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


Step 4.

While many manuals suggest contact print for about 10mins in bright sunlight, this can be quite variable. It is actually UV that is exposing the image, and this can vary considerably from location to location and also is effected by the seasons.

For some images exposed to strong mid day sunlight in New Zealand, which has a high UV level, during mid summer the correct exposure can be as short as 2minutes.

However during an overcast day in winter the exposure may be as long as 3 hours.

Van Dyke brown exposure for a photogram. Note the light yellow brown colour of the emulsion at the beginning of the exposure.

Note the change of emulsion colour with exposure to sunlight. While the image can be exposed for longer this image is fully exposed.

Often this is done by laying the negative emulsion side down, (or proxy negative - transparent, acetate, objects for a photogram) onto the emulsion coated side of the paper. If it is a negative or flat transparency a sheet of glass about 4 -5 mm thick is placed on top of this to hold everything in good contact. Special contact printing frames can be made that hold the paper, negative and glass under pressure. The emulsion is about twice as fast as the Cyanotype. Correct exposure is indicated when details are visible in shadows only and mid-tones begin to show faintly.

Additional Exposure Information:

Usually the negative is placed on the dry coated paper or base with a piece of glass on top of this to keep it flat. Variations on this might include: · Taping the edges of the paper down onto a board will hold it place for the exposure. The print can also be processed, including drying, taped down which will make sure the print dries flat. This method is particularly effective for multiple exposures. Make sure the board has been sealed with sanding sealer to stop any chemicals migrating from the board to the paper during processing, or use a plastic sheet. Although the print might have to be cut from the board when dry, wettable package tape works well.

A contact print frame keeps the negative evenly in contact with the paper during exposure. Hinged wood and glass print frames are available commercially, or one could be made and are convenient to use. Make sure the glass is of a reasonable thickness, (4mm- 6mm depending on size) as the weight will hold the negative in firm contact and also be less prone to breakage.

If you can get access to one, commercial plate makers and blueprint machines have rollers or vacuum systems that keep the negative evenly in contact with the paper. Sunlight, ultraviolet lamp, arc light, commercial plate maker, sunlamp or other ultraviolet light sources may be used. Exposure varies depending on lighting, negatives, coating techniques and other factors. As a starting point, try 10 minutes in bright sun or 75 units in violet arc light to start. The print will turn yellowish brown or brown when exposed.

Shorter exposures result in orangey-brown final prints; longer exposures result in dark brown prints. Any of these may give the final results you might want, so experiment and make test prints to find the correct exposure.

Tape negatives to three dimensional objects coated with emulsion that won't fit under glass for exposure. After the exposure protect the paper from stray UV as this will fog the image and process as soon as possible.




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