[Alt-photo] salted paper

Christina Z. Anderson christinazanderson at gmail.com
Wed Sep 14 18:16:23 UTC 2016


Matte paper was really in at one point, and albumen was characterized like this: "The slimy appearance of albumenized paper, giving the print the appearance of a magnified snails’ playground, has always been objectionable to me...” 15 Clark

Them’s fightin’ words for albumen printers.

Oddly, the objection to albumen’s gloss started early on, not just at the turn of the century. So I can’t understand why it was so popular all those years.

When platinum was invented it was all the rage, for its very rich, dramatic brown-black color. So its look influenced how people practiced salt, and it was a much cheaper way of getting a platinum look, to tone a salt print considering a mere few mls will tone quite a few prints. 

This was about the same time they were combining arrowroot with albumen to cut the gloss, too. 

It was said that gelatin-sized papers weren’t as good for platinum toning as arrowroot sized papers but the few authors that said that did not say why, if it was a chemical reason or aesthetic. It was as if they assumed everyone knew that so it didn’t need to be explained. Someone on the list may have an exact reason why…but in toning with platinum I have no problem with toning gelatin-sized prints so my guess is it was an aesthetic statement.

This is all off the top of my head though, don’t have time to search through all my notes.

On Sep 14, 2016, at 11:44 AM, Ned Lewis via Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:

> I think I remember reading a Rodolfo Namias recipe that includes zinc
> chloride.
> Chris, I'm curious why you say that arrowroot would be perfect for platinum
> toning... is there a reason why platinum toner would work better or look
> nicer with a matte print or with arrowroot?  Or just that platinum toning
> was common during the same era that starch or arrowroot was in use?
> Ned
> On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 8:36 AM, Serdar Bilici via Alt-photo-process-list <
> alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
>> Hi Christina,
>> I haven't tried that formula. I recall reading in some old text that in
>> small amounts cupric chloride helps to increase contrast.
>> I've just adjusted the regular formula (salt, citrate and gelatine) and
>> replaced the table salt with cupric chloride.
>> It was an attempt to achieve different colors with salt prints. Cupric
>> chloride prints out as expected.
>> The print is very beautiful magenta much vivid than regular salt prints but
>> it starts to fade in wet process.
>> I tried a few chemicals in first wash to precipitate the copper hoping that
>> it wont bleach the silver image but no success.
>> I think I might have seen zinc chloride somewhere. It is quite soluble in
>> ethanol, that is why I tried it with collodio-chloride (as strontium
>> chloride substitute).
>> It works with regular salt prints too. Salt print with zinc chloride prints
>> quite fast, but they are very prone to bronzing. Nothing special about the
>> color, Zinc chloride is hard to store, it is very very deliquescent.
>> What about casein for sizing?, someone must have tried that.
>> Regards
>> Serdar
>> On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 6:06 PM, Christina Z. Anderson via
>> Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>
>> wrote:
>>> How exciting; I have added quite a few of you now to my list!
>>> Serdar, did you do Thomson’s formula of 1908?
>>> 18g cupric chloride
>>> 18g gum arabic
>>> 1 liter water
>>> up to 1ml potassium dichromate 1% optional.
>>> Silver is 12.5% with 5.7% added citric and 0.5% gum arabic.
>>> He goes on to say that either ammonium or sodium will suffice as well.
>>> I think Marek might have tried it, too, and found it a bust. Marek, am I
>>> remembering this correctly?
>>> I can count that in all the formulas I recorded 88 use ammonium 66 use
>>> sodium 7 use barium, 1 cupric, 1 strontium. So obviously barium, cupric,
>>> strontium were outliers. I’ve used barium and did not like it. I sized
>> some
>>> more sheets with it to see if I still feel that way. The color was a
>> poopy
>>> yellow-brown and the paper felt like it had a deposit on it, scratchy.
>>> 64 gelatin 26 arrowroot or common starch, 54 no sizing agent, 3 agar
>> agar,
>>> 1 Icelandic moss.
>>> Of course, by far albumen is ubiquitous in the literature but I wasn’t
>>> researching it.
>>> In other words I can see trends, e.g. from no sizing at all until gelatin
>>> came in and in the late 1800s arrowroot was talked about a lot because
>>> glossy was out, matte was in, and it was perfect for platinum toning.
>>> The big variance is in the amount of gelatin. 1-28g per liter. I usually
>>> use 8, tried 20 and I did not notice any benefit to a larger amount. The
>>> most common amount back in the day was 2.3g
>>> OK enough geeking out for the day.
>>> Chris
>>> On Sep 13, 2016, at 11:45 AM, Serdar Bilici <sbilici at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> I do salt prints too. I have been stalking all the salt printing posts
>>> for a while.
>>>> Btw, I have tried using purely cupric chloride  for salt prints. There
>>> is no way to stop the bleachig while wet processing due to the presence
>> of
>>> copper.
>>>> But in very small amounts it is a better contrast control agent than
>>> dichromates.
>>>> Regards
>>>> Serdar
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