Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Prints
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > The Monkey Hole > Mr. Creepy's Art Hole
Pages: 1, 2
moschops
For the past 2 years I have been studying various 19th-century printing methods and have started printing some of my absinthe photographs.

This one is a palladiotype printed from a 4x5 negative on Arches Platine paper.

IPB Image
Provenance
I like that. You need to post more. Are you using any platinum?
Artemis
Conjuration in quicksilver.

Nice.
moschops
I do use platinum, but only mixed with palladium. Very few people use platinum by itself, and for some good reasons beyond cost(though Pd is certainly not cheap). Most modern prints labeled as 'platinum' are in fact Pt/Pd prints, or platinum-toned kallitypes(Ag replaced with Pt).

Vintage platinums are a different story. The metal was much cheaper, and the commercially made paper was machine coated. Pt prints were very common, peaking at around 1900-1905, and like the absinthe of the same period, no one today is exactly sure how the commercial paper was made. Paper made by the Platinotype Company is as different to today's hand-coated paper as Pernod Fils is to today's HG--but both can really shine(or not)! There are some interesting parallels between CO platinum and CO absinthe in their rise and fall. Platinum was banned from use in photography and jewelery in 1914, and given a new exclusive use in weapons-making. After WWI the price had gone up 5-fold, and that was pretty much all she wrote. Smaller film formats and the rise of cheaper silver enlargement paper took over.

Speaking of quicksilver, they used to print with mercury too, but I don't think I'll be trying that one.

Back to palladium…

IPB Image
Artemis
As children, we played with mercury any chance we got. Watch it roll around in the palm of your hand; take and rub a quarter with it to make it really shine. Brought knives to school, too.
G&C
We also walked down the street with long guns that were loaded and had pockets full of extra ammo…
moschops
Yup, I broke a couple thermometers--perhaps on purpose--in my day. There's a big difference in the safe handling of elemental mercury and the mercury salts used in printing. The salt's water-solubility makes it extremely easy for it to enter your body.

My school weapon of choice was a shortened bayonet.
Kirk
Beautiful work Chops!
Provenance
moschops,

Thank you. That's just the sort of information I was looking for, particularly with regard to the aesthetics and history. You do beautiful work.

Poe
Nice work, the second one is fantastic
Jaded Prole
Beautiful work.

moschops
Thanks, folks.

For those interested in the history of printed images MoMA published a nice book that gives an overview of dozens of different processes.

IPB Image
moschops
IPB Image
Kirk
What kind of absinthe did you use?
moschops
This is Vieux Carré, which is the only truly decent absinthe available to me in western MA(hint to distributors). Tasty, but not my first choice to photograph as the bottles I get tend to be heavy on sediment and need to be decanted.

MA has a real nanny state mentality when it comes to booze. They don't allow interstate shipping, and what is on the shelves here is the same triumvirate: Lucid-Kubler-Pernod. I'm lucky I can even get VC.
G&C
Massachusetts - First in Freedom…
moschops
Massachusetts: Fistin' Freedom.
moschops
The carbon process was invented in 1855 by Alphonse Poitevin and survived as a commercial process into the first half of the 20th century. It is a demanding and labor-intensive printing process, but also the most permanent, with a beauty unlike any other photographic print. Carbons are made by sensitizing a pigment-loaded gelatin tissue with dichromate. The tissue is dried and exposed through a negative, and then mated to a piece of paper in a water bath and squeegeed together. The carbon tissue/paper sandwich is then placed in hot water, the unexposed gelatin melts away, and the hardened, exposed gelatin transfers to the paper creating the image. The final print will show relief--the shadows are thicker than the highlights.

IPB Image
Artemis
QUOTE
The final print will show relief--the shadows are thicker than the highlights.


Now that's something. I did a lot of dark room work years ago, but I never envisioned, much less heard of, anything like that. Thanks for those details.
moschops
Yup, completely unique. They can be printed on a lot of different final supports other than paper--white glass, polished aluminum, anything you can get the image to stick to. When printed on glossy supports the highlights will shine and reflect light and the shadows will be completely matte.

moschops
This print of the Old Absinthe House was made by making a negative from a high resolution scan of the original glass plate kept at the Library of Congress. Below shows the print while in the hot bath, where the relief is most apparent.

