toning with organic substances

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by terri, May 28, 2005.

  1. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In my various reading, I have come across a couple of how-to's for toning or dyeing darkroom prints with organic substances: coffee, tea, red wine, food coloring, etc.

    Has anyone ever done this? What kind of results did you get?

    I also have concerns about the effects on the archival stability of the print. Wouldn't an organic substance contain enough acids or other unwanted elements that would accelerate print deterioration? :scratch: I don't see much written on that aspect of it.
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    What these are probably doing is staining the white part of the print - the paper. And I would suspect that you have to use fibre base because RC does not absorb liquid and wouldn't stain. Although it is possible to stain the gelatine instead so it might work on RC. Both these methods are technically called 'tinting'.
    The nearest I have come to doing this is using fabric dye to stain the base.
    The organic substances would almost certainly have no effect on the silver in the image because they are not reactive enough so the image would remain black.
    Organic compounds by their very nature decompose over time. This would certainly happen to any organic compounds used to tint a print. As most mentioned are quite complex chemical mixtures the products of decomposition, and their effects on the print, are impossible to predict.
    Some would fade, others would go through colour changes and so on.
    What they would do to the stability of the print or image permanence is anyone's guess.
    It might be worth experimenting just out of curiosity but I wouldn't reccomend it as standard practice.
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking about trying it on a bromoil, actually, and at that point the print has been bleached and tanned, so there wouldn't be much silver at the matrix stage.

    hmmm..... thanks for the input, Hertz. :)
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    The same will apply to a bromoil, I think. Bromoil inks are pigments in an oil base. Pigments are generally chemically stable and the organic substances you suggest will have little or no effect on the ink. Again you will just be tinting the base - staining of the gelatine might occur, but as it has been tanned in the Bromoil process it may well not.
    The long term decomposition of the organic substances will also be unpredictable.
    I think you would be better off using a coloured base photographic paper.
    But I'm always up for an experiment so let me know what happens - you never know until you try it. And life is always full of suprises ;-)
     
  5. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm...
    This sounded interesting so I tried it today. I exposed the paper, developed and instead of running the print through a stop bath I put it in some espresso (I used cheap coffee though :)) and then washed it and fixed it. I didn't use stop because coffee is acidic and had a ph pretty close to the stop bath. About 10 minutes in the coffee adds a bit of a brownish but mostly yellow tint. I'm going to make more coffee and boil it down and try it again for more of an effect. I was also hoping that buy substitution coffee as a stop that there wouldn't be as much deterioration, but I have no idea really.
     
  6. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes I saw your results in the Alt section. :) Your method was quite different from mine.

    I used Agfa MC 118, a FB matt finished paper, specifically exposed, developed, fixed out for a bromoil print (looooong fix time in plain hypo crystals), which was then bleached and tanned, so there was no remaining silver.

    As Hertz pointed out, at this stage I was basically toning/staining the paper with a couple of cups of strong coffee in a tray of water. I let it go in the tray for about thirty minutes, and mine did not go near as dark as yours.

    Actually, here it is. The yellow tones are from the coffee; the other colors added to the edges of the print and the barn are pastels. I didn't have to do anything to get that warm yellow tone. :thumbup:

    [​IMG]


    It was fun, but I don't know if I'll use organic toners much; I certainly couldn't sell them with a clear conscience! :)
     
  7. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    I did some toning with coffee and it came out nicely. The transfer in the alt section was done by sumbering the print in boiling tea. The coffee I used was cold though so that might have effected it.
     
  8. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I had the coffee at room temperature. Tea just imparts a different tone, and I am very tempted to try it some time. :) You got a very rich tone with that RC paper - I would guess your paper choice would have more effects than temperature.
     

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