U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Bleach-development with gum

Re: Bleach-development with gum

  • To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
  • Subject: Re: Bleach-development with gum
  • From: Katharine Thayer <kthayer@pacifier.com>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 22:18:03 -0800
  • Comments: "alt-photo-process mailing list"
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  • Reply-to: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca

No, this isn't me, but it's interesting; you're the second person who has asked me that. This was a test shot for a portrait series I planned to do of a group of people who hung out at a coffeeshop in a fishing village near where I used to live. I used to hang out there myself on winter afternoons and work on jigsaw puzzles with a couple of boatwrights. I really liked the people who congregated there and wanted to capture them on film. I had hoped to complete the series this winter, but alas, it's not to be, as the coffeeshop has gone out of business. The picture is of the owner of the coffeeshop.

The picture you saw of me must have been this gum print I posted some years ago to illustrate some point or other, because I can't think of any pictures of me that have been published elsewhere. I took this while testing large format film and developers several years ago, and made gum prints of it for my kids. You've got a pretty good memory yourself...

On Nov 30, 2007, at 9:17 PM, Dave Soemarko wrote:


Is that a picture of you? I have seen your picture somewhere (I can't
remember when or where. It has been a few years). This pictures looks a
little familiar.


-----Original Message-----
From: Katharine Thayer [mailto:kthayer@pacifier.com]
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 11:56 PM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: Bleach-development with gum

This isn't working very well for me; I don't know why.     I've
posted a couple examples from  an afternoon's efforts.

The main dilemma seems to be that if I leave the print in the
bleach for longer periods of time (10-15 minutes)  I get
blotching and mottling of the image, (both with highly
pigmented and normally pigmented mixes of lamp black) but if
I soak it in the bleach for shorter periods of time (1-5
minutes) then development is too slow
for my patience.   Perhaps I've overexposed too much at 3x normal,
but I wouldn't have thought so.   The bleach I'm using is Western
Family brand; ingredients are listed only as Sodium
hypochlorite 6%, "Other ingredients" 94%.  I've used it
diluted at 15ml/liter of
water.   Gum coating mix is, as always, 1 unit gum/pigment: 1 unit
saturated ammonium dichromate.  Arches bright white paper,
sized with
gelatin/glyoxal.   I've included a normal print, for comparison.


On Nov 27, 2007, at 1:52 PM, Marek Matusz wrote:

Very interesting thread. I was in the Big Bend NP hiking and taking
pictures, happy without a computer or cel phone for a few

days. I only

got to read some of the emails now.
Here is my comment from the practical standpoint of a gum printer.
My one coat gum prints have eveloved to a practice that

gives maximum

darks and long (relative) tonal range of the final print (not to be
confused with long negative density range). Some of my prints were
included in the travelling portfolio last time around.
Here is a description of my pratice.
Coat the paper with gelatine / harden it.
FOr the gum layer I prefer highly pigmented carbon black.
Use longer exposure (3 to 5 times normal exposures). I

really have not

tried to push it even further.
Soak in water to remove dichromate.
Develop in a weak chlorox solution. My dilution is about 20

cc/ liter

of water. Could be as little as 10cc if I want slow action

or as much

as 40 to 50. Once the print starts bleeding the pigment I

place it in

water and watch for a few minutes following the development. If the
development is slow, dip back in chlorox for a few minutes.

The reason

for moving it back and forth is that the action of chlorox


for a few minutes and it is easy to just wash the gum layer
Actually I use this method a lot for my tricolor gum prints as well.

How close is that to direct carbon? I call it gum, but it

has all the

ingredients mentioned in this discussion, geletine, gum,

chlorox (or

Javelle water version) Marek

Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 07:58:31 -0700
From: zphoto@montana.net
Subject: Re: The Fresson/Arvel Process
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca

Thank you, Dave!

However, the only thing nice and generous about me is my butt

after sitting

on it all weekend, 24/7, taking notes out of the 300+ pages I

took digipix

of at Geo Eastman House. But it is DONE!!! One further milestone.

Snippet from an 1896 book I told you I'd share about a possible


formula; they were always trying to guess at it..Since Artigue

died with

his secrets and the Fresson family doesn't seem to be willing to


theirs, it is interesting to look at discoveries before the

Artigue paper

that might have been in the air. So this may be worthless but

what the


"1863 Mr. Blair of Bridgend took plain paper, coated it with

gelatine and

dried; then next coated with albumen mixed with a little syrup,

and dried.

Then floated on water and blotted and carbon powdered pigment was


onto the surface in a thin film on top of the albumen.

Sensitized by

floating on a solution of pot bi. He did not use gum on top of

the gelatin

because it did not take kindly to it and it was more apt to run


under the operation of the brush and leave small blank spaces,

and was also

tackier under moisture, and took up too much pigment." (not a

direct quote)

I think that electron microscopy nowadays says that gum IS in

Fresson paper

along with gelatin (at least, that is what I read in Chakalis'

patent) but

the way this paper is described in the text is even, translucent,


velvety like the Artigue. It seems that when a lower solution of

pot bi

(like 2-5%), warm or hot water development, sawdust, eau de

Javelle are

used, gelatin is in the paper. I marvel at their exposing the

direct carbon

paper for HOURS in the SUNLIGHT before developing it in Javelle.

BTW, any who may be confused about the differences between carbon


and direct carbon (not you Sandy, John, Art) of which we are

talking, carbon

printing is the term nowadays used to refer to a transfer process

where the

tissue of exposed gelatin is transferred to another piece of

paper, but back

in "the day" the term "carbon printing" referred to the

gum process

originally. Then the term was swiped in a drive-by for the carbon


process so towards the end of the century the term "direct

carbon" came into

use for both gum printing and such things as Arvel,

Artigue, etc.


even if carbon pigment wasn't used. So when researching I always

have to

xerox articles that talk about pigment printing, carbon printing,


carbon, bi-gum, gum-bichromate (that little hyphen becomes

important in

searches), etc. Direct carbon was not transferred to another

piece of paper

hence the operative word "direct".

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Soemarko" <fotodave@dsoemarko.us>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 6:26 AM
Subject: RE: The Fresson/Arvel Process

<< There are no immediate plans on my agenda to make the

process I use

available on the market. But like yourself I am willing to help

others to

experiment with the Direct Carbon system by pointing them

towards relevant

published information. >>

John and Chris,

Both of you are very nice!


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