Finally the day arrived the darkroom would be all for me and I needed to make some lith prints for an exhibition. Last Tuesday I went in, first making some contact sheets of films I shot in Italy this year. Those looked promising! With a good mood I started the lith printing session only to end it rather disillusioned that very same evening. I had trouble finding the exposure time of the paper, I kept over-developing the paper time on time again which results in blocked blacks. For some reason I just couldn’t find the swing, even with negatives I printed before and had notes to refer back to. I ended the day with one print that would be a keeper. Not too shabby but far less than I normally end up with.
On top of that I ran out of chemistry and felt I was running out of paper as well. I had plenty of 18×24 but was making the bigger prints on 30×40 sheets. Luckily I still had quite a bit of 40×50 paper laying around so could’ve always cut that up. Next day at work I placed a speed-order for the paper, chemistry had already been ordered, and it took them two days to deliver the latter. The paper however still hasn’t arrived.
Last Friday I was able to take an extra day off at work to continue where I left off on Tuesday. Great! This day was definitely a whole lot more successful! I ‘finished’ the four other prints I needed for the exhibition (They still require quite a bit of work. Want to experiment a little with bleaching back certain parts and they require toning, selenium & gold, want to try a split tone) and was even able to try some photos I took in Italy this year which I shot with my new Elmarit 28mm f/2,8 on the Leica M6. This was a wonderful combination to work with, light, compact and an absolute solid friend for traveling purposes. No more dragging around the Hass with its lenses (although on the go I usually referred to the 50mm FLE only). These prints are the ones I wanna share today. They are test prints so want to work on them more but they certainly have great potential in my opinion!
Rollei 131 Vintage FB Paper
Rollei Vintage Lith Developer 1+1+24
Average development time: 8 minutes
(average as in I’m too lazy to go look up my notes for the exact times ;-))
These are still a work in progress and will make a broader selection of images as I really like them. With the overview landscapes with mountains in the back the lith process really emphasises the clear contrasty foreground opposed to the delicate tones of the mountains in the far background. I really like this. I’m not sure if this will be for this year as it will get really busy at work now but 2013 will be MINE!
-x 🙂 x-
A friend of mine, Angelina Valleau, presented me with this article she found in the magazine “Tijdschrift van de Rijskdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed 3 2012”. It’s about the preservation and cleansing of different photographic materials. The writers are Bill Wei (senior investigator inheritance at the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) and Clara von Waldthausen (photo restaurator and founder of the Fotorestauratie Atelier in Amsterdam).
The article remains pretty shallow and, according to what I’ve read about the past of photography, it even contains some errors. For instance, they mention that Daguerreotypes were the first type of affordable photography to become available to the middle class. As to my knowledge this is not the case. Daguerreotypes were very expensive to make, considering it was very time consuming let alone the silver that was needed to make the plates. Plus no form of reproduction was possible.
They mention that the upcoming of photos on paper were the foremost cause of death of daguerreotypes. In my opinion this was due to wet plate collodion photography that followed in the footsteps of the daguerreotypes, being cheaper to make and reproducible (clear glass = negatives). This is when photography became available to the larger audience.
On top of that they mention that glass negatives have been made between 1870 and 1930. Again not the case in my opinion. They were able to make glass negatives starting from 1851 when the wet plate collodion process was introduced. That was also the time where “carte de visite” became popular (were invented even of course) because of those glass negatives. Maybe they’re referring to dry gelatin plates which were invented around 1871 but it would be nice to see that more accurately stated. If you want the article to come across as one with a scientific approach as that’s what restoration I thought is about I’m a little disappointed, but maybe someone feels it differently?
P.s. Sorry the article is in Dutch only 😉
Have a nice read anyway!
Exactly one week ago I we had the opening at Galerie Weert. It was really fun, lots of people (I didn’t know) and interest. Bart made a couple of photos to give you a small impression. It was also great to meet the other artist, Helma Veugen!
Special thanks to Ankie Vanderfeesten to make this into a wonderful day and Geert-Jan Heyda and Paula for coming, as it’s been awhile since we’ve last seen each other. It was great to meet again!
We had a wonderful day!
In case you’re interested in going the exhibition will be visitable until the 25th of November 2012. There will be two special events on the following Sundays:
11th of November 13hr-17hr:
Helma Veugen will tell a bit more about her work and way of working. You will also be able to ask questions.
18th of November 14hr-17hr:
I will give a demonstration of the wet plate collodion process and tell something about the history of photography to place this particular process in a context. You will also be able to ask questions and the like.
Entry is free.
6001 AS Weert
Saturday: 10 hr – 17 hr
Sunday: 13 hr– 17 hr
As mentioned in the former post I made my first Van Dyke print today! As I described the formulas used in the former post as well I’ll keep this one short of info, only the necessary stuff.
