Category Archives: liquid emulsion

this category is a general category connected with making and using liquid emulsions.

back to the 1920s

ive traced my roots in photography, to the 1920s i think. my values seem to revolve around people like the dadaists and rusian constructavists and surrealists more than

the new traditionalists of today. while some of my contemporaries seek untouched lands they can transform into an emotion filled black and white or color terrestrial view, or a portrait that shows honesty, i have veered left into what has been a fun ride.

while i enjoy looking at terrestrial views and i love making portraits lately, at least i have found a new interest in sketching ( doodling? ) on paper and transfering that drawing onto hand made photo paper.

the drawing is made on regular old thin xerox/copy paper, and waxed with paraffin to make semi translucent. the receiver paper is made with an under coat of hand made emulsion ( see previous posts ) and a top coat of foma liquid emulsion …  they are not developed out in the darkroom but left in the sun so the image on the paper burns itself into the photo paper

the dark image with white lines is then scanned and sometimes inverted, sometimes left as is, and color added to give the image dimension. in my days learning how to render and architectural drawing this would be like doing a sketch and adding watercolor to the top.

 

enough talking about it …

here is one i did recently  ..  another is being exposed as i type this ..

 

tinted in ps

sketched, waxed printed

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sun print

i realized last week the emulsion is sensitive enough to print through the photo paper if reversed.

UNwaxed paper negative

hand coated, printed through paper

 

this was printed in full sun for about 1 hour

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a few prints

this first prints were made by a digital overhead transparancy at my local copy shop
originally it was a digital files taken in a snow storm at a local park.  one was taken on jamestown island ( the windmill )
a few weeks ago.  all 3 of them were made using expired photo paper behind the digital negative and left in the sun by a window
for a few days.  i scanned the images and used levels a little bit as i do every scan

overhead transparancy

sun print blue removed

xerox negative

windmill on jamestown

conimicut

xerox machinenegative

i made a nice few images using the new emulsion made the other day

a few photograms

speed test

fast sun print took minutes!

speed test

sunprint

 

and a waxed negative

speed test

suprint made with waxed negative through the back of the paper

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chloro bromide emulsion #2

its been a while since i made the emulsion i wrote about here
but that isn’t to say it hasnt been on my mind since a year ago january.  i’ve  been distracted with life and trying to finish off all my film, and making more sun and retina
and cyanotype prints.  but this morning i decided to make some more go-juice.

i dont’ really have a recipe that  belongs to someone else i follow but i mix and match hoping it will work,  this time around here is what i am doing:

 

120cc water
4g iodized salt
12g potassium bromide
1cc of watered down D72 !
20g hard bloom gelatin

( my last batch was knox gelatin, it worked OK for a little while but eventually the gelatin broke down and made a mess )

i heated up the water and added and stirred all the ingredients so they are mixed and dissolved well.  the water i put in a cheap metal pot
and i heated it up on the single burner i use to roast my coffee.  when everything got dissolved and well mixed i took the salted gelatin out of the pot
it’s now sitting on the enlarger table.  i’ll go back down in a little bit and re-heat it to liquid again as i mix the silver nitrate and water together.

next is the silver nitrate i put on an apron, gloves and EYE GOGGLES and measured 32g silver nitrate and 120cc warm water.
and mixed this until it was completely dissolved.

with the safelight on and the salted gelatin warm i stirred like mad and slowly mixed the silver nitrate into the gelatin.
eyesight is nothing to play with, and silver nitrate will blind you without a second thought.  always use eye protection !

anyways i dribbled and mixed the silver nitrate in there and the whole mixture turned white.
i’ll use this as a paper emulsion, so i won’t bother to wash it.  i put the ball jar into a locking air tight container
and then in a black paper bag and stuck it in the refrigerator to set.

i have no clue if it will work or not, i’m looking forward to finding out soon !

in a few days i will coat some paper and expose it and post my results

 

