Beth (secret revealed)

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by Efergoh, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    I’ve held the process for this photograph close to the vest for a while now and I think it is time to let the cat out of the bag, and actually make a contribution to the world of photography…

    I dicovered this effect quite by accident. I was taking an alternative process class, and I had a stack of work prints that I was experimenting with in the darkroom. I was getting ready to begin work on the final project for the class. All of my film had been developed and I was ready to get started on the prints.

    I had a several baths of various chemical laying about and was running prints through different processes splashing here and splashing there and just seing what does what when mixed with this and that.

    This print as originally created was worefully under developed. The negative was fine, but I printed it the developer had been exhausted and came out a flat gray. The darkest tone in the print looked like an 18% gray card.

    Normally I would have tossed it in the trash, mixed up fresh developer and started again, but I kept it because I am a packrat.

    I dropped the print into a copper toner bath. I left it there for about 20 minutes but it just wouldn’t get dark enough to look like anything worthwhile. It was friggin pink. It looked like a pepto-bismol/easter egg nightmare.

    I figured it was a loss, so I pulled it out and was going to toss it in the trash. But before I did, I decided to drop it in a bath of exhausted lith developer just for ****s and grins and to see what it would do. The image disappeared almost immediately. I chuckedled to myself and said, “so thats what it does.”

    I walked away and moved on to something else, forgetting about the print (well, blank sheet of paper) in the lith developer. about 15 minutes later I walked by the lith bath again and noticed that the image was slowly returning. Lith printing is slow and infectious anyway, so I should have put two and two together.

    I dropped what I was working on and tended to the now reemerging image. 40 minutes later, this was the result. Because I left the print to sit unattended, the paper floated in the lith bath and redeveloped unevenly and created a pleasing effect.

    These tones are beautiful. I love these little accidents and am quite happy that I fell backward into it. This is still one of my favorite prints. It also helps that Beth is a knock out.
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Now that is pretty darn neat. I hope you don't mind if I keep a local copy for myself; I might try to recreate it later in Photoshop. If I do, I'll be sure to post it here too.
     
  3. Alerick

    Alerick TPF Noob!

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    NICE! I really like this effect. Thanks for the post I think I will write it down for when I build my darkroom. It sucks when you leave college because you realize you have no access to darkrooms :). Awesome!
     
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Very nice
     
  5. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    this makes me wanna learn dark room but hey photoshop is good atleast that way i can undo my changes if i dont like it whereas darkroom i cant...
     
  6. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    making psydo lith prints uses some of the chemistry you experimented with. copper bleach creates that orange cast especially with warm papers, and then a highly diluted use of lith film developer is used to re-develop the image after the bleaching.
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ahhhh, no one could forget this print, having seen it once! :D One of my favorites of yours.

    Thanks for posting this. :thumbup: I've done some bleach/redevelopment and it's always an adventure! Sure never got anything this pretty, though. ;) Great job.
     
  8. a.rilley

    a.rilley TPF Noob!

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    This sounds like a great experiment! Hope you don't mind if I give it a try. On a side note, that picture reminds me of the Grudge to be completely honest with you. Not a bad thing, it just freaks me out a little (haha) but it's a lasting impression none-the-less. I certainly won't be forgetting this one anytime soon. It truly is a great effect, in retrospect, it reminds me of the way pictures would develop when being taken with those really old large format cameras (Sepia, slightly blurry). The ones that were the standard "point and shoots" of the early 1900's.
     
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I love darkroom work and I love accidents. Very beautiful photo.

    PhotoShop is nice but from what I've seen so far of digital photography, unless you have a color balanced monitor, you don't really know what your print is going to look like. Kinda like sending a negative to a lab... But maybe one gets used to one's monitor and adjusts things accordingly.

    Anyway, I feel a bit sorry for photographers who have not had the darkroom experience. I love the smell of developer in the morning :goodvibe:
     
  10. windrivermaiden

    windrivermaiden TPF Noob!

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    So...have you been able to reproduce the effect with regularity?
     
  11. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    Not at all. That is why I posted the process.
    If it matter to you, the lith developer I used was Kodalith. I've tried it with fotospeed, but it doesn't pan out quite the same.

    See the film edges? It was taken with one of those really old large format cameras ;) I shot this with a Deerdorf 8x10 (doesn't belong to me, I had it on loan from my school).

    I've been able to reproduce the effect with irregularity. There is nothing regular about printing with lith developers. No two come out the same. But, yes, it does take some trial and error.
    The biggest key is to start with an under exposed processed print. The darkest shade of the original print shouldn't be darker than 18% gray.

    I didn't mention it in the first post, but it is important to stop and refix the image after you pull it from the lith developer. I don't understand why, but if you don't the print will act as though it were resensitized to light and get darker and darker over time. I didn't do this with the first few prints I made, and the red cast is pretty much gone, and they appear more brown than red, and are still darkening. It took 6 months for me to notice the the changes, FYI.
     
  12. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    if you want to try this , you may consider these steps.
    make a print that is overexposed by at least 1 stop or 2. bleach back with a copper based bleach, which will influence the organge color especially with warm tone papers.
    then re-develop in kodak lith film developer at a high dilution ratio. Pull before you think you should as if you wait until you like what you see, it will go over the top before you can pull and put into a running water bath or a weak acid stop. Once the infectous development starts it is like a runaway train.
    then wash per usually. oh, yes , fiber paper is terrific for this process.
    no two are ever exactly alike but you can come close .
     

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