Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rising the Bird

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.   


  1. Very interesting. Could you tell us a little bit more about the gum process ? Between, if you can share your source for readings.

    All the best


  2. Sure I can. Gum process is very easy to implement. The most difficult part is finding potassium dichromate. You just mix equal amount of 5% solution of potassium dichromate with gum arabic + any water based paint (gouache, watercolor or just pigment). Here are the some useful links:

    This video is also explain what I do basically:

    1. Many thanks for your explanations really appreciated. I will need to test it one day. Thanks again.