OK it is the next day and i really couldn’t help myself …

the emulsion was put in one of those hinged jars that have a rubber seal, like the stuff you might
have on your counter with coffee beans or sugar or whatever ..  the bell jar was inside that ..  the whole thing in
a black bag photo paper usually comes in when it is in the box ..  i didn’t really trust that the jar i put it in was light proof
so i bagged it when i put it in the little fridge.

the moment of truth ..

i brought the jar to the red room and opened it, and it set ( WHEW ! ) i always worry i didn’t put enough gelatin in there
and it would be a watery mess.  it was emulsion alright

i scooped a little out and warmed / melted it and painted it onto some card stock.

its drying now …  but when its dry i will rip it in half and hide half of it.  i’ll put something on the card and turn the lights on
and make a photogram in some dektol and see if this stuff works.  after that i will put s cut piece in my K1000 and make a test strip to determine
exposure times and iso’s.  and easy way i usually do is f 11, block the lens off and make a series of 1 second exposures. and develop the strip to see what happens.

 

OK …

well i realized the watered down 1cc ( if that ) of liquid i added at the end was dektol, not hypo
i hate amber bottles !

i did my first 2 tests and coated some more paper.

the photogram i made i counted to 6 with the room light on and it made a killer photogram.
i handheld a slip inside a camera f2 $ 15 seconds and it looks to be about right.

they are still washing and more paper is drying so i can’t really say for sure what everything is.
i know if in the camera ends up being too tedious i make enough photograms and sun prints it won’t be an issue using this home brew emulsion

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cyclone negative cyanotype

a couple of days ago i was making some more cyanotypes i loaded up some contact frames with waxed negatives to see if i could get a better print than i did with my old coated paper some of those prints just didnt’ work out ..  and at the same time i found an old hand coated paper negative made with the cyclone #3 a while ago, that was just sitting on the tabletop.  i had cleaned up quite a bit a week or 2 ago:  i swept the floor;  i organized;  i put things away;  i stacked things;  i found things i hadn’t seen in a while.  the paper negative was a rediscovery, even though it wasn’t really lost.  it seems like it was coated on xerox paper, it is thin and durable.  not sure what emulsion is on it, maybe foma?  maybe my home-brew, not sure.  it has a nice contrast and look and i stuck it in the contact frame.  the waxed negatives took a ton of time before to expose, so i was banking on a day or 2 in the sun for all 3 of the cyanotypes.  it was a lot more diffuclt in late october because the sun is low, and it moves across the sky differently than before, so i had to really follow the sun around with the print frames. i did OK i suppose, but i was more in open shade than i was in the sun, and that is OK too.  the print is made from the same classic formula i coated the others with.  and after 2 days in the sun i washed it in water and added a little hydrogen peroxide to finish the development, and eventually i painted some areas of the print with dilute washing soda to give a yellowish hue to some areas. anyhow, its the kitchen table and window and chairs. not sure if i am going to add my own colors or leave it, the blue tones of cyanotypes are starting to grow on me.

 

classic, and blue

window table and chairs
classic cyanotype H2O2 to develop out faster as i always do, and a little washing soda to bleach and ad color

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the honey jar

there is a bee keeper on the other side of town i like to buy honey from.  i usually drive down his drivewaywhich looks like it isn’t really there from the head of the street, but you just make a left and follow the dirt road.  you arrive and there are honey bees flying around doing their thing.  if i was my younger self i wouldn’t be very happy, i’ve been bitten by bees or yellow jackets and wasps and hornets when i was a kid, and i have a healthy misunderstood fear about honey bees.  they just do their thing, its the other “stuff” that want to sting you.  just yesterday i was talking with an old friend who told me about how he moved a school desk in his back yard and a cyclone of thousands of yellow jackets came out and chased him inside.  he’s the same guy who told me a story years ago, when i mentioned we had yellow jackets flying out of a hole in the ground, he told me about hiking in california or someplace and stopping at an overlook of some sort and he heard the hum of high tension wires / electricity.  he looked around and there were no power lines but he noticed yellow jackets coming out of the ground.  he was standing on a giant hive …  he kind of kept walking and didn’t look back.

