[Alt-photo] salted paper

Christina Z. Anderson christinazanderson at gmail.com
Sun Mar 6 17:05:50 UTC 2016

Dear All,

I have updated and added new images to my salted paper adventures on my website, and an adventure it has been! I think I have come close to experiencing every problem in the book! What fun (NOT).


I am needing some advice from inveterate salt printers and/or chemists. Yesterday I had a black measles epidemic with my salt printing. I have put a picture on the end of my salted paper page to illustrate, so don’t bother reading the article, just scroll down to the very bottom.

All measles were on brush-salted Bergger paper.
One print I did yesterday on a remaining piece of Hahnemühle did not measle, but that piece was tray-salted.
The measles were slightly visible on the paper before exposure.
The measles were quite visible after exposure, and before processing.
The measles slightly paled in processing but are still there to essentially ruin 7 of the 9 prints (the only one that survived on Bergger did so because it was an all-over detailed image).

There is talk in the literature about mottling or white measles, but less on black measles. One Google text says that “the silver chloride is decomposed into black silver sub-chloride and chlorine and the free chlorine attacks the albuminate of silver, and combines with some of its silver to form little spots of fresh silver chloride, which, when being then acted on by light, is blackened in its turn, but to a slightly different tint….the best remedy for measles is to fume the paper for ten minutes before printing…with ammonia…”

I am not a chemist and I have no idea if this is true. All I do know is it has to be in the preparation of the print but don’t know what I did to cause it other than to never brush size again, but I am interested in the diagnosis at the chemistry level (in layman’s terms). My tray-sized Platine is not doing this. I could blame the paper but much more probable it is my technique. 

I used, for my salting solution, 0.8% 250 bloom gelatin, 2% sodium citrate and 2% ammonium chloride for all papers. 

Any help is welcome!

More information about the Alt-photo-process-list mailing list