[Alt-photo] salted paper

Christina Z. Anderson christinazanderson at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 14:34:23 UTC 2016

Dear List,

I hold myself back from posting all things salt every day, but as some of you know I have been on a salted paper bender since February. Like being hooked on crack. Marek Matusz and I have both been bitten by the salt bug in a big way. I think each of us is easily on print no. 400 but who’s counting. Marek is making his own discoveries and both of us have a nice pile of mistake prints.

I think both of us simultaneously have gone back to the original process and had fun. I’ve used both salt and hot water to fix and that is a hoot! My admiration for Talbot has grown by leaps and bounds. Dan Estabrook, I think you do this in your class at Penland?

I’ve finished reading a lot of literature on salt (about 170 books, easily 100 now on books.google.com, just do a word search for positive printing, positive paper, plain paper, and you’ll get LOTS, so easy to research online today, and free to download to your iPad) and spreadsheeted salt formulas throughout history, some 150 of them (ok, anal, I know). I wanted to see if modern formulas are in sync with formulas from 1839 and on up. No conclusions yet.

There is a formula I tried this week that is from Liam on this list. Liam, are you still there? It is 20g salt, 15g Rochelle salts, 15g citric. Gold toned in borax gold toner it is quite beautiful. Thank you, Liam, for this. Liam wrote a lot of articles for the Post Factory Journal years ago but I have not seen him post in quite a while. 

The weird thing is that of all the formulas I’ve come across this is the only one that used Rochelle salts of the 150, although it was certainly talked about as being an option. I mean, it’s hard to draw any conclusions because some of the decisions made back then were due to availability and expense, but I’d be interested to know where Liam got this formula if he is reading. 

Salts used in the past are ammonium, sodium, barium, cupric, gold (yes, in the salting solution, can you believe it), strontium, Rochelle, and then sodium citrate, potassium citrate, citric acid and then other stuff like potassium bromide and potassium dichromate for contrast, sodium carbonate and bicarbonate, even gum arabic in the salting solution. Also resin and negative varnish.

I’ve tried ammonium, sodium, and barium and like ammonium and then sodium. 

Lots of uranium toning in the literature (Bob Kiss), as well as mercury :)  Things were more toxic back then.

I have made up a list of those I think print salt. If you’re not on it, chime in? 

Adam Finkelston

Brittonie Fletcher

Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek 

Dan Estabrook

Daniel Coburn 

Darryl Baird

Dave Molnar

Ellie Young 

Jesseca Ferguson

Jill Enfield

Joe Portale 

John Schaefer 

Kees Brandenburg 

Keith Schreiber

Kimberly Anderson 

Liam Lawless

Lukas Werth

Luther Gerlach 

Marek Matusz

Mark and France Scully Osterman 

Peter Mumford

Rebecca Sexton Larson

Robert Hall 

Wynn White

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