anyways, the bee keeper …

i’ve gone there a few times and told friends and family about him.  he goes by the name papa roger in case you want some, or want to buy some bees or bee keeping supplies https://sites.google.com/site/paparogersfarm/contact the first batch of honey i got from him was in a big quart jar, and it was black as tar, and amazing.  the 2nd batches were in smaller jars and the usual amber color.  we’re out now and i have to bring my jars back to papa roger to be re-filled with his local honey.  some say that consuming honey is good if you have allergies to pollen, hay fever &c.  im not sure if it is true, or not, i just like his honey.

this is one of the jars. i made some cyanotypes from it.  i used fresh mixed cyanotype emulsion, the “classic” recipe there are as many recipes for making classic cyanotypes as there are people who make them

the one i used:

50 g. Ferric Ammonium Citrate (8 oz. H2O)

Part B 35 g. Potassium Ferricyanide ( 8oz. H2O)

the blues are deep and dark and beautiful.  the cyanotypes i had been making the last few weeks were made with pre-coated paper from 7+ months ago, i could see the difference immediately the fresh coated, fresh made paper is more sensitive to light, and depending on the batch i used the blue can be more intense.  the contrast is really high so i have decided to use the sun in open shade if i can for at least part of the exposure and direct sun for part of the exposure, it gives a fuller image. anyways here are 3 honey jars

3 jars

hydrogen peroxide added to wash water, then a tiny bit of washing soda.

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recent cyanotypes

just made a handful of cyanotypes lately using paper coated and left in a light safe in a humid basement for the last 7 or 8 months.  the paper was not the best but it worked (sort of) made some photograms ( some i watercolored ) i made a contact print with a waxed rubbing and tinted it in photoshop and i also converted some digital images into black and white negatives on xerox paper and waxed and printed them.

i have some more negatives to print and cyanotype paper to use up before i mix new.

 

rubbing waxed negative

rubbing waxed negative

4 screwdrivers

photogram, watercolors

3 nails

photogram, watercolors

semicircle of stuff

photogram, watercolors

truck

waxed paper negative

vezelay

waxed paper negative

metal wire brush

photogram, watercolors

 

 

 

 

as usual most of my work is on imagekind ( jnanian.imagekind.com )  feel free to browse.  through the end of september

i will be donating a portion of every purchase ( 70% ) to relief efforts in louisana.

 

 

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photo illustration sort of, PS colored photo reconstruction

a while back i made some paper negative from hand made emulsion the negatives were more like a collage of things, images, textures, brush strokes. i decided to scan big and crop small and the image i retrieved from the paper was a sweet photograph of trees and a fencepost, but it always seemed to be missing something whenever i looked at it.  i put it aside for a good 6 months and looked at it a little bit more once i had distance from it

 

railing and trees

railing and trees

 

the other day i spent a handful of hours working on it.

i enlarged the canvas, i added colors ( which was i originally had hoped to do )

anyways, i worked and worked added, and subtracted and came up with this

 

 

cyclone

reworked image

it took hours, and it really still isn’t completely done, but it was fun making something that never really existed.

