[Alt-photo] salted paper book update, long post

Christina Z. Anderson christinazanderson at gmail.com
Wed Jan 11 00:17:26 UTC 2017

Dear List,

Down to the wire here. The salted paper book is due to the publishers imminently, and a good thing since the semester starts tomorrow. I have been quiet on the list because I have been writing nonstop. Didn’t even see Christmas happening.

I got a question today off list about my below zero salted paper experiments and realized I had never posted a key piece of information here (at least, if I haven’t lost my mind, I don’t think I did?). I have continued to expose salted paper all break outside (I prefer it) in sub-freezing temps with nary a problem because of the Christmas present I got from Mike Ware in the following statement:

Your observation is down to the difference between photochemical energy - carried by the UV/blue light (photons) - and thermal energy - carried by the impact and vibrations of atoms and molecules, which we measure by the temperature of a body. The UV only causes changes in the energy states of the outermost electrons of the silver chloride, which are "very light and fast moving”; whereas chemistry (like development) depends on the collisions and vibrations of whole atoms and molecules, which are "heavy and slow-moving", by comparison. What the Born-Oppenheimer approximation posits is that the electronic energy can be treated separately and independently from the vibrational energy - which we also call heat, or thermal energy.

And, in another email, summing it up in a pithy Christmas message: 

I thought you might like to know that what you have been doing is to establish the validity of a profound theorem in molecular quantum mechanics, known to its afficionados as The Born-Oppenheimer Approximation. 
The Christmas Message is: “Optical photons don’t feel the cold”.

This is more than exciting to me. My salted paper class I’ll be teaching all semester will be happily exposing in the cold. Well, maybe they won’t be happy, esp since MSU is a smoke free campus so they can’t enjoy a cigarette break while hanging outside.

Here are some stats on the book as it shortly goes to press:
376 images
70 images alone in the troubleshooting section (95% mine)
36 contributing artists
180+ books/journals researched and/or cited

The book is similar in format to my Gum Printing book but the how-to is much longer and the artist section shorter. You would think that gum would be much more complex, but, actually, it is not. Gum in comparison with salt is much more forgiving. Salt, when you screw up, there’s little recourse.

This book has been, for me, the most hair raising experience. As you all know, I revel in all things gum and casein. To write about salted paper entailed a huge amount of research to get up to snuff, and then to practice the research by making prints. Hundreds of them. I finally quit counting. But for some reason, because this book took such effort and anxiety, I am in an odd way prouder of it.

Aside from Mike Ware’s gracious help, there are two other list contributors to thank (aside from Larry Schaaf who corrected my history!) : Jacques Kevers, who out of the goodness of his heart translated Von Hubl’s whole book Silberdruck auf Salzpapier. What Jacques doesn’t know is that this translation led to some interesting experiments and discoveries by the second person to thank, Marek Matusz. 

Marek and I got bitten by the salt bug at the same time (last February) and because he is a research chemist, and because of our mutual interest, we began a correspondence about our salted paper experiences. The result is that Marek has been a huge contributor to the book, with some interesting observations/discoveries that will be included. In fact, I can pretty much say the two of us co-wrote the salting/sensitizing chapter. Marek also contributed much to the toning chapter and, of course, is an artist in the book. 

The weird thing is that NEITHER of us had any inkling, say, February 1 even, that the year would be like this (thanks Keith Schreiber!) I started working on the Troubleshooting visual and it just kept going. And both of us continue to experiment even as the book is going to press.

I have never enjoyed such collaboration on a book before. Book writing is usually a lonely endeavor. This was just pure darn fun.

It’s still a long process forward, from delivery to Routledge to multiple copy edits to finally getting in the press queue, but availability is slated for October 2017. Available on Amazon and other places as usual (the UK seems to get stuff first from Taylor Francis/Routledge, and even cheaper perhaps).

Routledge has told me I can publicize the artists in the book now and so here is the list, and you’ll recognize some names I’m sure! If it weren’t for the artists, the book would not be anywhere near as alluring. And I know it is a PITA to submit all the stuff and to respond to my annoying emails, but I am deeply grateful.

I am looking forward to a life not footnoting very shortly.

In alphabetical order:

Anderson, Kimberly
Baird, Darryl
Brandenburg, Kees
Brandt, Matthew
Byron, Carol
Chong Sok Fen, Fiona
Coburn, Daniel
Crawford, Megan
Estabrook, Dan
Finkelston, Adam
Fletcher, Brittonie
Gerlach, Luther
Gerling, Keith
Hajicek, James
Hamilton, Brenton
Izzo, Suzanne
Keen, Ken
Larson, Rebecca Sexton
Matusz, Marek
Molnar, Dave
Novo, Alberto
Osterman, France Scully
Osterman, Mark
Owen, Jessica Christine
Panaro-Smith, Carol
Reeder, Ron
Rust, Dianna J.
Schreiber, Keith
Van Gerven, Karel
Vlach, Alan
Wang, Sam
White, Wynn
Young, Ellie    

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