About lith printing

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by Rollei12, May 11, 2016.

  1. Rollei12

    Rollei12 TPF Noob!

    Feb 2, 2015
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    I just got interested in lith printing on learning you can do it by using just normal enlarging papers. I thought lith printing was done by contact printing.

    So what is the best paper for it? I've read a bunch of people name some names that just don't show up on Google searches (for canada stores anyway) but read that normal Ilford fiber paper works okay. Has anyone tried lith printing with Ilford FB paper? Is it okay?

    Also can you tell me the steps involved with it? I know FB paper takes a bit more work with washing and another bath (that soapy bath that takes out the fixer faster). Can you use that soapy bath for lith printing?

    The steps involved would be appreciated! Like:

    1: develop paper
    2: stop / fix paper,

    etc, etc...

  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
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    In the mental ward of this forum
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit

    Well. It's not as easy as Step 1,2,3, like anything else that's worth doing. ;) I'm happy you're interested in the process, and it's certainly not limited to contact printing - it's done on enlarging paper, yes, but the differences in paper emulsions will contribute to differences in the final results. So will your choice of lith developers, the ratios used when mixed, and even whether you're putting the first or the 10th piece of paper through the same tray!

    First, let me introduce you to the lith print master, Tim Rudman. Sign up for his newsletter to stay current on new papers, developers, and all things lith print related. He is a master darkroom printer in his own right, so he's a good source, period.

    Second, I highly recommend you pick up his book(s) on the subject of lith printing. Pretty sure you can find links to all of that from his website, and he might even be holding workshops, too.

    Anyway. You can also head over to Freestyle Photo and check out the article on lith printing, under the Photo Know-How tab, alternative photographic processes. Not sure if the Slavich paper is still sold over in North America, but there are other papers to try. For developers, I've used Fotospeed LD20 and the Moersch. Both available at places like Freestyle and B&H Photo, who both ship to Canada, I believe.

    A couple of examples using the Slavich paper, normal panchromatic negatives:



    People like this paper because it's contrasty and very fast in lith printing, while still giving a nice tonal range. Notice the bright white of the bucket in the shed image against the deep black of the spray paint, and the delicate shadows along the shed doors, and front of the shed, along with the whiteness of the flower petals in the top image, giving it an almost superimposed look.

    This image below was printed on Fotospeed lith paper, not sure it's still available, but there are still papers available giving similar results. This was a negative from infrared film.


    Huge differences in colors, texture, tonal values, etc., as you can see. Just a small sampling of what is possible, and I'm far from being a master printer. So do some further research, reading, and be prepared to make a small investment in a few different paper sample packets so you can find out what works easiest for you while giving you results you like. Take your time and be patient - it's fun! :) Good luck.
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