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double coating paper

i dug into a 1 kg jar of foma emulsion the other day.  i know i can make my own but i have this still on hand so i might as well just use it until i run out.  coating paper and glass and metal with it will be great practice for when i don’t want to waste stuff i spend time making on my own.  so i took a few of the large sheets of xerox paper i had already coated.  i took 1 of them and with the lights on i exposed it in developer to show how poorly i coat.  it wasn’t that poor, it just wasn’t very good,  no it was pretty bad … it was  a lot of grey, only 1 area of black.  i’ve been coating things for years and this is the first time i did this …  that’s ok.  im a noob, even after 30 years.  i used a coating rod the last time, and a brush, but still things weren’t as good as i had hoped.  with denise ross’s book in hand, or at least in my mind
( if you haven’t gotten her blurb book and you like coating things, and making things, it is worth every penny you pay for it:  http://www.blurb.com/b/6465389-the-light-farm  ..)  i never thought about paper grain ( now i do )  i never thought about wet coating ( now i do ).

i took the remaining 2 sheets of paper and cut them into 4×5 pieces and soaked them in cold water.  this isn’t really what denise did in the book but that’s ok.  it is easy to tell which side is emulsion and which isn’t ( the emulsion side is slippery ).  i took my squeegee and removed the water from the prints 1 at a time and with warm emulsion i re-coated each piece of paper.  i looked at each piece in the safelight and they looked coated ( i guess they always do )  but coating 4×5 pieces was always easy for me, so my fingers are crossed that the 2nd emulsion layer took.  i’ve coated cyanotypes 2x, and other stuff 2x but never wet.  i’m hoping denise’s invention and my twisting it for my own needs took.

i also took some sheets of regular paper and coated that stuff too.  1 sheet folds and cuts into 18 4x5s.  i’m still trying to figure out what it is.  i did a little research and it seems to be “virgin” butcher paper.  uline sells it cut into the same size sheets or on a big roll.  alex art supply also sells something similar to it.  in both cases it isn’t the same weight (thickness) but it seems similar enough that when i runout at least i will have something to buy.  smooth finish paper i like best for coating.  nyways, i cut 1 sheet up soaked and squeegeed it and coated 14 pieces.  they are hanging on the line.

 

 

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hand coating xerox paper

i’ve been experimenting a little with hand coating a variety of different papers.  i have a stack of paper i was given 20 years ago that is slowly being  eaten away and i know i will need to find another something to coat.  i brought the paper to my print shop and local art stores ( locally we have a jerry’s artarama, dick blick and the risd store ).  no one could really tell me what it was but someone told me it seemed like butcher paper.  i looked around for a source and found a few places, i could get it on a big roll or separate 1/2 sheets.  uline has both sheets and rolls, alex art supply too.  its “virgin paper” so it doesn’t have the wax coating on it.  my local restaurant supply stores also have it too, in a big roll.  none of it was the same feel ( i got samples ) as the paper i have been using, but at least now i have a few leads.

a while back i bought a reem of 14×17 xerox paper that was acid free ( i am told it is ALL acid free ) .  i originally was using it to do rubbings which were waxed to print as silver prints or iron ones (cyanotypes) and it worked great, so i figured i would see how it held up with stuff coated on it.  i have a bunch of cyanotype emulsion coated on it, but haven’t exposed it yet, and i am wondering if i should bother.  i also coated 1 sheet with foma liquid emulsion and exposed it and just finished processing the negatives.  i love how smooth paper looks with emulsions on it.  most of the negatives look good but it came with a price.

the paper is VERY thin.  if azo or single weight printers think single weight paper is thin, they have never used xerox paper or thin japanese paper ( i’ll be using some of that next ).  a couple of pieces tore a little bit.  it wasn’t, too bad, maybe it was maybe because i am clumsy with rubber examination gloves on ( i hate using them ),  but it is something i worry about a little bit.  thin paper is weak when it is wet.

i also have a bunch of things i coated lately that i will be exposing and printing on.  i have some photo grade gelatin purchased from artcraft ( THEY ARE GREAT ! ) for my self made emulsion projects as i plug along.

so, this long ramble to say:  if you use xerox paper, be careful, its nice but it might be more trouble than it is worth.

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a few photograms, with hand made emulsion

i love making photograms.  they only take a second, and they are a blast.