According to exhibition statistics of the Royal Photographic Society, 1/4 to 1/3 of the prints displayed between 1893 and 1901 were carbons, so they were pretty popular. I've never seen(that I know of) a period carbon in the wild though.

IPB Image

IPB Image

Jaded Prole
Impressive!
Provenance
I'll take that over a color print anyday.
moschops
One can make a full-color carbon print. Only the seriously crazed will attempt it though. You can use watercolor pigments in the gelatin to make cyan, magenta, yellow and black tissues. Then you make CMYK separation negatives and print each color in perfect register. It's a shit-ton of work with multiple opportunities to irreversibly screw things up. I've never seen one, and perhaps never will, but by all accounts they can be absolutely breathtaking.
Tibro
I love this stuff. I think. Well, I definitely relish the irony of not just a discussion of original print techniques but particularly sharing examples via electronic media. It's such a tease.

Photography represents a great leap forward in image reproduction and "identical" multiples. Continuing technological advancements have enabled such easy access to "original" artworks in all media and genre that it's become quite easy to express some familiarity with great historical art although we've never been in the presence of the original. Our world is so much broader, and yet somehow impoverished at the same time. It fascinates me.

As these prints and the discussion of techniques fascinates me. I mean no insult. This is the world we live in, and I applaud anyone keeping the traditions alive and endeavoring to share them - no matter the irony. Thanks, moschops.

moschops
Thanks, Tibro. There's nothing insulting in what you say. Technological advancement does have a habit of removing us further from direct experience. And the irony: there is a forum dedicated to analog photography that takes a hard line--no discussion of digital, no display of images that were not made with a 100% analog workflow--yet, of course, every image on there is 100% digital tease. Still, the site is a goldmine of knowledge. When I started lurking here many years ago I felt the same tease when reading discussions of a drink that pretty much didn't exist. It's still kind of like that for me given the paltry offerings in my state. I'm teased every time I read a review of a new & promising bottling that I know I may never get to taste.

At the same time, everything I've learned about these archaic techniques is in response to the initial digital tease. The descriptions of some of these processes were so tantalizing I had to find out for myself, and amazingly all the information needed is freely available in digital form. You don't need to apprentice, attend workshops, or go to school to learn this stuff; but 25 years ago you probably did(if you could even find such instruction). Seeing digital copies also compelled me to seek out real examples in galleries. I now think of photographs in a completely different, and expanded way. So, in this case at least, the technology has helped propel me toward a broad & direct experience, without the impoverishment.

For the vast majority, these images are nothing special--just another jpeg among the millions piped into their computers on a daily basis, but a few might be teased enough to seek some form of direct experience. A jpeg of a carbon print doesn't replace experience of seeing a real carbon, but it will get you part way there. How much further you want to go is up to you.


Jay
QUOTE(moschops @ Apr 4 2012, 12:30 AM) *

One can make a full-color carbon print. [snip] I've never seen one, and perhaps never will, but by all accounts they can be absolutely breathtaking.

I had never heard of carbon prints before this, so thank you for sharing, Moschops.

While this may not count as "seeing" a color carbon print, here's a link to a site which offers a small gallery of them by a handful of artists. Even with the limitations of viewing them through a computer screen, they look fantastic: http://www.colorcarbonprint.com/
Artemis
And I thought Kodachrome 25 was intense - and there's a lot to be said for light coming through an image, and Kodachrome also involved an intensive process, but those prints are amazing, 3D-like. I especially like Frida with Magenta Rebozo - it's as though someone had handed Vermeer a camera. The man and woman with the chickens and the wasp on the flower are nice, too.
moschops
Thanks for posting that, Jay. Yes, that group are the only color carbon printers I'm familiar with. You can watch a video of one of them(the wasp on flower guy) working a print--an interesting hybrid of new and old technique, and an nice workspace.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DFJ523rU-k

I've noticed some galleries are beginning to label inkjets as "carbon prints" or "carbon pigment prints" so the term may be in the process of being repurposed.

Artemis - The last roll of kodachrome.
Artemis
Thanks again - it's good to see it's as I remembered it.

QUOTE
I shot the final frame in a cemetery in Parsons, Kansas


Enough said.
Artemis
QUOTE
Only the seriously crazed will attempt it though.


Thank God for the alternatively-wired.
Tibro
Seriously vivid stuff. The originals must be absolutely amazing.

I like the front window image. Seems an homage to older generation black-and-white photographer. When he wasn't photographing the windows of his studio he would travel far and wide with his cumbersome large format camera, undeterred that he had only one arm.

