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Topic: The ORIGINAL photographic process, blended with the spice of Digital!  (Read 9293 times)
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I shoot people for a living. ;o)

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« on: July 01, 2009 09:47:03 AM »

Hello There!

I'm glad you're checking out this entry, because not only are you going to see something cool, you're going to learn something new!
For my first ever entry to a contest here, I decided to bring a revolution!! I created a digital negative in Photoshop to create a classical calotype on canvas! This is truly a project that gives props to old school! Wink he he.

My goal for this entry was to connect our past and our present in a crafty way.
But before I explain, I'll show you the finished piece for my entry.

This, my dear friends, is an actual calotype.
I exposed it on regular old canvas as a direct positive.
No ink jet. No paint. No glue.
This is serious chemical play my friends. Gloves and eye protection please! Smiley

The very FIRST negative to positive process was called the Calotype. So right here and now, I'm giving my credits to Fox Talbot, inventor. Even though he's dead, I'm sure he's thrilled. Cool

So how did I get a PHOTOGRAPHIC POSITIVE on canvas?? There is a knack to this.

(Close up sample)

If you want to know the technical version full of the chemical names and gobble-dee-gook, read below. Want just the how to? Skip this bit. Wink

"The sensitive element of a calotype is silver iodide. With exposure to light, silver iodide decomposes to silver leaving iodine as free element. Excess silver iodide is washed away after oxidizing the pure silver with a second application of gallo-nitrate. As silver oxide is black, the resulting image is visible. Potassium bromide then is used to stabilize the silver oxide.

The salted paper's sensitive element is silver chloride formed when the salt (sodium chloride) reacts with silver nitrate. Silver chloride decomposes when in contact with light forming silver and chlorine evaporates. Excess silver chloride is washed out of the paper and the silver oxidizes in contact with gallo-nitrate. The silver oxide is stabilized on the paper with hypo." (Taken from Alf B. Meier's publication Basic Photography)

The Steps I Took
So basically, In the dark, I brush the canvas with a Silver Nitrate and Water solution. Then I dry it, then lay it in a Potassium iodide solution for about 3 minutes. Then rinse and dry.

When you are ready to make a print, sensitize it using a solution of silver nitrate, water and acetic acid. And you also need another solution of water and gallic acid. They get mixed together at an equal ratio just before use of the canvas. I then brushed the solution on. Rinsed, and let it dry.

This is now a silver iodized canvas. In laymens, it's now sensitive to light. Smiley Neat eh?

Now, for how I melded this technology with the digital tools we're so fond of today. I created a negative in Photoshop from a digital photograph of mine, and printed it onto a clear sheet the same size as my canvas. To give it a bit of tongue-in-cheek, I made my negative a positive image, so that my positive came out negative! Wink

After I had made the canvas light sensitive, I laid my negative on top of it, clamped it, then set it under light to expose. I then went through the wash process and hung the canvas to dry overnight!

And there you have it, a modern negative used to make a classical print!

As a bonus, these are cyanotypes, the process is fairly similar, but creates a blue tone!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed the work, and you now feel smart about photography history, please vote for me! Cheesy
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009 09:49:04 PM by Retro_Rose » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2009 10:04:43 AM »

That is such a fantastic piece! And I love how you mixed old school developing with digital photography. The best of both worlds. Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2009 11:08:26 AM »

I love this.  I don't completely understand, but I love it.  Very nice work.  Thank you for sharing all the details. 
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2009 11:11:00 AM »

Anything I can clarify?

(PS, my name is Amy as well!)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009 11:55:12 AM by Retro_Rose » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2009 03:20:27 PM »

This is very cool and informative!

How long did you expose the digital negative to the silver nitrate canvas before you washed it?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2009 04:11:52 PM »

Beautiful!  I had no idea you could develop a picture onto canvas.  Excellent work!

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Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?

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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2009 07:36:09 PM »

What a wonderful idea! This is something I would love to try out one day... The finished project is just amazing!
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2009 08:51:48 PM »

that is the absolute bomb!!!!

« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2009 11:32:00 AM »

Love this!  I also do cyanotypes from diginegs!

Big collection of Kenmore presser feet to swap/trade/sell!!  Ruffler foot, etc.  Please PM for details!
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2009 06:19:53 PM »

thats really really really really cool.   I'm impressed.  Wanna swap?  LOL  I'd love one of these!!!!   they are amazing!

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