U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: How many gum layers (Re: ferri sesquichlorati)

Re: How many gum layers (Re: ferri sesquichlorati)

On Tue, 24 Oct 2006, Katharine Thayer wrote:
.... As I said, so far the only example of a one-coat gum I've seen that seemed to live up to that ideal was Marek's back-printed flowers; nothing else has come close. So, until someone shows me something more interesting, I'll continue to say that the only way to do that is with multiple printing.
In my experience multiple coats are often as not *easier*, and even irresistible, but there are other ways to skin the cat (if I may say so
without freaking out PETA) and get some great effects.

For instance, Demachy did very satisfying one-coat gums (or they look that way in repro and I'm told by folks who've seen originals that they're gorgeous) by modulating development. He'd print with good darks, but little midtone separation, then ease in the separation with drips from a sponge, as he described in one of his treatises, I forget which, but it was illustrated with a hand holding the sponge.

And, if I can say this without being trashed for "anti-platinum" attitude, or even if I can't, I feel there's some kind of infection spread from those necessities, leading, especially those about to try gum de novo to think they have to nail down the "best," the necessary, the correct, the optimum, the theory, the one certain precise exact ordained order and total comprehension before sticking a toe in the water. That, my dears, is actually a grind -- and charming as they may be, do you want your gum to look like it was made by, say, Katharine, or Chris, or Keith, or even me? AFAIK, each of them & whoever else has found their own way or "touch", like (excuse-the-expression) painting. Not to mention that what maybe Chris absolutely swears happens, I swear I never saw ! Should a beginner have to deal with that?

I stumbled into color seps before I knew what a "curve" was or had the means to make one, scanning a color slide in a slide scanner and printing the separations on b&w laser printer, or (an eon ago) exposing onto direct duplicating film. My problem with those prints was (I thought) they looked too much like C-prints. (Heh heh !)

But instead of the curves that lay ahead, I used different concentrations of each process color as required, & labelled them Q-1, or 2, or 3, sometimes up to 5 (the Q was for quinacridone, but the cyan would also vary -- yellow was often the same). It worked -- and in some ways easier than "curving." And to folks who don't have the means to "curve" or the will -- try it. Or curve AND change the mixes. If we want a perfect predictable "previsualized" and /or "realistic" print -- why gum? Perfect can be convenient, but can get the upper hand (funny expression -- where is the upper hand?).