it is a long story but i will try to make it short …
we returned from the mountains a few days ago, and i went into the darkroom soon after we got home. i coated some paper with photo emulsion,
nothing i made myself, i haven’t done that since i was a university student, it was emulsion from a bottle. i coated 6 sheets of drawing paper some with emulsion that a scientist gave me, and some with some emulsion i had been saving, half used stored on a shelf for about 15 years. i rummaged through my paper safe for a piece of glass and i coated it with some of the 15 year old emulsion as well.
i filled a 5 quart container with hot water from the tap, and got a plastic beaker and filled that too. into the beaker the bottle went, and into the hot water the beaker went. i got the paper ready and looked at the glass. the glass was coated about 15 years ago, but i never did anything with it, so it just aged in the darkness of the paper safe waiting to be used. the scientist’s emulsion was liquid by now, or part liquid, so i poured some out on the paper, and dragged a glass rod over it, one way and then back again. the paper dried on the line. i did this 2 more times and then did the same thing with the 15year old bottle. while the papers hung to dry, i poured some of the emulsion into a wide jar that used to have cheese. it was runny cheese so i thought it would be perfect to put runny emulsion in, so i did.
i got the hake brush and coated the plate with the emulsion. two or three times until there was nothing left in the jar, and then i used the blow dryer and heated the glass. it was dark outside so i could leave without worry the light outside would fog my paper or glass.
a few days before i made some photograms. i used some outdated ( it really never is outdated ) azo paper, and materials i fashioned into small things and put it on the paper, and then a light. i put the papers in coffee developer, and watched the paper go from white to dark in about 4 minutes. they washed and dried overnight.
a day or two later i looked for something to print one of the photograms on, and i rummaged through the paper safe and found a piece of paper i had coated with emulsion maybe 15 years before, i had forgotten about it. the emulsion gets better with age so i printed the image onto it and it looked great. i took the newly made and dried paper and put it into the paper safe, i figured i wouldn’t forget it was there. and i took the glass and put it into an envelope and a box. i looked for a camera it would work with, but since the glass was about 4×6 it wasn’t going to be easy, i don’t have 4×6 cameras, only 4×5 … so i used a camera i made last fall. it is a 4×5 camera with a glass lens and hand made paper holders. i set the camera up, and focused. i took the glass out in the daylight and loaded it into the paper holder and left the camera open for 4 hours.
i took the glass out and brought it to the scanner to see what the camera had recorded. these sorts of images are singular. they can’t be fixed or developed, or they will vanish or turn black, and they can’t be printed because the intense light will turn them grey and dark, so
i scan them.