[Alt-photo] black plague

Christina Z. Anderson christinazanderson at gmail.com
Sun Oct 1 19:49:03 UTC 2017


Very interesting, Richard! So it is your story I quote often.
As luck would have it, I downloaded the wrong Abney book from archive.org and it happens to be on Platinotype. So I searched Black Spots in the book and here is the quote, p. 40 of 71 in the PDF (not a scan of the book apparently which is from 1898): “Black spots: minute particles of metal, chiefly brass or iron, in the texture of the paper itself; these set nuclei, around which there is a violent deposit. Or, the iron is sometimes carried up by the Bunsen burners used in drying the paper. Or, such spots may also be due to impurities or even metallic platinum in carelessly prepared chloro-platinite. Remedy is to filter the solution.Or particles of iron that fall on the print if it is cut by a steel knife, or more often they are particles torn off the calcium tube in opening or shutting it. Fold and cut the paper, therefore, with a bone or ivory knife, and wrap it up in paper when in the tube.”
Chris

> On Oct 1, 2017, at 10:50 AM, Richard Sullivan <sullivan8486 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> A story:
> 
> Way back when, Marc Biggins had a spot problem. Like this was  in the early 80's.
> 
> He called me in desperation, near suicidal.
> 
> I was sick with the flue. Very sick.
> 
> "Please Dick help me. I got to get this prints out -- pronto."
> 
> "I am sick very sick!!"
> 
> "If you come and help me We will take you and melody to dinner at any restaurant in LA you choose."
> 
> I went and puked one more time and headed over Coldwater to Hollywood.
> 
> Went into the studio. "Make a print," I said.
> 
> Marc pulled out a large sheet of paper, laid it on the cutting table.
> 
> Then grabbed a straight edge and a knife and whacked off a piece to coat.
> 
> He coated with B+S Pt & Pd  & FO..
> 
> A snowstorm of black spots appeared.
> 
> I already knew the problem when he cut the paper.
> 
> I got a damp paper towel and wiped religiously the cutting table.
> 
> I reached in and slid a sheet of paper out of the middle of the pack.
> 
> Just to be safe, I folded and tore it not using his knife and straightedge.
> 
> He coated and printed and developed a beautiful image with know spots.
> 
> I tore off another sheet and held the steel straightedge and steel bladed knife and held the edge up 
> and over the paper and dragged the blade down the straight edge while over the paper.
> 
> Another black potted snowstorm.
> 
> Melody and I, Marc and his wife had a lovely dinner at La Boheme. Marc paid!
> 
> End of story.
> 
> --Dick Sullivan
> www.bostick-sullivan.com <http://www.bostick-sullivan.com/>
> 
> 
> 
> 
> PS
> 
> Another time, another place and another near suicidal printer. 
> 
> Vent fan over the work table silently (humans cant here 40,000 hz squeals.)
> 
> Clean up, fan off, no spots.
> 
> PSS
> 
> Patrick Alt (unfortunately the late Patrick) 
> Near suicidal.
> 
> Leaned not to steel wool his cameras he was building and refinishing in the same place he was making prints.
> 
> PSSS
> 
> More if you like!
> 
> 
> 
> On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 9:43 AM, Christina Z. Anderson via Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org <mailto:alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>> wrote:
> Anne et al,
> 
> Though I do a fair amount of platinum printing and teaching, it is not one of my five processes of choice, so I defer to the experts here. But I saw Anne’s dots in an off list post to me, and they are not pizza wheel marks which are minute pinpricks usually in a row. Hers are those dreaded very noticeable sporadic black dots perhaps 1/4 or 1/2 mm in diameter  referred to as the black dot plague.
> 
> >>> I've been buying FeO#1 in
> >>> solution from Bostick and Sullivan. Chris suggested I try buying from
> >>> Artcraft instead.
> 
> The reason for my suggestion to buy fresh chems and from a different supplier was to take “batch” out of the equation, not to impugn B&S in any way. If you have several on the list who bought chems from B&S at the same exact time and from the same exact batch and you are the only one with black plague then that would eliminate that variable but that is so hard to corral. Easier to buy a different batch from a different supplier.
> 
> Like the Arches Platine paper I bought from B&S with horrible clear sizing spots, I talked with them about it and since no one had reported a problem to them about the Platine my problem didn’t have credibility or “legs.” I bought a fresh batch from Freestyle which had sporadic spots, enough to still be problematic but not as obvious as the batch at B&S, thus corroborating that it was a larger problem than just a single batch at B&S. When I mentioned it on the list then Gilles chimed in along with others. And then Terri Cappucci on FB started talking about it and was the one who got the ball rolling with Arches, and they corrected it in the batch that came out in April. How cool is that? In the meantime it was truly the bane of my existence with salted paper so I feel Anne’s pain, and I didn’t have an imminent show looming ahead.
> 
> >>> Also, I had some Rives paper here from
> >>> gumming so just out of curiosity I coated a little of that---the problem
> >>> was much worse than on the HPR---larger black spots and more of them.
> >>>
> 
> The fact that it is occurring on two different papers is a good indication it is not the paper but something in the workflow or chemistry happening and Mark’s suggestion about taking from the top of the solution and not shaking the bottle solved someone else’s black plague.
> 
> Dick Arentz’ book talks about this problem and p. 217 says “the cause is unknown.” There has got to be a way to find out the cause or someone out there who already has. I wonder if Art Kaplan at the Getty, or someone else, can use a microscope and see exactly what the particle is composed of. Wouldn’t it be great to solve this problem once and for all?
> 
> Chris
> 
> 
> 
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