Guidelines page.)

For a limited time, you will still be able to log in to this Dashboard and export your content under Tools → Export. You can self-host your site using the WordPress.org software, though other hosting services may have similar restrictions. If you need help moving, please refer to our guide.

Hopefully they restore it soon. I've got 80+ websites there. Only had an issue one time with mentioning an auction of found negs on eBay. They did the same thing because of that. The Japanese site was as bland as they come for being offensive.
 
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I don't know if it was a leader, but it certainly was popular all over the world. The process was first developed in the 1850s in France and came to Japan in the 1880s. Most old postcards were probably printed with this process, in addition to books and other reproductions. However, as other alternative (cheaper) means of reproduction became more popular, collotype printing presses closed around the world (as it is an expensive, labour-intensive process). As I mentioned before, only two are left, both here in Japan. Petapixel had an article about it here, which shows a couple of videos about the whole process (the first video is much more interesting than the second). Also, if you go to the Benrido website here, and click on the History tab, there's another really interesting video about the process there too (scroll down a little).


Thanks for the info!
 

sasah zib

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renewing the collotype thread:
https://anything-from-japan.com/art-craft/art-printing/collotype-printing
"
There are two key elements to Collotype:
  • The gelatin layers used, which result in a subtle tone that only handmade photographs produce.
  • And the thick, oil-based ink, which creates a very deep intensity and captures prints, both colored and black-and-white, elegantly and realistically. "

Benrido overview


two key texts on collotype (both from Kent Kirby)
  • Notes on the Collotype Printing Process, 1980
  • Studio Collotype: Continuous Tone Printing for the Artist, Printmaker, and Photographer, 1988
aside note: matrix film (suited to dye imbibition/transfer) can be used as the mat for inking.

AND another version of the story:
http://www.fotografritz.de/inksteel/
"
A Story of Ink & Steel (2015)
Imagine being the last one in this world to continue, what others have started before you.
Osamu Yamamoto is working for the printing company Benrido in Kyoto, Japan. He is in charge of the collotype – a 150 year old printing process from Europe. He and his studio are working for the office of the Japanese Emperor, making copies of ancient scrolls, paintings and letters. They are saving Japanese artworks and cultural heritage for the generations to come.
Until my first visit, Benrido hadn’t actually realized, they were the last studio. I only knew it myself, because I did a story about the last collotype in Europe back in 2012 before they closed down."""
 
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