Blue layer.

These are with the blue layer on top – prolly another two to three layers to go on the tiki, dunno about the other one, but I’m warming to it 😀

The tiki image is a shade more blue than that over all, and the Yellow is stronger too, but I can’t get it any closer without major photoshopping, the other one is fairly close to life;

Gum bichromate has really interesting optical qualities, it changes in light, which is fun, but also as you move past the image – the reason for this is that there’s reasonably thick (microscopically thin, but optically thick) layers of gum arabic that build up, each with pigments in them – so the colours spectrum shift, filter, and do all sorts of interesting stuff when light hits them.


Second layer Gum.

Second layer – red, over yellow, blue tomorrow – so far so good, I’ve winnowed down something like 12 prints to three that seem to be working (tri colour attempts like below), and another 4 paynes grey single layers that I think I’ll try to build compliments on..

The grey ones seem to be exhibiting imagewise staining in their second or third layer from the carbon black in the paynes grey – shows up a black pits, I’ll retry with ivory and perhaps mars black, also worth looking onto building blacks from complimentary colours methinks – after all, it’s taking multiple layers to get density anyhow, and it’s not happening with paynes or lamp black.

It’s also an excuse to play with new and shiny watercolour pigments 😀

Oh, painted the inside of the exposure unit (cardboard box) silver yesterday – it seems to have given me about 2 mins shorter exposure time (now 13 min) – I think I’ll leave it at that for now.

UV exposure unit n’ stuff

More test prints 😀 I just recently brought a black light blue compact fluorescent  bulb – one of the 26w spiral type, I was hoping that it’d be adequate to expose up to 8×10″ prints – thus far I can comment that it does 5×7″+ (with painted overlaps) gum bichromate prints perfectly adequately and seems to expose evenly.

As you can see my exposure unit isn’t the most technical unit ever made, it’s a cardboard box and sticky tape, but it seems to work, so it’ll do for now. I was intending to use a clamp on bedside lamp, but funnily enough the lamp died when I tried the bulb (a $5 lamp housing dying to save a $30 bulb is unheard of in my experience). The box is the box the bulb arrived in 😀

I was getting 20 minute exposures to begin with, but then I cut some off the bottom and now it’s 15 min (the lamp is now 5″ away from the glass). This seems to hold true for gum and with oil prints both with %5 Potassium dichromate.

That’s a single layer in paynes grey, I’ll give it another 3 coats using cymk sep negs with paynes grey, just to see what it looks like – I have a bunch in progress atm, when I’ve done them I’ll look at making up some newer lith negs – the negs I’m using atm are all circa 2008.

I had someone steal 3×100 packs of half plate brovira from my mail box last week, one of the packs they opened and threw all of the photo paper on the ground, so I picked up about 60 sheets on the grounds that they must be good for something – I fixed a couple, and applied dichromate to them in order to see if i could get an oil print from them, and it seems to work. This is after exposure, but before inking;

Neg from a tin can pinhole camera.

And starting to ink (different neg) using a couple of makeup brushes.

And an inked photo – I learned quite a lot from this even if the result doesn’t wildly excite me – it turns out that it’s viable at least. Reasonably easy to get this much of a result too, makes me feel that I may well be able to get something interesting happening with a bit of application.

Oh, and another from a really weak blurry neg I made in a modified polaroid square shooter a few years back (the experiment wasn’t that massive a success).

Kinda pictoralist, that’s 6cm square velox.

So all in all it seems that the compact fluro ‘party lights’ actually work surprisingly well for this application, a sub $100 exposure unit is quite doable, mine was sub $30 courtesy of a lucky auction win and a ‘recycled lamp cord.

Lumens – Dmax?

I’ve been playing with lumen printing for a couple of years now, and have often wondered if there is a way to increase the dmax so as I could get darker darks in the image. A few times I’ve tried painting different chemicals onto bits of photo paper and exposing them to see what happens, generally without much success, table salt makes for a cooler colour, but only a slight increase in the dmax, ammonia creates an unreliable and slight dmax increase, with cooler colours and so on.

