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


HEALTH AND SAFETY PROCEDURES for alternative photographic processes

The most important information you can have about these processes is in this area, it could stop you becoming sensitized to the chemicals, getting sick or even save your life. Theodore Hogan makes a very relevant comment about experimenting with the limits of the materials in "The New Photography", that illustrates the point well, " Just remember that you may exhaust your limits long before the materials reveal theirs". - " Ignorance of how to safely handle the chemicals used in various printing techniques can put you out of the picture".

The chemical might still be on the shelf when you are in the grave!

So a correct understanding of these materials, processes and environments to handle them in is essential. Almost all photographic chemicals can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin. Exposure to some chemicals such as cyanides and solvents (Turps and mineral spirits) may cause headaches, weakness, dizziness, and a sense of confusion. Prolonged exposure with chromate's may result in skin ulcers.

Other chemicals can produce severe skin and lung burns, and if they get in your eyes, blindness (hydrochloric acid, oxalic acid, potash, silver nitrate). As with other photographic processes, the most common and extreme cause of health problems occurs in situations where artists have inadvertently consumed chemicals while drinking, eating or smoking and for this reason it is recommended that all of these are totally banned in the darkroom area. To minimize this potential it is crucial to wash your hands with soap before engaging in any of the above activities after you have been working with these or any photographic processes.



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