Once upon a time, before the digital era, there was a photographic printing technique that called wet printing or darkroom printing or silver gelatin printing. You could print a photograph without using computer or printer by using this mysterious technique. Nowadays there are only a few master remain who knows the mystery. Hold on there, I will tell a secret. I am the master and I will whisper the secrets to you in this blog. Keep this secret with you.
I have only one digital taken photograph in my portfolio. Hence I couldn't print it at darkroom, I was feeling uncomfortable. Then, one day I decided to print it by using an alternative processing technique and started to search an appropriate one that I can do. Most of them need several chemicals and they are too hard to find for me, but I faced with gum printing that need just one chemical for making. It is potassium dichromate. I found it and decided to give a chance to it.
For making these print I converted the digital image to negative and printed it to a A4 transparency sheet. Then prepared a 5% solution of potassium dichromate. The other metarials that I used were gum arabic and prussian blue gouache paint. For paper I preferred 425 gpm hand made, textured watercolor paper.
Paper was prepared under dim light conditions by applying solutions using a brush. Dried papers are contact printed under direct sun light.
Here are the print details:
Paper: Hand made, textured, 425 gsm, watercolour paper. Paper Size: 21x29 cm (8.2x11.5in) Image Size: 16.8x22.3 cm (6.6x8.8in) Developer: Water Toner: Untoned
Uploaded image is the best one that I could make. First problem that I faced was the exposure. What I read from the internet was suggesting 5 to 8 minutes exposure time under sun light. But in my situation I found best exposure time is 1 minutes.
The other problem was details in shadows. I prepared three different negative which were low, normal and high contrast. This image was made with high contrast one. Unfortunately none of my negatives were not contain enough shadow details. I understand that I have to prepare contrast and more dense negative.
BTW, most of the source I read about gum printing were suggested to size the paper but I didn't do it.
When printing a photograph generally you easily decide the contrast and exposure levels of the print. But pushing the boundaries at some photos may change the whole atmosphere. Here is an example of this.
At a heavy cloudy and very bad day, sun showed its face for a moment and below scene just happened. It was a perfect light with a darker background. I dreamed this atmosphere as soon as I saw it. In the darkroom I increased the contrast till the see was placed Zone II (Black areas with detail.) Also I placed the sail at Zone VIII (Textured white) by adjusting the exposure.
Here are the print details:
Paper: Ilfrord Multigrade IV Fiber 1K Glossy Paper Size: 24x30.5 cm (9.5x12in) Image Size: 18.5x28.2 cm (7.3x11.1in) Developer: Dektol 1+2 (2 min.) Toner: Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner Film Format: 35 mm
Also you can see the standard print preference at the below:
After awhile I manage to post another image. This image taken at Alexandroupolis (Dedeağaç is the Turkish name), Greece. This images is forcing my imagination. Whenever I look this image, I am dreaming lots of shapes and also I am making stories. Form on the sky part is a star or a dancer? What do you think? :)
Here is the print details:
Paper: Ilfrord Multigrade IV Fiber 1K Glossy Paper Size: 24x30.5 cm (9½x12in) Image Size: 18.5x28.2 cm (7.3x11.1in) Developer: Dektol 1+2 (2 min.) Toner: Untoned Film Format: 35 mm