Re: Linda Connor's process

From: jean.daubas ^lt;>
Date: 07/15/04-04:15:28 AM Z
Message-id: <000301c46a54$adab7a70$0a26440a@Jean>

Hi all,

About the gold-toning procedure used by Linda Connors for her POP prints,
I've copied a small excerpt from the chapter about Linda found in the very
interesting book "Darkroom" edited by Eleanor Davis (c) 1977 and published
by Lustrum Press.
Besides the toner formula, Linda brings us some simple comments about her

    During exposure, the paper (which you can handle safely in shade or room
light) turns from white to pink, shades of maroon, a reddish brown, and
finally, if it's had lots of sun, an olive green. I normally print until the
shadow areas of the picture are olive green. The rest of the image is
usually dark maroon with a little pink in the highlights. After exposure, I
put the prints in a box for safekeeping until I can get around to toning
them. As long as they stay pretty much out of the light, they will be fine
almost indefinitely. It's a lovely process - no more smelly darkroom. In
fact, once the film is developed, everything else is done in the light.

I tone in the bathroom because the water runs there, but any place with
water and room for some trays will do. Room light is fine and almost
necessary since the process is so long and boring, you might as weIl enjoy a
good book. I usually tone two prints at a time in separate trays. If I do
more than one print in a tray , I tend to get uneven toning.
    First, prepare a tray of plain hypo (sodium thiosulfite). I usually add
about a cup of hypo crystals to a quart of hot water; the water cools as the
crystals dissolve, leaving you with a solution at about the correct
temperature. I don't bother using a thermometer. I just make sure that
nothing is too hot. You need to use plain hypo rather than regular fixer,
because the latter is too strong and bleaches the image.

    The toner is gold chloride, and it is expensive. The price went up about
300 percent in 1974. I just thought l'd warn you. Anyway, you take a fifteen
grain vial of gold chloride and with the little file the chemist will give
you, you carefully file it open. Then, put the gold chloride, vial and aIl
(so as not to waste any crystals that might be sticking to the glass), into
a beaker of 500 cc of water (use bottled water if yours is rusty). The
crystals will dissolve easily. Now filter it into a bottle marked "A-gold."
You'll also need a second chemical, ammonium thiocyanate; mix up 10 grams
with 500 cc of ( water. I don't have a scale, but l've found that if you
fill al plastic Kodak 35mm film cassette can with the chemical, ! you come
out about right. Put this in a second bottle labeled "B-A.T." These two
bottles contain your stock solutions. Now mix up 50 cc of A, 50 cc of B, and
add 500 cc of water. Pour this into one or two trays and you are ready to

    First the prints must be washed in cold water for a few minutes until
the milky stuff stops coming off the print. (I think this is excess
silver.) Pre-wash for three to five minutes. I Drain and place the print in
the toning solution (yes, you tone I first, then fix), agitating the whole
time. 1 find that rocking the tray is the best way to do this, since tongs
or fingers often crease or scratch the print surface. The emulsion of this
paper is very soft when wet, and it comes only in single weight, so you must
be particularly careful when handling it. Even fingerprints will affect the
toning. (It is extremely prissy paper.) Once in the toner, the print will
quickly change from maroon to an orange and the image will get much lighter.
As the toning progresses, the orange will start turning gray-brown, the
color of the toned print. You
can see it happen. If the gold is fresh, it takes five to ten minutes a
print, but as the solution gets used up, it takes considerably longer. As
the gold leaves the solution, the tone of the prints will shift. They will
become warmer and more orange. The first few prints in a new solution of
gold are usually a purple-gray, the next few are browner, and the last
couple quite orange.

    Now I put the prints into hypo for about six minutes, where they will
again get a little lighter. Next I put them in a water bath and hold them
there until I have a big enough batch to hypo clear and wash. I use a washer
that holds the prints separately, but a tray siphon would also work. (Just
be careful the prints don't get creased.) When they are through washing in
thirty to forty minutes, I drain them and place them in pairs, back to back.
Then I hang them by the corners with plastic clothespins. They air dry in a
few hours, and will always curl, but, if pressed with a couple of heavy
books, they flatten out in a couple of days. (Do not dry these prints in a
heat dryer - the image will transfer to the apron.) Finally, I dry mount the
prints on thin boards slightly larger than the prints, because I find they
are just too thin without some backing. I then spot them and if I like the
image enough, I overmatte it. The casualty rate on these prints from
start to finish is pretty high. Getting the exposure right, the toning even,
the co!or you like, no creases, these are some of the problems you face.
Weil, you lose a lot of prints. It is also close to impossible to get two
prints to come out looking the same. I just don't worry about it. Each print
is a little bit different and if I like it, fantastic. Oh, remember that
green? WeIl, sometimes when the green is very intense on the print and the
toner is partially depleted, the toner will plate up on those areas, giving
it a kind of uneven surface, almost a solarized look. This can be really
beautiful, but it is difficult to control or describe.

    Why do I go to aIl this trouble and expense to gold tone on Print-out
Paper when I could contact print on another kind of paper? It would be
easier to use another paper, but the prints would look very different. The
P.O.P. renders the image with a delicacy that is hard to match (Figure 5).
Maybe l'm a little tired of plain old black and white prints, but I really
like the brown tones the gold produces. These prints have a warm receptive
quality that l've never found in regular silver bromide prints. Each print
is unique in tone and intensity. I would like the print to be a new object,
not just a neutral reflection, reference, or record of reality. I want
people to look at the print and to be satisfied with it. ...]

Cheers from France,

----- Original Message -----
From: Jack Fulton
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: Linda Connor's process

Hello Jack,
Thank you for the information- I have tried many formulas to tone the POP-
could you clarify as to the amount of ammonium thiocyanate Linda uses. I
assume she uses a gram of gold chloride for part two of the solution to
gold tone.
Thanks, Susan.

Linda is in Cappadocia, Turkey, photographing right now and I'll be happy to
ask her upon returning in a bit if you wish. As far as I know, the formula
is the standard T-53 of Kodak for that is what I gave her a few years back.
She may have, indeed, altered it since then.
However, it is:

Ammonium Thiocyante 10 grams
Water to make 500 mls

Solution B
Gold Chloride 1 gram
Water to make 500 mls

When using you can obtain various tones. Dilution is the key such as one
will note that an ordinary silver gelatin developer will give warmer tones
when diluted.

For the colder, more popular (Linda's) look of purple-black
Sol A
Sol B 500 mls each and water to make 500 mls

For brown(er) toning
Use 12 mls of each part and water to make 500 mls

For red(dish) toning
6 mls of each solution and water to make 500 mls

The full process is to first use a strong (read dark) negative and expose
fully in the sun (or arc light). Examine while exposing and make sure the
image is darker than you'd like as fixing and toning reduce the density.
Fix with basic fixer made of sodium thiosulfate . . not rapid fix.
Received on Thu Jul 15 04:16:20 2004

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