Well Iíll add my two cents to this thread being the inventor and patent
holder for a direct carbon printing process.††
First, my interest in photography and specifically the Artigue/Fresson process
is driven by a love of photography as an art form along with the challenge
presented by a secret process which seems to defy accepted photographic principles
for carbon and/or gum printing.
I chose to patent my work for two reasons which are somewhat diametrically
opposed.† †On one hand I feel that if there is a
commercial application, I should at least have a chance at sharing in the
financial benefit generated by my inventions.†
†In addition, as opposed to keeping
it a trade secret, a patent documents the work which I believe over time will
have added a significant amount of information to the very limited body of
knowledge available on the Artigue and/or Fresson process.
To expand on the commercial side of things, I think the current market for either
a carbon transfer or direct carbon printing product is miniscule.† However, if we turn back the clock about 30
years, one could have made the same statement about platinum printing.† It is my understanding that Dick Sullivan
went ahead and began producing platinum printing materials at a time when a
market didnít exist and quite likely contributed a good deal of the impetus for
its successful revival.† Though carbon transfer
is not widely used today, Dickís current work to make carbon transfer products
available makes perfect sense in light of platinumís resurrection.†
As to direct carbon, we know that the Fresson family has successfully run a
commercial printing operation for over 100 years.† I digress but the familyís ability to
maintain their trade secret for this length of time is utterly amazing.† The reason the process is viable is best understood
by viewing a real Fresson print. †There
is no other type of printing process, thus far, that is capable of capturing
and reproducing its aesthetics faithfully.
You must admire the Fressonís commitment to photography, I just happen to
think it would be a good thing if the process were more widely available.† Following on that train of thought, the
information in my patent is real and the examples work.† My process was refined by reverse engineering
using the published and well documented Fresson print development method (this
had to be truthful as it was used by photographers like you and me in the era
when Fresson printing paper had been sold commercially).†† My hitting upon the key ingredients, a
mixture of gelatin and gum arabic, was a needle in a haystack discovery found
through countless experiments with a host of colloids.†† Long after being granted my patent, I was
bequeathed several samples of raw Fresson print paper circa 1950s and its analysis
confirmed the use of a like mixture of gelatin and gum arabic.† However, direct carbon is a very physical
process and the exact manner of coating plays heavily into the processís capability.†
In short, the Fresson secret has been pealed back
a bit but not completely.
On Mon, 14 Jan 2008 14:39:35 +0000, davidhatton wrote
I have absolutely no expertise in manufacturing anything (except children) but
what sort of strikes me is this. If there is no commercial value to the
manufacture of carbon paper etc..Why is everyone so secretive about the
On Jan 14 2008, John Grocott wrote:
>From my own practical experience the making off a successful Direct Carbon
paper is, by far, much less of a demanding project than making Carbon Transfer
Tissue. I feel that your beliefs are rather overestimating what, exactly, is
required to make a successful Direct Carbon paper. As you point out, your belief
is that Art Chakalis has ,
'' plenty of technical expertise'', in these matters and , after
all, he did buy a patent to prove it. To me, his images look pretty good
altho' I have only seen them on monitor screen.
I have never, as yet, even in his books, seen a reproduction of a Direct Carbon
Fresson print by Luis Nadeau. But the work of Jose Ortiz Echague is entirely
another matter. It would be difficult to disagree that there was something
viable going in that direction ?
I have made Carbon Transfer Tissue, myself, and so have had a fair chance of
comparing the effort and ''complications'' involved in producing
both types of carbon coated papers. The results I have satisfy my own desires
just as your work satisfies Dick and paying customers, your followers and
yourself . So, that's OK, isnt it ?
It is my belief that the actual formulae for ''Fresson Type''
Direct Carbon paper emulsions is what differs, drastically, from many of the
other D/C papers marketed around the end of the 19 C. Also, the bleach method of
development for Arvel Fresson paper was unique. This Arvel paper was made and
marketed for fifteen years prior to World War Two so that, I guess, was
finacially viable, over that period, for them.
There are a burgeoning number of photo artists making Gum prints because the
knowledge and materials are readily available. With potential Direct Carbon
printers it is another matter. The knowledge is missing and it is this
information that is really viable .
Whether Direct Carbon paper will ever be manufactured, again, commercially,
remains to be seen. Visualizing who would buy this proprietory product is not
Universities and art colleges/schools with photo faculties, photo printers
working for photographers in the field of fine art who have knowledge of both
digital and trad, basically. And, not forgetting the domestic hobbyist, to name
There is some financial potential in writing about how pointless it is to
consider the viability of making Direct Carbon paper.
''Use what you've got and use what you ain't got, too.''
( Seymour Krim .
'' Making It ! The Beat Scene'' 1 9 6 0 )
Best wishes in your endeavours.
John - Photographist - London - UK.
Sandy King wrote : -
I simply don't believe that making a good quality direct carbon paper
requires a great deal of technical expertise. Back in the early 20th century
there were literally dozens of such papers on the market, most made by fairly
low tech operations. Based on my own knowledge of the way some of these papers
were made the technical aspects don't appear any more complicated than
making a good quality carbon tissue for carbon transfer.
My own belief is that Dick Sullivan and a number of other people, including Luis
Nadeau and Art Chaklis, have plenty of technical expertise to produce such a
paper if they thought it would make money. The fact that it ain't happening
tells me all I need to know.
At 3:27 PM +0000 1/12/08, John Grocott wrote:
I feel sure that if Dick Sullivan had the know how and technical expertise to
make and market a Direct Carbon paper which would respond exactly as described
in many published accounts of the development procedure, including that which is
in Philippe's expensive book, Dick would risk investing in it.
But that is Dick's business, and as my Grandfather always said,
''Mind your own business and you will have a business to
The correspondence on this List, by now, must be reaching many thousands, if not
millions, of readers including educators, students, entrepreneurs, gallery
owners, museum curators, art photo investors, hobbyists, photo journalists and
technical authors and publishers, not to mention w/s organizers of photo
alternatives, so the potential money making aspect of such a highly secret
process seems to be quite viable.
John - Photographist - London - UK
WOW! Homepage (http://www.wowway.com)