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Alternative Photographic Processes - (Hand made photographic -emulsions and processes)


Processes - LIQUID LIGHT

This is a silver-based sensitiser which is like the traditional silver emulsion coated on to commercial photographic paper. While it can be applied on a paper support base - it can also be applied on a wide range of surfaces like glass, metal, wood ceramics etc. Like commercial photographic paper it needs to be prepared, coated, dried, exposed and processed in a darkroom safe light. Exposure to light will fog the emulsion.


Once it is applied and dried it is exposed by an enlarger, ( this means that rather than needing a contact negative which is the same size as the desired image, an enlarger can be used to enlarge the image) and then it is processing in conventional photographic chemistry - developer, fixer etc. It is virtually the same emulsion found on an ordinary photographic paper, but in a liquid form and can allow the emulsion to be coated on a wide range of surfaces.


Speed and Contrast: When freshly-made, liquid light is relatively slow and lacks full contrast. As it ages, it becomes faster and more contrasty. You can obtain maximum speed and contrast at any stages by adding a small quantity of working developer to the emulsion, as described below.


LIQUID LIGHT VC EMULSION - For use with variable-contrast filters.

This emulsion is for use with polycontrast filters, the contrast ranges from 1 (low) to 3.5 (medium high). It has all the features of regular Liquid Light-- easy application, coverage of 1½ square feet or more per ounce and is darkroom safe and fume-free. Liquid Light VC is processed the same as Liquid Light and Ag-Plus but requires a red safelight.



Ag-Plus photographic emulsion

This is a premium emulsion with a high silver halide content for added sensitivity if the emulsion is used in-camera as for tintypes, or for wall-size prints exposed at a distance from the enlarger. Appearance and processing of prints made with Ag-Plus are the same as with Liquid Light.


All these emulsions can leave black stains on working surfaces and needs to cleaned up immediately.

Support bases

Liquid Light is usually coated onto a paper base - but it can be coated onto a number of different materials -

Hard materials, metal, plastics, wood, glass, ceramics, need an oil-based pre-coat for good adhesion and to prevent discoloration. For a transparent pre-coat, use glossy polyurethane varnish. For a colored pre-coat, use alkyd primer paint. Both are available at paint and hardware stores. (Oil-base coatings are those whose label says they can be thinned with mineral spirits. Do not use water-base coatings or acrylics, lacquer, shellac, damars, satin finish coatings, etc. which will soften in the developer.) Artist's canvas that has been primed with water-base gesso should be given a topcoat of oil-base varnish or paint.

Glass and glazed ceramics only: A useful alternative for adhesion to glass is a gelatin precoat or traditional photographic "subbing" solution, which fuses the emulsion to the surface. This solution works with mineral-based materials like glass and china, glazed tiles, ceramics and porcelain-- not with plastics, metals, or other hard materials (use polyurethane or paint.)


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