Hand Coated Salt Printed vs Hand Coated Silver Gelatin Emulsion with gum coloured layers.

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Bob Carnie

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As some of you know I have gone deeply down the wormhole of tri colour gum printing and in a lot of cases combined this with palladium.
I recently saw a show of (1875 era) salt prints with applications of colour. IMHO they were some of the most incredible prints I have ever seen. What was incredible to me was the smoothness and clarity of the image , much like what I am use to with silver gelatin gloss prints.
I have a project that requires clarity and smoothness of tone ( these are images of north east and north west Ontario) where I would like the main image to be very clear and use the gum pigment coatings to create the Ambience of my memories of these regions.
I have tried Palladium on Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag and though somewhat nice , I feel nothing when the gum is coated on, I feel the image starts looking too heavy and this is not what I am trying to achieve.

So here is the question Hand Made Salt Prints .. or Hand Made Silver Emulsion..
pros and cons of both processes , what papers are good for both, basically I am looking for some education on this. I am aware of Denise Ross's collaboration call, and I am not there yet in my process and do not want to waste her time. Also I did go to Rochester and met with Ron Morey and Mark Osterman and I do know of the efforts at GEH.

Right now it's the time for me to consider what wormhole to go down, I think I have legitimately 100 images that I would like to make into Small editions.
The biggest factor for me is print permanence > visual look > practical process> repeatability> and finally last consideration is cost. I have a 10 year window on this and would like to start testing this winter.

Any help and discussion is appreciated.
 

ced

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Are there some images out there that point to what you have in mind?
Maybe colour carbon prints will give the effect of gloss & smoothness...
 
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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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Here are two for starters.... they are not from the show that I saw.. c051e8ab2535c4fe31c97036c0ebfada.jpg images.jpg the images are low jpegs and granular here... the images I witnessed were very smooth tones with beautiful colour adaptation
 
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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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Yes they are, I am more interested in the salt print vs silver gelation coats.
 
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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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My goal is as much smooth detail in the under laying black and white with gum added for colour ambience only.
 
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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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I have gone down the carbon colour wormhole and am frankly not interested in it as it does not meet my finicky needs, I agree they can be spectacular but not for me... Using a stochasic screen is not something I want to do right now or creating images that do not wash off in the highlight regions due to the hot water development , are factors that lead me to gum over ..... something.... I have not seen a smooth coated monochrome image other then silver and of course these historical images.
 

ced

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I suppose they were well stored out of light etc.

I wonder if starting with fixed out bromide paper then doing the layers of gum on that will (not sure) give the gloss you need.
 
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Bob Carnie

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There was a guy in Manitoba Canada that actually had success with palladium over smooth coated paper as you suggest... I am maybe over thinking this and need to consider a permanent process over smoother paper... I have stayed away from cyanotypes, silver , due to the effect of light on these coatings...
 

ced

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Resin coated paper might be stable for multicoatings.
Have a good W/E & I'll pop in to see how this thread moves along.
 

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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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Yes I am well aware of Denise and I am pretty sure I will go this route, but I am not sure if what Denise does is categorized as salt prints which I would like to understand better .

I am completely up on tri colour over palladium and cyanotype ,,, my main interest is how to get a smoother base layer.
 

Lachlan Young

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Wow thanks for this article.. I will look deeper.. the reason I moved to palladium for the undercoat was its permanence attributes.... the salt hand coloured prints that I viewed were 150 years old... and I must say they looked like they were just made,

In that case it's likely they had been toned and/ or properly fixed - here's an article from the V&A about the stability problems with salt prints.

I'd probably go with silver gelatin - it's more adaptable and less fiddly, even if the learning curve is steeper (simply because it's got a greater scientific hinterland). Though you could also go completely mad & get into dye transfer with handmade matrix film. You already have the kit for file output & registration...
 

nmp

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Yes I am well aware of Denise and I am pretty sure I will go this route, but I am not sure if what Denise does is categorized as salt prints which I would like to understand better .

I am completely up on tri colour over palladium and cyanotype ,,, my main interest is how to get a smoother base layer.

She uses DOP emulsion not salt print in this particular work. You can substitute the base layer with salt instead. If you would like gloss, you can either put a glossy overcoat of some sort before gum layer or go for albumen which could give a better smooth appearance you are looking for. I wonder if salt print silver without overcoat would not be in danger of being bleached by the bichromate (Edit: Won't be so much of a problem if gold-toned though.)

Sounds like an interesting project to take up.....
 
