[alt-photo] Re: casein

Christina Anderson zphoto at montana.net
Sat Feb 26 16:56:42 GMT 2011

Yay, Keith,
Glad I brought the subject up.
This gets even weirder. I went through all notes last night that I had copied from Enos' file, and one of them in there uses straight powdered milk mixed with dichromate and pigment. NO curdling! Another must try. However, I have grading to do before I can play in the dimroom...
I also was able to find two names of originators--Emil Buhler 1905 and some snarky person said it was already discovered in 1870s by Johnson. If only I were at Eastman House...

Christina Z. Anderson

On Feb 26, 2011, at 9:50 AM, Keith Gerling wrote:

> Well, count me in a huge fan of casein.  I did my first 3 coat gum on paper
> and it was hugely successful.  My previous attempts on treated wood panels
> were not at all indicative of true potential of this colloid.  It is very
> easy to work with and very forgiving.
> FWIW, I mixed up my casein from powder nine months ago and any trace of
> ammonia smell is masked by the medicinal aroma of the thymol preservative.
> On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 2:32 PM, Peter Blackburn <blackburnap at hotmail.com>wrote:
>> To Keith, Christina, and all,
>> One advantage to FRESH casein is that (at least in the method I use to make
>> it) when ready to use, it has no odor—just what I would call a "fresh"
>> smell. The odor comes later when processing in water. At first, I will get a
>> mild whiff of "dirty diaper" smell—but it doesn’t last long.
>> Last but not least, in my opinion, casein as a process is more forgiving
>> and has more latitude than gum. For example, while a print or two is outside
>> exposing in the sun, I am usually preparing other prints inside or getting
>> the water bath ready. Sometimes the phone will ring or my daughter will
>> interrupt me and I will not hear the timer go off. While I'm on the phone or
>> off in another world, my print(s) are quietly, merrily overexposing. No
>> worries. Most of the time, the print(s) will still process fine—albeit a
>> longer soak time, or some help from a dilute ammonia bath, but I can get
>> away with much more inattention with casein than gum. That's why I compare
>> gum to classical music and casein to rock n' roll.
>> I do plan to either write of my working methods on
>> alternativephotography.com or through some other means. For what it's
>> worth, I did not find dried casein suitable in my approach to printing which
>> is bold, snappy, and saturated imagery. The characteristics, especially in
>> pH and viscosity, are different.
>> I hope that helps.
>> Peter
>>> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 12:47:39 -0600
>>> From: keith.gerling at gmail.com
>>> To: alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org
>>> Subject: [alt-photo] Re: casein
>>> Hi Peter,
>>> Thanks for the info. Whenever you have more time, I would greatly
>>> appreciate more of your thoughts regarding the advantages of casein. I
>>> would love to hear about the advantages of fresh casein, as well.
>>> Christina, I cut the exposure to half that of gum, and it was PERFECT.
>>> Actually, not a bad print. I think I'll print another coat later and post
>>> the results.
>>> Keith
>>> On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 11:55 AM, Peter Blackburn
>>> <blackburnap at hotmail.com>wrote:
>>>> Hi Christina and all:
>>>> Yes, I do casein quite a bit—much of the time, fact and LOVE IT. It has
>>>> quite a few advantages over gum with shorter printing times being one.
>> And
>>>> since I use the sun, I can work in casein on somewhat cloudy days—days
>> which
>>>> would create havoc with gum. It can be blotted dry after processing
>> with a
>>>> towel unlike gum which would smear or worse! My casein is pure white
>> which
>>>> makes it a bit easier to see and evaluate hue and density during the
>> mixing
>>>> stage. Casein is a little more fluid allowing for the use of brushes
>> usually
>>>> reserved for inks and dyes. There are a few more advantages which would
>> take
>>>> a bit of time to explain. Yes, casein is quite underrated in my
>> opinion.
>>>> Casein had been used in primitive painting in ages past. Why gum had
>> about a
>>>> fifty-year head start over casein for dichromate printing is a mystery
>> to
>>>> me. However, I make my casein fresh directly from cheese which I think
>> makes
>>>> ALL the difference in the world. Someday I will get this down in
>>>> publication.
>>>> Hope you are doing well, Christina, in all of your extensive traveling
>> and
>>>> teaching. You seem quite busy these days.
>>>> Cheers to all!
>>>> Peter J. Blackburn
>>>>> From: zphoto at montana.net
>>>>> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 09:43:44 -0700
>>>>> To: alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org
>>>>> Subject: [alt-photo] Re: casein
>>>>> Keith!
>>>>> Thanks for the info!
>>>>> One casein printer said it was half the gum printing time...
>>>>> Christina Z. Anderson
>>>>> christinaZanderson.com
>>>>> On Feb 25, 2011, at 9:35 AM, Keith Gerling wrote:
>>>>>> I've used the Kremer product and it is cheap and easy. I have not
>> used
>>>> it a
>>>>>> LOT, because I really did not see much advantage of casein over
>> gum,
>>>> but
>>>>>> then I admit that I only used it on wood panels, so the "test" was
>>>> hardly
>>>>>> extensive. The results that I got were very interesting and I can
>>>> certainly
>>>>>> promise that I will get back to it in the future when it warms up
>> and I
>>>> can
>>>>>> haul my lazy self out to Menards for more wood. At the moment I am
>>>> printing
>>>>>> tons of cyanotypes on Masa. Casein on masa? That sounds like
>>>> frustration
>>>>>> in the making...
>>>>>> But while we are on the subject, maybe I can ask a couple of
>> questions
>>>> of
>>>>>> anybody that has worked with casein. I believe Loris mentioned that
>> the
>>>>>> exposure is less than with gum. Is that the case? How much less?
>>>> Loris??
>>>>>> Any comment? In my case, I cut the exposure back by 20% and the
>> prints
>>>>>> still needed some heavy brushing/rubbing/spraying to clear. The
>>>> emulsion
>>>>>> was rather opaque compared to gum, and the print was rather similar
>> to
>>>> a
>>>>>> temperaprint. Had the print been on paper, I doubt it would have
>>>> survived.
>>>>>> So maybe i need to cut the exposure waaaaay back.
>>>>>> On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 10:11 AM, Christina Anderson <
>>>> zphoto at montana.net>wrote:
>>>>>>> Yup--did...Lukas seems to be one who has done the process
>> extensively,
>>>> and
>>>>>>> he was on the list if not still is.
>>>>>>> Chris
>>>>>>> Christina Z. Anderson
>>>>>>> christinaZanderson.com
>>>>>>> On Feb 25, 2011, at 9:05 AM, Paul Viapiano wrote:
>>>>>>>> Look at Lukas Werth's prints on Flickr...beautiful and lots of
>> them!
>>>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Christina Anderson" <
>>>>>>> zphoto at montana.net>
>>>>>>>> To: "Alt List" <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>
>>>>>>>> Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 7:48 AM
>>>>>>>> Subject: [alt-photo] casein
>>>>>>>>> (whoops, sent this with the wrong email so sending again)
>>>>>>>>> Good morning!
>>>>>>>>> So I'm on this casein hunt for one silly reason--I blame it on
>> Sam
>>>> Wang.
>>>>>>> Long ago I saw Sam Wang's caseins and thought them beautiful. Four
>> of
>>>> them
>>>>>>> are in his book, Sam Wang, Four Decades of Photographic
>> Explorations,
>>>>>>> another "must-buy" alt book for just the HUGE amount of alt work
>>>> documented
>>>>>>> within its pages. Sam's work is very poetic, subtle.
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