Day 9 – Into Vandyke Brown – Tashi Norden

Printed with the appropriate negative, vandyke has the tonal range of platinum or palladium. All three of these processes have, within their characteristic curves ,extensive straight-line segments along which there is reciprocity of response in image tone to unit of light. A self-masking characteristic of vandyke (along with platinum and palladium) allows a long exposure of dense highlights without the loss of shadow detail that occurs with silver prints. Such a true positive from a negative is possible because vandyke prints out somewhat during exposure instead of only during development: shadow areas turn a reddish brown which acts locally as a filter or mask to prevent further exposure. Although cyanotypes also print out (much more, actually) during exposure, the purple-blue-gray- green colors they turn do not hold back actinic light and shadows do block up.

Although much of the vandyke image is formed of silver, this process is in the iron print category along with cyanotype, platinum and palladium. In all of these processes, iron salt in a ferric state is reduced where it is struck by actinic light to become ferrous. In a vandyke brown print, silver nitrate lying in contact with the newly ferrous iron is reduced to visible metal during development in a weak fixer.

The first exposure did not yield a proper tone, which had been exposed for ten minutes. Posting the test prints below.

This my first vandyke friends, it seems i am close to nowhere.

The exposure was made for about ten minutes, although the image did render but with a very low contrast, and with time it started to fade away. Also one needs to know, that the negative you print, better have dense highlights and also details in the shadow, to get a rich details in the render.

Soon after, went for my second attempt. This time with a denser negative and also increased my exposure time, to twenty minutes. The results are much better, with two stark different shades of brown. Below is the image.

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