 

bulbs

inverted photogram
onion bulbs

 

spoon

hand made inverted photogram

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for some things, thin paper seems best

its been a week or two since i mixed up the emulsion,and started playing with it.  i’ve come to the conclusion that this emulsion works likes thin smooth paper like the butcher paper that i use thick velum paper i sometimes use for bottled emulsion paper negatives and cyanotypes don’t really provide a good negative for me with this emulsion, maybe it is because i don’t use photo grade gelatin, maybe its because i didn’t coat the paper with gelatin first like a sub layer so the emulsion sits too far in the paper, i’m not sure what it is, but the next coating sesison i do, i will coat more thin paper.  i do have some thicker sheets coated, i actually double coated everything to give me better contrast.  i get OK contrast but some of the images just don’t work well.  i have some that worked well, but my success rate is not very high with thick paper.

ive been doing small test sheets, in a 35mm camera to get an idea of iso, and how the images look.  the emulsion is starting to get white and black speckles in it  so i have to use it up before it goes bad, and then i will probably use up my bottled stash and make some more fresh emulsion soon after.

a few photographs from my efforts

 

delmar

tree in the wind, 25 seconds

crop

4×5 thick paper negative

same emulsion long exposure. the emulsion loves sunny windows

same emulsion long exposure. the emulsion loves sunny windows

trees and umbrella crop from a larger negative

trees and umbrella crop from a larger negative

80+ seconds hand held 35mm test frame

80+ seconds hand held
35mm test frame

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a few more paper negatives

as i wait for single coated paper to flatten out so i can coat them a 2nd time  i have a few paper negatives exposed the last few days in a cyclone, and processed yesterday.

i scanned 8 and have worked on a few ..  i added color sometimes, or not they lean off center.

paper negative

paper negative

railing and trees

railing and trees

Also posted in alternative process photography, using vintage equipment Tagged , , , |

a few paper negatives from yesterday’s emulsion

here are a few paper negatives from the emulsion i made yesterday the exposures were long (gloomy day to begin with)  i exposed a handful of 35mm paper negatives, and a few bigger ones.  i was excited that it even worked seeing this is really my first time.

paper278

paper276

paper277

Also posted in alternative process photography

noodling and washing

well mixing the ingredients was easy, letting it setup in a sealed jar was easy .. getting it out of the ball jar was easy … “noodling” and washing the emulsion was not to hard, definately not as easy as weighing and stirring and incorporating.

so, i cut and pulled and scraped the now hard/jelly emulsion out of the ball jar and i have my ricer ready, i have my cheese cloth ready and my wide mouthed plastic receptical ready …

in the ricer it goes, down the handle goes …
the emulsion squirted out teh sides and bottom like it was supposed to do sometimes going in the cheese cloth, sometimes not. i eventually moved the cheese cloth so like the emulsion it all went into the plastic beaker. then i cleaned up the messy bits off the cloth and put it into the beaker. i also scooped the stuff that missed altogether and got rid of it ( trash ) and filled the beaker with water. i let the emulsion sit then i poured off the water, then filled it again, 3 more times.  after the 2nd time i put the emulsion into the ball jar again and got another piece of cheese cloth adn made a screen to drain most of the water out.  and then i melted it down again …
i put it into a black tube ( light and airtight ) and back into the clasp jar and onto the floor. i poured off a little emulsion first to do a test print with it, or to see if my efforts were worth it at all. maybe they will be, maybe it will be a bust i don’t know.

i took a foamy paint brush and painted a piece of paper i had lying around with some of the new white emulsion.  i washed and cleaned my jars and beakers and spoons and knives and ricer and put them someplace safe for the next time.  when the emulsion dries i will make a lumen print and see how long it takes to turn and a photogram in the darkroom … and when my little jar of emulsion is gone,  i am certain i will make some more.

 

a BIG thanks to kevin klein, chris patten and denise ross for making it so easy for anyone to follow simple instructions and have fun like this.

Also posted in alternative process photography