Photographic Processes

IMG 8287.jpg

In the mid-1800s, Sir John Frederick William Herschel discovered the (ultraviolet) light sensitive properties of certain organic iron compounds found naturally within the plant kingdom – coining the name Siderotype for these general processes, salts of iron mixed with vegetable acids. UV light transforms the light sensitive iron portion of the chemistry into a form of iron that can then react with a metal salt to produce the final image in that salt’s metallic state. With the help of his friends Dr. Alfred Smee, Anna Atkins, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre throughout the 1800s, they together solidified the bedrock of photography as we know it today.

Time marched along and then came high resolution digital cameras and affordable archival/gallery/museum quality color printers when a funny thing happened. With the commoditization of high resolution digital cameras and archival quality, digital printmaking systems, along came the ability to produce high resolution digital negatives for analog contact printing processes. In one fell swoop the advent of high quality digital cameras & printers decimated the end game of wet print creation while at the same time enabling a resurgence of historic wet photographic processes that can only be performed via contact printing. What is old is new again, in a very big way.

Preparing the Digital Image

As an added assist, our User Guide documented Photoshop exposure response correction curve files can all be downloaded here: SEAP_Curves

Jamie Taylor has put together a guide to help in preparing a digital image negative for contact printing with these photographic processes, available here in PDF Format: Preparing Digital Negative

Care & Feeding: Light Sensitive Iron Salts

Decomposing like all good organics, light sensitive Ferric Ammonium Citrate and Ferric Ammonium Oxalate iron compounds used for Siderotype printmaking processes will self-destruct…READ MORE…

Iron & Iron

Classic Cyanotype & Simple Cyanotype Processes

The classic, safe, affordable, indeed rather strident, Prussian Blue process. One of the more interesting plays with Cyanotype …

Silver & Gold

Vandyke Brownprint & Argyrotype Processes

Vandyke Brownprint, VDB for short, is an eminently easy and affordable silver process resulting in rich sepia toned images …

Palladium, Gold, Tungsten

Ziatype Process

Ziatype is a highest of quality archival palladium printing process, rivaling the platinum/palladium DOP process (Pt/Pd) in its tonal production and exceeding …

Silver Halide

B&W Silver Gelatin Process

The silver halide process - Gelatin sized papers sensitized with Silver Bromide in the early days and Silver Chlorobromide in the paper’s latest …

© Special Edition Art Project, LLC 2022