[Alt-photo] Preserving color in a salt print (lovely lilac turning into brown after hypo)

Darryl Baird darryl at darrylbaird.com
Wed May 7 12:09:00 UTC 2014


I don't believe so, without the fix (and subsequent change in color) the
print would fade or discolor regardless. It's possible to get closer to
gentle warm gray with gold toning, so perhaps some other or additional
toning might push the overall color in the right direction. In my
experience the range for salt is from a rust-brown, to chocolate, to
slightly warm or neutral. The last three are through toning, and are the
result of time (the longer the toning bath, the more neutral the final
color). ….and you can only judge the final color after it's completely


On 2014-05-05 00:10, Bert Kuijer wrote: 

> Hi everyone,
> A friend of mine had a question on the APUG forum about preserving the
> "lovely lilac" color, that changes into yellow-brown after the hypo bath. I
> promised him to forward his question to the alt-photo list. If you have an
> answer and could reply here, I'll forward it to him. If you are a member of
> the APUG forum, you could find his original question here:
> http://www.apug.org/forums/forum42/129841-preserving-color-salt-print.html [1].
> His username is: NedL.
> Thank you,
> Bert from Holland
> http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl [2]
> ~~~~~~~~~~~ question from NedL ~~~~~~~~~~~~
> "If you've tried making a salt print, you'll know that after the paper is
> first exposed it has a lovely lilac color. This color changes when it hits
> the hypo, to a yellow-brown, which dries down to differing shades depending
> on all sorts of things. The final color can be reddish, brown, neutral and
> even maroon, but nothing close to the original delicate lilac color.
> A recurring theme from old and new descriptions of salt prints is the
> desire not to lose those purplish tones. Reading them makes me wonder if
> that's a reason gold toners became popular, because they cause a shift
> toward purple, which people wanted because of the disappointment of seeing
> the lilac disappear! Chrisopher James even has a teaser in his
> instructions, saying he'll reveal how to do it at the end, which he does...
> his friend washes her salt prints in salt water ( which causes a shift
> toward red ) then re-exposes them to light to bring the lilac back out,
> then doesn't fix them and stores them in a dark box, regarding them as
> ephemeral objets d'art. I can relate to this... I make a lot of solargraphs
> which can be similarly ephemeral, and my daughter is well aware of looking
> at them in reduced light and quickly scanning them. After seeing one of my
> first salt prints she insisted it was perfect and I shouldn't fix it...
> just store it in a box. I think she had a point, and it never again looked
> as nice as it did when we viewed it in the contact frame.
> I was just reading a couple of articles about chromoskedasic printing. One
> at the freestyle site and one at another site. Both mention that Jolly ( an
> originator of the process, whose name is also attached to Sabatier effect
> printing ) says if you don't want the colors to shift in the fixer then you
> should fix your photograph in a 1% solution of sodium thiocyanate for 20
> seconds. This to be used in place of regular fixer. Like in salt prints,
> the varying colors in chromoskedasic printing are caused by different
> silver grain sizes and densities. I wonder if this approach could work for
> preserving the colors in a salt print?
> Has anyone tried this? Thoughts? I just checked photographers formulary and
> sodium thiocyanate is not particularly expensive, 10 grams for less than
> $5."
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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[2] http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl

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