U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Re: separations for gum printing now curves

Re: Re: separations for gum printing now curves

Henry and Marek,

First Marek: if I read your post correctly, you USED to have problems with
an all over yellow cast but now that you use a very flattening curve AWAY
from the straight line, your prints are looking fine? Is that correct? OR,
are you saying that STILL yellow is doing this for you? I assume also you
are doing this curve on the negative, and the curve has the effect of making
a very dense and dull negative? Making sure we are speaking apples to

Henry, I agree. I wanted to get a handle on gum. That doesn't mean I am
"tight" in my practice now tho. Sort of like finding the rules and then
breaking them analogy. And celebrating the imperfections. One of my
favorite Katrina images was a mistake--I had exposed a too thick black layer
too short, and when I removed the print it all started running off in gritty
grain. I looked at it and freaked and quickly laid it flat, pulled out a
hair dryer and dried it so it wouldn't budge. That image is the starting
image in my By Gum article in the Oct. 22 BJP. The image is on my website
at the following URL, called Last Supper, the second one in. I can't tell
you how many times my "mistakes" have turned into my favorite prints. So
much for theory and perfection. All that dirt on the dishes etc. is actually gum grit.


But anyway, back to curves. I just counted how many curves I have in my
curve folder--107. A sign of a misspent youth? And that is after throwing
out all my Epson 2200 curves when my printer went bust!

I just went and looked at every yellow curve, and no matter what yellow
(cadmium, arylide, azo, nickel, etc.) the yellow curve is a different beast
and all are similar in shape, closer to the straight line but bowled out

Even when I took a digital step wedge and side by side cut and pasted 8 of
them with different curves, printed out one sheet of them, and exposed
yellow, magenta, and blue, yellow was different than magenta and thalo.
Magenta and thalo were similar enough to fudge. All inks.

It is hard to have this discussion when people are using different
calibration systems, different curve palettes (0-255, percentages, curving
the positive, using black ink in the mix, using no black ink in the mix,
using all inks in the mix), different workflows, etc., any one of these
being a way to explain away differences in findings. But the fact that it's
consistently the same in all my gum curves leads me to believe in **my**
practice that it is a fact **I** can rely on, and thus I share it with
others in hopes that we can build some sort of quantifiable knowledge.

But whether that is any help to anyone else, who knows? But that you,
Marek, struggle with yellow is no surprise as well, being the "outlier" of
the bunch by my way of thinking.

BTW, Marek, did I ever say on list that I never develop my yellows at night
because under tungsten most of my screwups come with not judging my
development time correctly with this color? The next day my print is
usually too yellow. I suppose this wouldn't matter if you had fluorescent


Christina Z. Anderson
----- Original Message ----- From: <henry.rattle@ntlworld.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 7:23 AM
Subject: Re: Re: separations for gum printing

Interesting to read the discussion on curves. My own engagement with the
PDN process was mostly motivated not by any desire for a photo-realistic
gum print, but rather a search for consistency in gum printing. I only get
print a few times a year, and I was fed up with reinventing the wheel or
making the same mistakes every time - so a process which pinned down
several variables while providing a lab-notebook reference for the future
what I needed to avoid quite so many discarded prints. For that it has
admirably. Now it's possible to experiment with pigments ("what would that
look like with venetian red, egyptian blue and yellow ochre?") with the
variables a bit more under control.

On the other hand, I don't think the term "photorealistic" really applies
to a
gum print in any case, even one with "ideal" pigments, curves, and the
works. A gum print is just a whole other kind of object.

best wishes