5 years…..5 YEARS it has been since I last made a Van Dyke…oef…Glad I kept a blog so that I could look at the notes again 🙂
Recently I joined a photo group called “F68” to broaden my horizon and to get back into my own photography more. It’s a foundation that was established in Limburg, the Netherlands, in 1968 and it’s an autonomous photographers collective. I’m very happy to be a part of this group.
For a potential upcoming exhibition we are working on a theme regarding (mass) consumption. I will elaborate more on this later on but I came up with a concept using images made digitally, printing large format negatives and contact-printing them using Van Dyke.
I once got myself the Epson R2880 to print these negatives but has been left on a shelf for so long now I think it’s more dead than alive. However, at work I have a wonderful Epson Stylus Pro 7890 & 9800 at my disposal and a salesman who mentioned they could get me Omnijet Clear Film on roll (!). I received a 43cm wide roll for testing and so far it’s great!
I turned a file from my Fuji camera into a black and white, inverted it into a negative, adjusted the print settings and printed it on this Omnijet transparent film using the 7890. Yesterday I fixed the chemistry, bought some new paper, Hahnemuhle Bamboo Mixed Media (for the concept I was looking for a durable renewable paper), and had a go at Van Dyke again…oh boy was that fun 🙂
The printer settings I’m about to post I took of this website. For more info look there.
Paper used: Hahnemuhle Fineart Bamboo Mixed Media
Single coated paper 36 x 48 cm
Exposure time: 25 minutes
Wash: 2 minutes
Fix: 5 minutes dilution 3% Sodium Thio-sulphate
Final rinse: 20 minutes
Unfortunately I forgot that the drying darkens the image quite a bit so the end result is too darkish, and I have to do more practice with coating the paper (you see strokes) but wauw, where have I been all these years ?! Anyway, good to be back and more to follow soon 🙂
Seeing that I’m starting to work more with contact printing processes the need for a decent contact printing frame surfaced. At our latest Picto meet I saw one made by Rene Smets. He builds his own cameras, pinhole, wet plate, you name it, dark boxes for collodion / daguerreotype etc. and does a really wonderful job. He was more than willing to make me a contact printing frame in my desired size: 42 x 52 cm. Today I picked it up.
The design is really well thought-out. It’s, in short, a wooden frame holding a glass plate. On top of that you would place your negative. On top of that goes a sort of pressing surface which presses your paper to negative evenly and firmly so sharpness is overall equal. This pressing surface has been divided in three sections, each section being pressed down by a their own pressing bar. You can unlock the outer two to lift up the outer “flaps” of the pressing surface to check on the print while exposing. Since pressure is never lifted of the middle part the print should stay in the exact same position. Smaller printing frames usually have two sections but the three on this one is really nice because of its size!
It’s a very smart design and I’m really happy with it! If I need a different one (bigger for example) I sure know where to go! I might lacquer it although it’s not really necessary as the printing material is dry once put in there. If you’d like to have something like that made or maybe a camera or something else you can contact René Smets for more information: email@example.com. You can also follow his blog, which is very new right now, but hopefully he’ll post some great things soon.