Day 6 – Tashi Norden

Presentation time. Like I mentioned earlier, we had to make ready a presentation for our specific processes. Gathered, researched, read, downloaded and all. Started off with Uzma with her cyanotypes, followed by me and then Tanima on her gum-bichromates and Poorna with his daguerrotypes.

Interesting to know how photography reacts and renders differently with changing chemicals. I mean, I am a person who has never had analogue or dark-room experiences, and since digital is so swift I somehow misjudged the potential of manual prints. After almost one and a half year or so and after reading materials on the ancient techniques, today I realize the true capacity of image making. I am really thankful to GOA-CAP for supporting and providing such platform to artists who wants to explore.

Below is a little snippet of my presentation.

In 1842, Sir John Herschel formulated the Argentotype wherein Van Dyke Brown, Kallitype and Sepia prints have been many derivatives of his invention. It was then explored by William Henry Fox Talbot.

This process provides an image in rich browns that record every shade of of density within a light-resist. But it can also deliver a flat gray-brown print, mottled and disappointing, when used with a low contrast negative (or even a ‘normal’ negative) and/or improperly handled.

The formula for making one quart of Vandyke brown solution is:

Silver nitrate

Ferric ammonium citrate

Tartaric acid

Pour each of the three chemicals into 3 separate labeled containers each containing 8 ounces (236 ml) of distilled water. It is also  important with vandyke than with cyanotype or gum bichromate solutions that distilled water be used since the chlorine in tap water can react with the silver nitrate. Stir each chemical into its 8 ounces of water with a clean glass rod or plastic utensil. Pour the ferric ammonium citrate and tartaric acid solutions together into a quart measuring pitcher reserved for vandyke only. Wearing gloves and protecting your eyes with glasses or goggles, slowly add the silver nitrate solution to the pitcher while stirring. Add enough distilled water to make up 32 ounces of solution. This solution, stored and labeled in brown bottles or dispensers covered in black tape, has a shelf life of 6 months to a year or more, probably depending on storage conditions — a cool, dark storage area is best. After about a year the solution may no longer be able to produce rich continuous tone but still can be used for graphic high-contrast images. Eventually, most of the transparent silver salts will precipitate to the bottom of the bottle in gray flakes and chunks of metallic silver and your print will consist mostly of ferrous ammonium citrate, i.e. rust.

Tomorrow is time for pin-hole camera.

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