D'Augustine/Chiba Casein Recipe: Dichromate-free alternative for hand-coated full color printing

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Hi!

I've just published the above referenced recipe I've been working on for the last year that employs the principles of the Chiba method to create the selective hardening reaction instead of using dichromates. I'm still working on some supporting information which I will soon post on my blog, but I wanted to start getting it out there so people who are interested in starting to migrate away from dichromates can have access to this information. The recipe is available for free on my website. Here's the link:

https://www.heatherdaugustine.com/daugustinechibarecipes
 

Peter Schrager

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Thank you Heather..great to have you here. bookmarked your website!!
 

Fraunhofer

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Heather, welcome to photrio.

I had a look at your website: The process looks really interesting. I am currently learning gum bichromate and like to understand that a bit better before trying another process. I admire your tenacity to work out the details, this process seems to have quite a bit more variables on the development side.
 
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Hi Fraunhofer - I really appreciate your comments thank you. I completely understand about wanting to finish learning one process before moving on to another. I think that is wise.

You are absolutely right that the developing process using AFC is a little more involved compared to using dichromate. I think the main reason there hasn’t been more effort into exploring other sensitizer options is that dichromate works so amazingly well as a sensitizer. Dichromates are fast, strong and very easy to develop. If it weren’t for the fact that they also pose a health risk there would be no good reason to change. So yes, using AFC does take some extra attention in the developing process compared to using dichromate.

My aim in developing this recipe was to work out all the main issues so that the only steps left would be the last adjustments that have to be done in the individual darkroom, similar to the last adjustments that have to be done in the individual darkroom even with dichromate-based processes. Just like dichromate based processes, once you work out the variables for your darkroom, the printing process is pretty smooth from there on out. I can’t say you won’t be frustrating when calibrating initially for this process. Honestly I’ve experience frustration calibrating for dichromate based processes too! I think it’s just a part of what you have to go through. It’s a little more involved when using AFC but I don’t feel it’s so much more involved that it’s not worth it.

There are things that I much prefer about this recipe compared to the dichromate version of casein printing. I really like the workability of the emulsion and the fact that I can brush edit it. Casein emulsion made with dichromate can become very hard, very fast because it exposes so quickly. This AFC based emulsion is more like gum.

I also really, really like that I feel good about color printing again. I had put it down for 6 years because I wasn’t feeling deep down good about working with dichromates. Also, I have cats who bust into my dimroom unannounced and I found watching over the safety concerns stressful. It’s so nice to be back at it. I find the changes in the printing process a very reasonable tradeoff for the benefits I get from the change.

And now since many people no longer have access to dichromates I hope this recipe helps keep them printing too.

Heather
 
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Living in europe, where acquiring dichromates is no longer possible (as well as not being a big fan of personally working with the more-toxic processes) this is so very helpful!
I actually researched alternative color processes yesterday and just hours later I saw your post. It's very generous of you to share your work and experiences. I'm really looking forward to trying your variation of the process as soon as I've managed to acquire some caseinate.
This is a very basic question, but what size 5080 brush did you find adequately sized for an 8x10?

Once again, many thanks, this is such a nice surprise!
 
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Thank you YoungPretender (and Tom Kershaw too). I use the size 80 da Vinci brush which is a little over 3 inches (sorry I don't have my metric conversion handy). It obviously doesn't cover the short side of an 8x10 and this does give the possibility of some uneven brushing, but if you have exposed correctly, brush softly and stop just after you have everything cleared, it seems to work fine. It is also small enough to use the edges to work out detail in the shadows for example. I think using a larger brush would be fine also - it's just that they aren't cheap and I'm not sure that there is a huge benefit to going bigger. I think that would be a personal choice though.
 
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I forgot to mention that I checked with Photographer's Formulary about whether they ship internationally before I put the link to their site. They ship ammonium casienate worldwide.
 
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Thanks Heather! I found the size 80 locally, will give it a go. Shipping wasn't that bad at all from PF, about the same as ordering from one of the european store for ~half a pound of caseinate which should last a while going by your recipe! It'll be really interesting to follow your progress at your site.
 
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Thank you Bob!
YoungPretender - that's so cool! The people at Photographer's Formulary are so great and the place itself is amazing. It's out in the boonies in Montana. Attending workshops there is a dream if you ever have the chance. Let me know how things go. The feedback will help me know if I need to post additional specific supporting info. I've included an explanation for the Emulsion Sweet Spot on my blog (look in the right hand margin for quick links). I'll be working on getting some curving/negatives help up this week.
 
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jim10219

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Excellent work! You should be very proud of your accomplishments! I'll definitely have to give this a try some day. It's reassuring to know there are still good people in this world who are willing to share their knowledge gained through hard work and determination without expecting financial gain in return.
 
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Thank you Jim! It's really lovely of you to say that. I don't know what it says about my life, but from a professional perspective this is the thing I am most proud of accomplishing ever so far. I think that makes me an official alternative process addict.

You know, I find the subject of money in relation to artistic endeavors a really fascinating thing to contemplate. I feel that it's the right thing to do to share this recipe for free for health reasons and because I want to give something back to a field of the arts I love very much. So I have zero reservations about doing that. I'm also a human who is not independently wealthy and requires money to eat. My husband has been a super darling this past year in his understanding of my obsession, but I also feel it's time for me to try and contribute more to the household coffers. I am a part time Airbnb innkeeper, but I'd also like to be able afford to focus my other available work time in the area of alternative process so I can keep moving forward in this journey. I'd also like to use this work I've done. I figure the best way to balance these things is to offer the recipe for free on my site, eventually make a manual for purchase for those who prefer the convenience of that format and also to have a few affiliate links in the equipment recommendations that won't cost the clicker anything but will maybe help defray the cost of paper from the last year for example. And I'd like to do some workshop work based on the D/C Casein print recipes. So, full disclosure, I'm not completely an angel of generosity, simply because I really can't afford to be. If I could I definitely would.

It's interesting to me how our society has gradually evolved into associating mild shame with earning money through artistic endeavors and honor for giving artistic work away for free. It's happening in music, movies a lot of places. Back in the renaissance days money made through artistic work was considered legitimately earned work like all other work. Isn't that interesting? Anyway, I don't mean to slap back at your words of gratitude. I understand the spirit in which they were intended. I just want to be upfront about my circumstances so as not to mislead anyone!
 

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Heather, just to say a big thanks to you for making your hard work available to the alt community without expecting any payment for that.
Well done and good luck with your work and we always welcome seeing any new images in these processes. Thanks!
 

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Heather what I have found with my work and obsession is that I will always give information on any thing I do, it does not immediately mean others can understand, What I find is that people reach out to me to get one on one instruction and that indeed is a way to make income. My friend Sandy King does this all the time as well Bill Schwab to name only two.. The more you promote the process and the more people see the prints , you will find people willing to learn and pay for it.. One only needs to look at Christina Anderson to see how she has turned a love for printing into a dream occupation. Don't hold back make your book and it will succeed .
 
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Heather,
I'm not sure if you're still getting notifications from the forums but I did notice that your website was updated - and with such happy news. I would just like to say that I'm still very thankful that you've chosen to share your knowledge and that it's really encouraging to hear that you've made some progress. I wish that I would display that kind of tenacity!
Once again, many thanks for all of the work that you've shared!

Cheers!
 
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