U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | RE: "Dick Stevens' book."

RE: "Dick Stevens' book."

Title: RE: "Dick Stevens' book."
Dick Stevens' book came about because of the publish or perish situation of many university professors. Stevens was a professor at Notre Dame, where Sam Wang taught at the beginning of his career. So the book was organized from the perspective of someone in academia whose primary goal was to put a publication on the table that would be accepted by his peers and earn him promotion.

Some years ago I went through much of the literature on kallitype printing, devised my own way of working, and published an article on it at www. unblinkingeye. come. Early on that that article I wrote:  "One of the things that has turned people off on kallitype is its seeming complexity. Virtually every text on kallitype lists numerous developer formulas, each capable of providing a different color or tone, with an infinite number of variations in processing: time of development, time of clearing, strength and length of fixing, etc, which can be very confusing for the beginner. If you really want to know how complicated kallitype printing can become, have a look at Dick Stevens' book, Making Kallitypes: A Definitive Guide."

In my opinion most of the research done by Stevens, and his conclusions, is fundamentally sound. But I agree with Judy that the organization is lacking, and especially "if you think of the book as a guide to kallitype printing," which is its title and how Stevens himself saw its purpose.  One would find a very hard time taking this book and actually learning to make kallitype prints. You might be able to do it but the trail would take you through some pretty rough and wooded terrain that might juste as well be avoided.

Sandy King

At 9:37 AM -0500 3/21/07, Eric Neilsen wrote:
Judy, You did in fact raise this issue years back, but I fail to see how a
book that talks about in order; historical printing, contemporary printing,
ferric oxalate, optimizing the sensitizer, paper choice and coating,
exposing, developing, clearing & fixing, washing and toning, and then some
additional observations. What is out of order there?  It introduces you to
the process in both historical terms and then in today's practical terms
(1993). It then gives you information to make the solutions required to
print and helps with paper choice. It follows along the process from
beginning to end. There may be some statements that don't match your
experiences or may be fundamentally different from yours. I haven't read
through every page in many years so I can't speak to page to page errors,
but I think the basic work flow is fine.

And as Sandy pointed out, there is no comment to Sodium Citrate in the text.

There is reference to adding acid to keep the yellow stain at bay.


Eric Neilsen Photography
4101 Commerce Street
Suite 9
Dallas, TX 75226
Skype ejprinter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Judy Seigel [mailto:jseigel@panix.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:34 AM
> To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
> Subject: "Dick Stevens' book."
> On Tue, 20 Mar 2007, Sandy King wrote:
> > If the subject is kallitype you won't find anything in Dick Steven' book
> > about sodium citrate as a developer. He did his research quite a long
> time
> And just as well.  It so happened I was testing kallitype about the
> time Stevens' book surfaced,... and besides what my tests showed, his
> confusion, disorganization, errors and contradictions were such that I
> wouldn't trust that book if it told me the pope was catholic.
> Yes, it was a long time ago, so I don't recall many particulars, but among
> the unforgettable was his announcement that such and such condition or
> material would look blue if acid, and a few pages later, same thing would
> look red.
> If that were the only gross error (which it wasn't), still, the general
> cockamamie "organization" (or more precisely disorganization) was such
> that even without errors the presentation would cause brain damage.  And
> even without brain damage (say, the reader was wearing her teflon space
> helmet) the exercise would be counterproductive. Some folks, like Sandy,
> could take it in stride, probably ward it off on autopilot, but that
> doesn't mean it's OK to let loose on the general public.
> As I recall, BTW, I wrote this to the list about 10 years ago, in my
> youth, when I remembered more particulars -- tho OK, how about: the book
> opens with a long painstaking detailed chapter about a
> formula/method/technique at the end of which the author announced that the
> method wasn't any good so never mind.
> An "editor" with an IQ above minus 2 would have told him, if you feel the
> need to tell this story (padding? boasting?), that's an appendix, not an
> entire first chapter. Surely I'm not the only one with limited time and
> energy. That bogus first chapter was theft of both.
> etc.
> Judy