U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Gum on masa, again

Re: Gum on masa, again

On Sun, 12 Oct 2008, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

Loris, even tho you are asking Keith, I'll add my two cents: I always develop my prints face up as well as face down because I usually do 6 12x16's (inches) at once and my bathtub only holds two side by side, so I have two face down, two face up, and two in large trays of water waiting for the bathtub, also face up (because water is too shallow in the tray to put face down and risk marring). I have never had staining issues this way, but then again, I do size. It's another one of those "depends on your practice" myths. But I figure a couple thousand gum prints should provide enough scientific evidence in my practice with sizing and glut to dispel this myth. Tho I am not using masa.

If you haven't run into glitches developing face up, you possibly live a charmed life (except for slippery darkroom floors -- and may the knee heal as fully & quickly as humanly possible) or you may have (wisely) avoided certain pitfalls:

Of course my developing sink has a two-bulb 8-foot long (total 150 watts) fluorescent light fixture over it -- about 6 or 7 feet up, but it can still add exposure to a print that hasn't had the dichromate washed out yet. (And without that light, it's very dark there in the middle of a long narrow row house). I realize fluorescent is (allegedly anyway -- I haven't done a comparison test) riskier than tungsten, but it's all I have & can get in that space. (In fact it's all I've ever had -- & I figure it saved some $30,000 in electricity bills in this lifetime, so I can afford... what? Pictorico? Or other.... (but I digress).

Another pitfall I've found is that if I get distracted, say a bomb (or a pair of cardinals -- birds, not ecclesiasts) lands in the yard, a crucial phone call (or very interesting one), or I become transfixed/preoccupied with another print, or negative, et al., so that face-up print floats on top of the water long enough to let even part of it dry out (as can happen especially during low-humidity steam-heat days) development will be ... uneven. This has also been the diagnosis at times when trouble-shooting student prints... a sort of blurry staining.

Of course if you're doing 6 at a time (holy moly !) some up, some down, you're going to be PAYING CAREFUL ATTENTION, but I mention this simply as caveat... it's not safe under any/all conditions.