The alternatively-wired indeed. Though I'm less sure about the Gawd reference.
Provenance
Moschops,

Do you know if anyone today is working with color carbon?
moschops
The printers on Jay's link are working today, unless some have recently landed themselves in the bug house.
moschops
Much of my method is cribbed from here… a real page-turner!


A carbon tree…
IPB Image
Provenance
Now that's a cool pic. I would like to see the original.
Tibro
Stunning.

I was talking to someone today about this conversation and she told me that she had just seen an exhibition with one (or more) images that were shown in both carbon and platinum. Same negative but completely different impact according to the printing technique, according to her. I may need to get off my ass and see this show.
Provenance
You need to get off your ass and see the show.

Even as a jpg the tree print is just amazing.
Tibro
The tree image is stunning, no doubt. And it's a jpeg. Which reinforces the point that if the image isn't worth shit it doesn't matter how you print it. If a photographer can't frame a shot then they can't make something worthwhile appear out of thin air in the dark room. It starts with the image, but of course it doesn't end there. Technical ability is to be applauded and can go a long way to enhance other capabilities and the requisite passion but it can't be a substitute for those other talents.

Yeah, I'll get off my ass and see the show.
moschops
QUOTE
…completely different impact according to the printing technique…

Indeed.  The iron processes (platinum, palladium, etc.) are often associated with the Pictorialists and so the tones, especially the highlights, are smooth & soft and shadows never reach absolute black. Carbon can provide the stark detail and full range tone that Group F/64 would approve of, though they would probably prefer them with no relief.

QUOTE
It starts with the image…

Indeed, again.  There are good photographers, and there are good printers.  It's rarer to find good photographer/printers.  No printing process, no matter how well executed, can salvage a poor picture. You're just turd polishing. While poor printing can certainly drag down a great composition, a good photo is more resilient to less than perfect printing. If a song sucks, Abbey Road Studio won't save it. Then there is the bad photo/bad print combo, often created by young hipster artsy-fartsy wannabes, but it's hard to blame them--they know not what they are doing. The more dedicated among them will improve, the others will move on to suck at something else(and look fashionable doing so).

Printing takes up a lot of time and effort, and sometimes I have to put it down for a while so I can actually get out with a camera.
moschops
QUOTE(moschops @ Apr 5 2012, 06:46 PM) *

QUOTE
…completely different impact according to the printing technique…

Indeed.  The iron processes (platinum, palladium, etc.) are often associated with the Pictorialists and so the tones, especially the highlights, are smooth & soft and shadows never reach absolute black. Carbon can provide the stark detail and full range tone that Group F/64 would approve of, though they would probably prefer them with no relief.

QUOTE
It starts with the image…

Indeed, again.  There are good photographers, and there are good printers.  It's rarer to find good photographer/printers.  No printing process, no matter how well executed, can salvage a poor picture. You're just turd polishing. While poor printing can certainly drag down a great composition, a good photo is more resilient to less than perfect printing. If a song sucks, recording it at Abbey Road Studio won't save it. Then there is the bad photo/bad print combo, often created by young hipster artsy-fartsy wannabes, but it's hard to blame them--they know not what they are doing. The more dedicated among them will improve, the others will move on to suck at something else(but look fashionable doing so).

Printing takes up a lot of time and effort, and sometimes I have to put it down for a while so I can actually get out with a camera.
moschops
Pardon the double post above. I must have had a mini-stroke.

IPB Image
Tibro
That is fucking dynamic. I have a visceral reaction of wanting to back up. Nicely composed.
moschops
Thanks. These trees make great subjects. They are up on a hill that is constantly blasted by Atlantic gales.
Artemis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hSXKjHDKkY
moschops
Check out this online exhibit of mammoth plate albumen contact prints. Be sure to click on the images and open up the zoom browser.
moschops
This is a gold-toned vandyke print. Vandykes are based on the argentotype, invented by John Herschel in 1842, the earliest of the iron processes. The metal used is silver, which is susceptible to deterioration so the print is toned with gold for permanence.

IPB Image
Provenance
What creates the "brushstroke" pattern?
moschops
If you're talking about the borders -- a brush. If you mean the squiggles within the image -- absinthe.
Provenance
Absinthe it is. Could you post a color version that shows the goldtone?
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.