Paper used: Artistico GG
Single coated paper 13×18 cm
Original: Wet plate collodion negative 4×5″
Exposure time: 36 seconds
Weather: Very cloudy
Fixer: Sodium Thiosulfate 4%
This is how the sheet looks when just exposed to the light with the negative on top:
This is how the sheet looks when it’s been exposed for 28 minutes:
In case you’re wondering about the different backgrounds behind the box that was holding the image…at first I had the box placed on a mat in my darkroom in the door opening. When it stopped raining I placed it on the bricks outside to give it a bit more exposure to light.
And this is the end result after 36 minutes of exposure time, developed, fixed, rinsed and dried:
This paper is way too textured for a proper result using this kind and size of negative. I lost a lot of sharpness and a lot of detail. This paper will be cool for the big digital negatives with landscapes I guess but not for this. Next time I will try the fine-grained one to see how it compares.
I still have a lot to learn but am really excited to have gotten a pretty decent image for my first try and will continue to experiment with this for sure! Double coating will be part of the next test, as well as the hypo clear in step and the toning part. It would be nice to keep this images for a long time! I’ll keep an eye on this print to see how long it’ll last without these two steps.
Today I made my first Van Dyke print! Before posting this image I’ll write down the formulas and methods I used to pull this off.
I used the method described in the book of Richard Farber “Historic Photographic Processes”. The sentences between “…” are exact quotes from that book.
The sensitizer consists of the following:
35 ml Water
10 gr Ferric Ammonium Citrate
Stir well until dissolved.
35 ml Water
1,5 gr Tartaric Acid
Stir well until dissolved
35 ml Water
4 gr Silver Nitrate
Stir well until dissolved
Add solution 2 to solution 1. Stir well. Add solution 3 and stir well.”
This is the solution used to coat the paper with. Keep it in a cool and dark place as it’s sensitive to light. This amount is said to make around 100 4×5″ prints. When kept in a fridge it should keep for about a year.
The paper is being coated under a safelight which you apply on the paper using a brush or a rod. I used one of these:
Make sure you mark your brush well and use it ONLY for this purpose to prevent contamination!
Today I only coated the paper once but it is said that a double coat gives for more rich blacks. Will try that next time. After I coated the paper I left it to dry in my dark darkroom to the air. As I don’t have a contact frame (yet) I used an empty Ilford b+w paper box where I placed the dry coated paper in, placed the negative on top, closed it and brought it out to the light. There I opened the box and the exposure started. The weather was not all on my side as the exposure time went all the way 36 minutes while the literature mentioned times from 5-8 minutes, of course depending on amount of light and density of the negative used.
After the exposure time I put the lid back on the box, took it inside the darkroom and placed the sheet in a tray of gentle running tap water under a safelight. They mention it should be in this tray for about 1-2 minutes or until you see the milkiness go away. I couldn’t see the latter so I just kept it in there for 2 minutes. I then placed the sheet in a tray with a Sodium Thiosulfate fixer of a 4% strength. The recommended time is 5-8 minutes of fixing, I left it in for about 7 minutes before putting it to the final rinsing bath.
Because the fixer gets exhausted pretty fast it’s recommended using a two-bath fixing system.
“Fix the print for 3-4 minutes with regular agitation in each fixing bath. After 5 to 8 prints have been fixed, exchange the second bath for the first, discard the first and add a new second bath. Since most of the work is done by the first bath, the second remains fairly fresh to remove any remaining silver compounds.”
I only used a single fixing bath as I didn’t have that many coated papers to try and seeing that the weather wasn’t going to be my friend that day, I’m glad I saved some of that fixer 😉
The two steps I have left out this first time is the hypo clearing bath and the toning bath. After the fixing bath rinse the print a little and put it in a hypo clearing bath. You can use the Kodak Hypo Clearing bath or make a solution of 1% Sodium Sulfite (cheaper and just as effective). Keep the print in there for 3 minutes with continuous agitation. Then you have to wash the print for half an hour. Leave the print to dry, air-dried or blow dried with gentle heat.
And then there’s the toning part. Unlike other POP-processes the Van Dyke is best toned after fixing to keep it from staining. The toners I want to use in the future are gold toning and selenium, the ones I already use for other processes. Toning leads to a deeper color and improves permanence of the image.
Anyway, I’m having fun and this WILL be continued! 🙂
Today was the last day and I’m home now. Tired, overheated but satisfied! This year’s Kunsttour for me took place in a building I was not familiar with, namely the Royal Mosa. This building is, even today, used for making tiles the Mosa is well known for. If Wikipedia is correct about this the company was founded in 1883 by Hubert Gerard Louis Regout. It had a few rather turbulent years but is in the end still in the hands of the Dutch, making it the only company in Belgium and the Netherlands that produces ceramics on an industrial scale.
Needless to say this building breaths a lot of history which will show on the photos that will follow. This year I will not have the extensive write-up like I made the last couple of years, I’m not even sure why. Perhaps I was and am too busy. This piece will mainly contain overviews to show you what it was like, sort of. The art displayed was as usually very diverse of nature, pretty things, awesome things and not so pretty things. The weather was awesome heating up the building like mad. Luckily there was a fantastic bar with drinks, good beer from Gulpener (!) and pleasant sandwiches from d’n Auw Stoof.
