U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Jose Ortiz-Echague and Fresson

Re: Jose Ortiz-Echague and Fresson

Mind you, all these musings are from a Fresson-unknowledgeable person: Why do you think Nadeau bugged Echague and not Fressons for the machine/formula? And what is the URL for Dave Soemarko's Fresson example?

I think I ask these questions because I was intrigued--during my library project, a project that I THOUGHT would take a week and it is now stretching into three (do you know how much time it takes to individually page through 3700 books??!! But I'm down to 1800) I came across Fresson examples of Sheila Metzner and Debra Turbeville. I've always liked the grainy, almost autochrome quality of Metzner's work, but when I saw her book on landscapes I wasn't as impressed. Now, perhaps these were poor repros and the actual prints are huge and beautiful...but there was a sense I had of this:

If the prints looked like autochromes, and more than likely there is a combo of gelatin and gum in the mix (if you check Art Chakalis' patent this is so), why couldn't one just mimic the look of autochromes by doing tricolor sep diginegs, and use just gum and even grain the negs up in computer (gasp!)? Or add gelatin to the gum mix?

I say this, never having seen a tricolor Fresson in person...and never having mixed gelatin and gum as Art has done..but Echague in this article talks of the reason to use Fresson is it is more durable during development (presumably the gelatin helps that out), etc. etc.
----- Original Message ----- From: "John Grocott" <john.grocott403@ntlworld.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:48 AM
Subject: Re: Jose Ortiz-Echague and Fresson

How are you doing Art?
And Hi to the six hundred,
Yes, and then Luis Nadeau pursued Echague for many years, maybe ten, to persuade him to divulge the secret ''Fresson'' Direct Carbon formulae ( Carbondir), and Luis eventually purchased the machine and the formula from Echague which is languishing in store somewhere in Canada and is too complicated and messy to use viably. I presume Luis meant profitably. I also know Bill Foster, personally, who provided me with a drawing of the machine done by Echague's son, Edward. There are no definite instructions with this crude drawing and I feel, that laughably, it has little or nothing to do with, as Sandy suggests, the ''secret'' Fresson coating. Good old Hake brushes will fill the bill to coat the emulsions. Not a machine.
Regarding the Fresson family business, still running, I am prepared to respect their decision to keep their formulae under wraps. Even if I learned of their secret............what would I do with it? Sell it? Call it by another name?Write about it in my publication and sell that? If anyone has actually seen a Fresson print or a good repro they may understand why thousands of alternative and straight photographers, educators and entrepreneurs want to know. However, there are similar processes giving results which could be regarded as ''Fresson like'' in appearance. The one Dave Somarkoe currently has one the web is a good example, in my opinion. But I dont suppose Dave, like the Fressons, is prepared to let us into his secrets either. After all the many, many tests and trials needed to arrive at a workable formula such as this, neither would I, myself, be happy to give it away to others who might use it for personal gain with no financial credit to the originator.

What happened to your process , Art? Good luck, Dave! ! It seems you may have a lot of work, and responsibility to clients, ahead of you.
A very interesting and never ending discussion. It comes up every so often. BTW. Anyone concerned with more info on the Fresson mystery please see Judy Siegel's #9 issue of Post Factory Photography.

How many bucks is the secret process worth? The bidding starts at
one quarter of a million. Any advances?
Happy Summer days.
John - Photographist- London - UK.

----- Original Message ----- From: <achakali@wideopenwest.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 5:22 AM
Subject: Re: Jose Ortiz-Echague and Fresson

Based upon accounts from Bill Foster, who actually knew and photographed with
Echague, the machine and formula was purchased from the Fresson family.
Additionally, the "carbondir" was apparently a part of the agreement to not
use the Fresson name for the paper Echague produced.


On Tue, 22 May 2007 00:09:57 -0400, Sandy King wrote
There is also he possibility that money exchanged hands. I don't
know that for a fact, but Ortiz-Echague was definitely a person of means.

Sandy King

At 11:57 PM -0400 5/21/07, Sandy King wrote:
>Several reasons I can suggest.
>There may also be personal connections of which I am not aware. But
>here are some of the things that may have moved them.
>At the time Ortiz-Echague was one of the most famous photographers
>in Europe, and had been using the Fresson paper for almost 50 years.
>Perhaps they felt that they owed him the favor.
>And, he was one of the most powerful men in Spain and a person of
>great accomplishments outside of photography. He was one of the
>first pilots in the Spanish, rose to the rank of General in the
>Army, and served as President of both SEAT (a company that produced
>cars) and of another company that produced airplanes.
>Basically, I figure they came to the conclusion that their secrets
>were safe with him, given his age at the time and his status in
>Spanish society.
> At 9:41 PM -0600 5/21/07, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
>>When the Fresson family
>>ceased commercial distribution of the paper they
>>provided him with the technical knowledge to coat
>>his own paper, and he constructed a coating
>>machine and thereafter called his process
>>"carbondir" (carbon directo) so as not to offend
>>the Fressons.
>>Why would, do you think, the Fresson family share their secrets
>>with him and yet not with anyone else since then?
>>I notice they still do Sheila Metzner's work as well as Deborah

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