[Alt-photo] Troubles with Calotypes, James' "Contemporary" Method

Brittonie brittonie at gmail.com
Wed Jan 10 10:40:48 UTC 2018

Keith- can you share that off with the list? I'd like to check it out :)



> On 10 Jan 2018, at 05:00, Ned Lewis via Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
> I've not tired Rives BFK but the Canson Universal Sketch is buffered and
> does not work with the calotype processes I've tried.  I have not tried a
> pre-silvered process like the one you are using, I think if anything they
> might be more susceptible to paper problems.
> 1:1 ANS and saturated gallic sounds like way too much ANS to me... some
> calotypes can be developed without ANS at all, if like yours, they are not
> washed after sensitizing.  When we do need ANS, the amount varies from just
> a few drops to just a few ml.   I don't have a copy of the James book, but
> glancing at it in Google Books I noticed something odd... I saw the part
> that said to mix ANS to gallic 1:1, but a page or two before, on page 73
> writing about "part A-2", he says, "The silver and acid restrainer should
> be added to the developer little by little as needed as you develop the
> image".  That sounds more like what I'm aware of.
> You could try acidifying the paper prior to preparing it for a calotype.
> Good luck!
> On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 6:26 PM, Marek Matusz via Alt-photo-process-list <
> alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
>> Well, I have not done a single calotype but I know that salted paper
>> printing is very sensitive and incompatible with buffered paper. Is the
>> advice for calotypes to use unbuffered papers ? I am sure calotypists would
>> chime in. Most of the Japanese kozo papers are thin and unbuffered
>> Marek
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> On Jan 9, 2018, at 7:15 PM, Keith Schreiber via Alt-photo-process-list <
>> alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
>>> Hi Jason,
>>> I have no personal experience with Calotype, but I do have something
>> that may be of use to you. It is a 12 page booklet on Talbot's Calotype
>> process from the Fox Talbot Museum. I'll scan it to a pdf file in the next
>> day or 2 and send it to you.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Keith
>>> Keith Schreiber
>>> jkschreiber.com
>>>> On Jan 9, 2018, at 5:13 PM, J. Jason Lazarus via Alt-photo-process-list
>> <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
>>>> All -
>>>> I recently decided to start challenging myself by learning some new
>> processes. I've been lurking in the shadows of this group for some time and
>> have quite a bit of experience printing Cyanotypes, Albumen, Van Dyke,
>> etc... so my new challenge is the Calotype process.
>>>> I'm using the 3rd edition of James' book as a resource for printing and
>> I'm using the "contemporary" version of the process outlined in his book,
>> but I'm not getting results. I've had suggestions elsewhere that have urged
>> me to attempt the Pelegry Calotype method rather than the basic one
>> outlined in James' book, but I'd rather not give up so easily. I'm
>> convinced I'm overlooking something, but after several attempts, I'm
>> seeking out advice from the hive mind here.
>>>> Consistently, no image forms on my paper when developed. The paper
>> develops and slowly turns dark brown, but no actual image develops. I'd
>> immediately blame overexposure, but I've developed non-sensitized iodized
>> calotype paper and had similar things happen in the developer, albeit with
>> lighter browns, but still, it acts as if this non-sensitized iodized paper
>> is exposed. Worried that it's overexposure from the safe lights, I've
>> reduced my safelight usage to absolute minimum and reduced the number used
>> to a single one, approximately 10 feet away from the paper. My only
>> thoughts are that I'm either doing something completely wrong or maybe I'm
>> misreading something.
>>>> So.. although provided in much finer detail in James' book, this is
>> what I'm doing:
>>>> Created a 8% Silver Nitrate solution. Applied it to the paper (I've
>> attempted both Rives BFK and Canson Sketch) with a new brush.
>>>> Created a 5.5% solution of Potassium Iodide to submerge the paper in.
>> Submerged paper while still showing a sheen from the Silver Nitrate for 2
>> minutes.
>>>> Washed the iodized paper for 2 hours, switching out tap water every
>> 30-45 minutes and shuffling the paper, too.  Line dried the paper
>> afterwards.
>>>> Coated the paper with an Aceto-Nitrate solution (11.4g Silver Nitrate
>> in 100ml distilled w/ 19.4ml of glacial acetic added) - 4 drops to every
>> 4ml of distilled.
>>>> Exposed (while damp but not wet) for both 2 & 4 minutes w/ a 4x5 camera
>> at an aperture of 9.  An exposure of f/5.6 at 1 minute was suggested in the
>> book in well-lit outdoors. It is -15F outside, so I'm shooting through my
>> bay window.
>>>> Developed in a 1:1 solution of Aceto-Nitrate and saturated Gallic Acid
>> (approximately 0.5% - its cold in my darkroom).
>>>> The paper slowly turns brown and then, within 4-5 minutes, is a rich
>> dark brown.  Because it shows literally no image information, I haven't
>> continued with the washing or fixing.
>>>> So... where am I messing up? I'd greatly appreciate any help I could
>> get with this process. Has anyone had success with James' contemporary
>> version? Its been suggested that I should switch to Alan Green's Primitive
>> Photography book. Thoughts?
>>>> Thanks to all.
>>>> J. Jason Lazarus
>>>> Term Instructor, Photography
>>>> University of Alaska Fairbanks
>>>> https://nam03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=
>> www.obscura-works.com&data=02%7C01%7C%7Cd6b855d7d9684ad879ab08d557c7b43b%
>> 7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636511437583394905&sdata=
>> 0Z2XV2%2Fh7l5fWaXOuqZ249OOYOYcUavjdjxoBsC2Gew%3D&reserved=0
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