Only the installation of the disklavier from Intro in Sito was really annoying (sorry to say). The goal was for people to touch a key and the piano would begin making these neurotic sounds on its own (not on its own of course, encouraged by a computer), people had to follow the keys and try to press the one the disklavier was playing. Doing that would take you up a level. People were really intrigued by this and that was fun to see but awful to hear for 3 entire days. Anyway…
Of course, lot’s a more stuff happened but I was pretty busy at my stand, talking to a lot of people. I had a great couple of days, I even had a gallery owner come up to me and showed great interest in my work. I hope something will blossom from that! I also sold one of my lith prints! Quite a bit of people coming back for a second look on my work, be it the same day or the next, which is really a huge compliment.
Last but not least a video made with the Canon S100 of Sound of Tiles which was really cool. This was a performance played on tiles showcased by the Mosa and executed by Marco Mlynek, Marc Alberto and Gerry Reynders.
Btw, the “nee” expressed in the beginning of the movie was because I saw my battery going dead. Long live my cameras without these frikkin’ batteries!
I was invited to join a group exhibition regarding the 40-year existence of the Department of Photography at SASK Hasselt, where I studied photography. Yesterday was the opening. Unfortunately due to this exhibition’s opening falling together with me preparing the exhibition in Stein (which will open tonight) I didn’t manage to get there in time for the opening speech. I also found very little time advertising this exhibition while it’s really worthwhile to pay it a visit.
This exhibition contains work of René Borzée, who is the founder of the photography department at SASK, gum prints, salt prints and Van Dykes from Karel van Gerven, under-water pinholes and liquid emulsions on a base of gold leaf by Patrick Poels, the series “I Was A Dog” by Anton Kusters and my work, lith prints and wet plate collodion images.
We were chosen to be part of this as we continued our search for images after school ended, each in a unique way. I feel really honored to be part of this and please go and see this wonderful exhibition.
academiegalerie | opening hours
mon-fri 10u-21u | sat 10u-16u | sun closed | stedelijke academie voor de schone kunsten | kunstlaan 12 Hasselt | t 011 23 98 40
This Saturday, 05 May 19:30, the exhibition ART EXTRAORDINAIRE will be opening at the Hoaf van Heden, Havenstraat 22, Stein.
This particular exhibition is an interesting coalition of multiple artists from different disciplines:
Helmut Jöcken – Paintings | Sculptures
Daniella Claessens – Paintings
Eefje Schenk – 3D | Graphic Design
Ed Schaap – Paintings | Airbrush
Vincent Pepels – Leather Art
Marcel Cohnen – Airbrush
Indra Moonen – Photography
The music during the opening will be brought to you LIVE by Syndicate, run by Bruno Bours and Lucas Kramer.
Everyone is welcome during the opening, and of course the rest of the days, so get your butt over to Stein and have some fun!
Easter gave me the opportunity of making some collodion images and to print them in the darkroom. I started the day with cutting the plates. I have a lot of clear glass left over from some frames of which I didn’t use the glass (back then) and was so smart as to save it. I cut some 10×10″ plates and started on a series I’ve been having on my mind for quite some time now. It’s about nightmares, paranoia, etc. I still have to come up with a title. These are the first shots in this series. Luckily I still have to practice on my negatives (subbing them with albumen for example, had lifting of the collodion, or perhaps, cleaning them even better) so they came out anything but perfect. The exact raw feeling that I was after when thinking out the images in my head.
I shot the plates on the first day of Easter and varnished them that same very day. I was ready for the second day of Easter. Darkroom. Lith printing. I wanted that grainy and raw feel lith can give you so it wasn’t too hard figuring out which way to go with these. The images are contact printed (I love the 10×10″ size) on Rollei Vintage Paper 131 developed in Rollei Superlith developer 24+24+600.
I still have a lot to learn regarding the making of decent collodion negatives but for lith printing they work out just fine so far. If anything I’m having fun!
Film Photography Project contacted me to because they were interested in sharing the project Disposable Crisis on their website. They also talk about a second awesome photography project which I thought would be cool sharing here as well.
“Enter the Photo Palace Bus!
Anton Orlov and Ryan Kalem, both graduates from San Jose State University B.F.A. in Photography would like to spread the love of silver based photography by organizing workshops and exhibitions across the US as well as to document America and Americans using film.
What is remarkable is that they plan to tour via a converted vintage school bus. Upon completion the converted bus will hold a darkroom, a small exhibit area, a lounge and a foldable northern light portrait studio.
Conversion has already begun but in order to complete it, additional funds are required. Their goal is to raise $16,000 by the end of January 2012.
If you would like to see film based photography to kick up some dust in a town near you, assuming you are a continental US citizen, during the summer of 2012 then help them out. Spread the word. Blog about it. Or preferably, donate.”