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Bob Carnie

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the silver route is wide open ... for example I could if I was completely nuts... soak Ilford warmtone or classic in water and safelight, then put in a drying cabinate to pre shrink , under the enlarger make a contact print with enlarged MAIN NEGATIVE and then dry this. I believe my next stage would be to put a coat of gum arabic / ammoniium dichromate and expose and process as normal with no pigment.. this then would be my master print to then add SECOND/THIRD/FORTH AND SO ON NEGATIVES to build the look. without the gum precoat I do not think it would work, but once the gum has bonded to the silver I think I am off tho the races. This would take out the issue of making my own emulsion...
 

dwross

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First of all, Bob, you could never waste my time :smile:.

The absolute smoothest base coating to apply color to is a silver gelatin emulsion coated on glossy baryta paper. ADOX makes an excellent product. (Freestyle carries it. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of stock right now. Hard to know what the future holds for any product. Freestyle says to call for availability.)

When you coat with your own emulsion, the emulsion is the layer you color on. Commercial glossy paper has a hard super-coat over the emulsion to protect it. Protection is all and good, but sometimes the coating resists dyes just long enough that they don't lay down absolutely evenly. "Bare" emulsion accepts dyes just like a watercolor paper would. Dyes are also the coloring method with the most detail control. In contrast, there's limited control with photo oils. And, dyes sink into the emulsion and the image, rather than riding on top of the paper like colored pencils do.

I only have one sample of ADOX with emulsion that I wanted to play with, and it's POP emulsion, but emulsion is emulsion as far as coloring characteristics go. I'm posting a contact print of a step tablet with a couple of swatches of dye, and a crop of the same. If you have a 4x5 step tablet, you can compare the size of detail possible. Also, for comparison to baryta, a (dyes) hand-colored print made with silver gelatin emulsion on Rives BFK. (I haven't posted images to Photrio for a while. Let's see if I can do it right).

note: gelatin POP isn't considered "salted paper." That's a separate process with several variations. Depending on the paper used, it can be a lovely substrate for colored pencils or pastels, and I believe there's an artist who puts watercolor paints over salted paper.
 

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dwross

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Hi again, Bob. I neglected to say that (albeit my opinion), gum over a BW handmade emulsion print is very beautiful, with all the detail you could wish for. However, it's definitely a different look from the old hand-colored albumen prints, collodion POP, or the various types of salted paper. So many choices! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
 
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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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Hi again, Bob. I neglected to say that (albeit my opinion), gum over a BW handmade emulsion print is very beautiful, with all the detail you could wish for. However, it's definitely a different look from the old hand-colored albumen prints, collodion POP, or the various types of salted paper. So many choices! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
Hi Denise
I will post or send you a sample when I am happy with a print.. regards Bob
 

Tom Taylor

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Hi Bob,

A number of the salt prints in the salt print gallery on my website look just like silver gelatins - especially at viewing distance. All were shot on 810 Delta, exposed with the sun, developed using the standard published formulas, and toned with gold. Bergger Cot 320 was the paper usually used and the emulsion was coated on with a brush. Most of them were printed during 2013 to 2015 and show zero image degradation to date. They are not "glossy" but you can make them so by waxing after they dry. Hope this helps.

Thomas
 
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Bob Carnie

Bob Carnie

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Hi Bob,

A number of the salt prints in the salt print gallery on my website look just like silver gelatins - especially at viewing distance. All were shot on 810 Delta, exposed with the sun, developed using the standard published formulas, and toned with gold. Bergger Cot 320 was the paper usually used and the emulsion was coated on with a brush. Most of them were printed during 2013 to 2015 and show zero image degradation to date. They are not "glossy" but you can make them so by waxing after they dry. Hope this helps.

Thomas
thanks Tom I will look at the work... I am hoping you do not see andy image degradation after 7 years..... If you were to compare the finish to common silver gelatins lets say Ilford classic or Ilford warmtone of the same images what would be your observations.. my goal is to put coatings of gum overtop so waxing is out.
 

dwross

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Hi Bob. Sorry for throwing in the info/plug for handcoloring with dyes. I veered off your OP when I saw what I assumed were Japanese albumen handcolored prints that you posted. I fell in love with handcoloring after I saw a display of those several decades ago. I learned how to make albumen prints just to color on them. Probably as beautiful as photography gets, but I was finally dissuaded by their questionable longevity (as if my artwork needed to survive into the next millennium! :whistling:)
 
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