This sort of thing – from memory the bottom center was dipped in a table salt solution – which only partially reacted causing the cooler grey bits at the edges – the bottom right was dipped in ammonia (cleaning product grade). So generally I haven’t seen much of a result. (All of the photo’s in this post have been fixed, washed and dried.)

So the other day with nothing much better to do I tried out the chemistry I had at hand, mainly testing a paper (velox – above and below) rather than the chemistry itself – I also had selenium at hand, so I painted “Se” on a piece with a brush dipped in it and put them out in the sun. This gives a bit more of a reaction, but still slight in general. The chemicals I did this with were cleaning grade cloudy ammonia, Potassium dichromate at approx %5, KRST Selenium toner, and household bleach (something hypochlorite?)

And it would seem that the selenium responds to this – rather intensely! The other 3 reacted immediately, mainly cos of the water, but over 2-3 hours they levelled out again as the water evaporated – the bleach reduced dmax substantially (which is in itself pretty interesting). But the selenium reacted far far slower than the others and kept gaining density long after the others had hit their dmax. The others showed a couple of spots of reaction, but really, the image above speaks for itself.

So I figured that one of three things was happening – the first possibility being that the thiosulphate in the KRST was grabbing the silver and converting it to something that was still light sensitive, this didn’t make sense really, but was possible – The second was as above but the selenium was converting this secondary substance into something else – this was, and still is a reasonable assumption – the third option was that the hypochlorite wasn’t doing anything positive and it was purely a reaction between silver halides, selenium salts, and the sun, thus forming silver selenide by oxidation (there might be other options – but I’m no chemist, and even less of a physicist).

So my next step was to coat some sheets of RC photo paper with selenium in different ways – I did the following;

Soaked a sheet of paper in strong 1;3 selenium and let it drip dry (these had no subsequent light reaction).

Soaked a sheet of paper in weak 1;30 selenium and let it drip dry (these had no subsequent light reaction).

Soaked a sheet of paper in strong 1;3 selenium (these had no subsequent light reaction).

Soaked a sheet of paper in weak 1;30 selenium (these had no subsequent light reaction).

This proves well enough that the fix in KRST actually acts as fix, and thus the light sensitive halides were eliminated into the krst solution.

I also painted fix onto a couple of bits and let it dry in place, thus ensuring that the dissolved halides stayed on the papers surface – this was subsequently completely insensitive to light – which proves fairly safely that fix not only removes silver, but forms a compound which is insensitive to light, which eliminated any chance that the fix was acting as the agent (alone anyhow).

Lastly (well, first actually, but I’m getting the total failures out of the way first) I painted a liberal amount of 1;3 KRST onto another couple of sheets and allowed them to dry, these were the only successes – A sheet that was exposed to the sun went a dark grey/black which remained after fixing.

I then put a sheet into a contact printer with a waxed paper neg and exposed that to blue sky through a window, but not to direct sunlight, the result of 3 hr’s printing looked like this;

Not pretty by any stretch, but still extremely interesting – For an obvious start I should have used a regular neg, or exposed it to direct sunlight for the extra push – I can still get an idea from this, so that’s ok. The places where the solution pooled turned out bleached, which tells me that I was far too heavy handed with the selenium – this is reinforced by the fact that the places where I barely touched have achieved nearly full density, and the places i painted heavily are bleached back (pale). Looking closely at the border is interesting too;

This shows the range, from the very nearly black section where I just whisked the brush over the surface, through the faded area’s where I painted more heavily, to the fully bleached parts where the solution pooled – it would seem that the key to getting full darks is to only apply a very light coating of selenium.

This is reinforced by looking at the other side of the print, the brush marks there were so light that i didn’t spot them as I was coating the paper.

All in all a pretty interesting experiment – probably amongst the ugliest stuff I’ve posted here 😀 but I have a feeling that this has some very real potential if i tweak it a bit… Ok, a lot 😛 but I’m seeing something here that I haven’t seen before, it’s definitely worth looking closer.

