Re: Charcoal Prints? Direct Carbon and I.C.I

Date: 03/08/04-05:58:44 PM Z
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In a message dated 08/03/04 18:11:21 GMT Standard Time,

> John,
> The whole Fresson issue is intriguing.
> Good luck to you too.
> --Dick
Thanks Dick for your encouragement. Good luck seems to be akin to accident
or chance and it seems this is what Frederic Artigue encountered in 1878 when
he first discovered how to make full tone range images which he noticed had
appeared on the corner of one of his architectural plan drawings on which he was
using albumin, gum arabic, sugar and lamp black. See footnote( page 12) in
Luis Nadeau's excellent,'' Gum Dichromate and other Direct Carbon Processes
from Artigue to Zimmerman."
         Theodore - Henri Fresson, on the other hand after sampling Artigue's
paper and not knowing his formulae, spent several years trying to make a
paper of a similar nature but, it seems, incorporating certain improvements
related to quality control (1899). His hard work and research may have been helped
along by "luck" but he was very careful not to allow his formulae and method
for the paper coating to pass out of his family....except for, as far as we
know, to Jose Ortiz Echague and from him to Luis Nadeau.
          In 1990 I became intrigued by this story and being of a stubborn
nature I decided that if enough effort was applied to research using the
materials that were on record it would be possible to produce results equalling the
characteristics of the appearance of these Direct Carbon prints. But, luckily,
we also have published quite often the actual methods of development used by
Fresson (sawdust abrasion and, later, weak bleach and water spray for Arvel
paper). So it was not so much luck as persistence which led me to my modest
discovery of the formulae for making the Interface Carbon Imbibition paper
which I am greatly tempted to promote after twelve years of mistakes and false
leads, but all great fun, rather like a treasure hunt which we kids loved to
take part in.
           I was wishing you good luck with the marketing of your new carbon
tissue as I realize that this is a problem quite appart from any which may be
encountered in the production side. Hopefully though, I can see a swing
starting to take place away from the idea that everything, including fine art, can
be accomplished by electronics. So, maybe this is a lucky time to take a
chance in presenting additions to the already huge range of materials available to
the artists using photography. Possibly, as I see it, it is the general
acceptance, now, that the photo image may be manipulated and modified, albeit
digitally and so, also, by alternative means which seems to suggest it is a good
time to persist with the traditional methods. After all when you work it out
they are far less expensive and a hell of a lot more interesting than sitting at
a keyboard with eyes glued to a screen.
                        Cheers. John Grocott- Photographist.
Received on Mon Mar 8 17:59:06 2004

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