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

Van Dyke Brown Recipe & Process

Coating the sensitive emulsion:

Read safety instructions

Step 2.

In very subdued or a yellow or red safe light, coat the surface of the paper with the solution. Use of a clean brush without metallic ferrule is recommended.

Make sure that the emulsion is stirred before use.

(Some recipes suggest coating the paper twice allowing for drying between coats, but I have found that if you are careful in the application one coat seems to work fine).

Additional coating information:

During storage the iron and silver can tend to separate out at different levels in the liquid.

Some photographers recommend storing each of the stock solutions separately, but as the mixture matures giving a deeper richer tone with age, it is recommended to leave for at least a day in a combined state. With combined solutions, make sure you gently agitate the solution to mix it before use; failure to do so can result in uneven coating of silver and iron in various areas.

While this can produce some interesting effects, they may not be those you desired.

Use gloves and other protective equipment as the mixture and stain skin.

Applying the emulsion too thickly can create a situation where the top layer of the emulsion becomes dark on exposure and blocks the light from reaching the lower layer, so that in the developing stage both layers wash away.

Experiment with emulsion thickness - a thin coat can produce surprisingly delicate tones. Thinning the emulsion down slightly can assist with this.

Experiment with application techniques, foam brushes can be used, foam rollers can give and even coating.

Abbreviations can be incorporated as part of the work.

Be aware that some papers are fragile and may need taped down to a board for coating and processing, also some papers may need sizing to stop the emulsion soaking into the fibres of the paper.

Drying the emulsion
Step 3.

Dry the paper in darkness or subdued light and keep in darkness until use. If you are coating a great number of sheets a drying rack is ideal, but be careful that there is no wet emulsion or contaminants on the rack where you place the paper.

A hair dryer can be used to speed the drying up. Some manuals recommend using the sensitised paper with in 12 hrs. I once forgot about some paper in this state and used it after about 3 weeks without any great difference. This did not seem to effect the sensitivity: The only effect was that the tonal quality might have been a little softer.




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