For my next step I’m going to coat some fiber based paper very lightly with Se (1:3 and 1:30) and let it dry in darkness, then I’ll expose it in full sun under a proper negative – the fiber paper is cos the RC is waterproof and thus both repelled the solution, and refused to dry evenly – Plus I have an inkling that a nice print might turn up soon – I also need to try selenium toning after fixing as well (as opposed to selenium sensitising pre-exposure).

Collections, Plastic Heitiki

I picked up a purple transparent Heitiki in a $2 store in K Road in 2008, since that time I’ve used it as the basis of a series of works, which have strangely turned into a fully blown project for this year (more another time).

I started making gum bichromate prints in 2008, I used a scan of the tiki as an image source, sadly I didn’t photograph the series that sold at that time (in private collections), but I’ve continued to work with the imagery.

The dark grey print is gum bichromate, circa 2008, the two orangey prints are lumen prints from the same negative (regular photo paper used as POP ), and the black print is a silver (fiber) print from a waxed paper neg – it’s actually far darker than that, but I can’t get my scanner or printer to see the detail without spreading the contrast substantially. The blue print is a cyanotype which had the tiki placed on it in the sun, and the purplish one is a lumen print by the same technique.

The final two (bright green & purple) I describe below – it won’t let me separate stuff out from the gallery – poor effort that!

The following is a digital separation for a spraypaint stencil, I’m also working on some 3 and 4 colour gum prints atm.

I often use one image for testing things, this is a particular favourite of mine for playing with alt processes with – I like it at a conceptual level too.

The original;

Super 8 Developing and filing camera’s

First off, the minolta 16 film I got with my 16p seems to be stuffed, it’s hardly surprising given that it’s 50 years out of date for it to be a bit fogged – but this has been left somewhere hot and damp for a very long time – after developing the d-max was about 1/6th above fog, which is essentially unprintable.

Pity, I wanted to make friends with a new (old/antique/obsolete) film stock, I guess it’s not to be – I have some fomapan 100 cut down from 120 when I was making 127 rolls that fit’s very neatly into these cartridges, I guess that’s my next step. I really like that camera, it’s nice to use.

In other news I developed the rest of the super 8 film I had the other day (might have been yesterday, I’m not good with days) – I stuffed about 40′ of film into a patterson canister, and developed as usual, I got maybe 12″ of emulsion spots, not too bad really, I still have 3000 odd negs to make something out of.

Holding up a magnifying loupe in front of my digi cam was never going to give me a sharp shot – such is life.

Finally – this is one of the (many) reason’s I’ll never be an adult.

In that shot are; and agfa box camera, a french… uh… Pontiac rollfilm camera that’s been converted to a film slitter, about 8 rolls of tape of different types, a ricoh 500g, a canon 300 with a helios 58mm on it, about 60 coloured pencils (FC polychromos), a variety of other writing/drawing tools, a few sketchbooks and reference books, an agfa isoly plastic camera, canonette 19, ensign 1620, fujica st605 w. 24mm, mat cutter, film loader, and a crapload of unsorted papers, Oh, and there’s my antacids, cool, I hate having to pay for stuff I already know I have.

Reportedly adults have an innate ability to manage to store things correctly and don’t suffer from periodic cameralanches.

Chemigrams, I guess?

I had these in a drawer unfixed – they were failed lumen prints, they were just waiting for me to eventually throw them away – instead I decided to see what happened when I threw thm in some developer in daylight – it seems the lumen print acts as something of a resist.

The ones with more colour were experiments with pouring film developer over 60 year expired kodak velox in daylight (all these are velox) – they’re  fixed, but without selenium – the others are fixed and then toned, which oddly killed the colours in them – also turned a nice new batch of (1:3) selenium black – something I must investigate.

For the record – I have something like 2500 sheets of 2 1/4″ (6cm) square velox that I suspect is stuffed – some might be ok, but a lot of it is water damaged.

Yeah – two and a half thousand, that’s not a typo.