Re: New Cyanotype

From: Christina Z. Anderson ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 05/18/04-08:25:58 PM Z
Message-id: <006801c43d48$a1867620$0b3fad42@oemcomputer>

<Judy said> Christina, I notice that you say "the complaints about the
> (old) process are....", but you don't say you have observed these things
> yourself. I have made hundreds of cyanotypes, and taught airhead
> undergraduates who must in the aggregate have made thousands more-- and
> NEVER seen the Prussian blue wash out during wet processing except in two
> circumstances:
> 1. When the emulsion is too fresh.. I don't mean A&B freshly mixed
> together, but when the A & the B themselves have not aged enough. I found
> that two hours old they washed off about 60%, after that they washed off
> successively less. Until about day 3, or maybe 4, no washing off. That
> is, no "blue water." However, the top visible step of a freshly exposed
> but not yet developed print does drop down 2, or 3, or more steps in
> development. I don't know if New Cyanotype does that, but you can easily
> allow for it in exposure. (And that makes green not blue water.)
> 2. When the paper is not absorbent enough or too much emulsion is sloshed
> on. Look at the freshly coated paper at an angle -- if you see puddling,
> it will wash off after exposure, often leaving white spots.
> Perhaps alkaline wash water has this effect, but I do not believe it is
> intrinsic to the medium. I have also NOT seen those "stained highlights."
> except where the negative was too thin.
> Judy

     I phrased it "these are the complaints" because those are the reasons
Ware formulated the New Cyanotype formula, from reading his book.
     When I used both side by side in MT (well water) yes, I did notice
these problems. Frankly, I found it slower to expose, wash off was greater,
and it gave me a paler blue, even with using the hydrogen peroxide to see an
immediate oxidation. I much preferred Ware's formula, and was shocked to
find out on this list that people didn't like it. That it is more difficult
to make than the traditional formula is true, but I had no problem making
it. The blue was a much richer, more pleasing navy. And I figured even
with doing the traditional formula 2A:1B Ware's was still twice as fast.
That it is more expensive, yes. But if the results are deep and rich, does
that matter?
     The fact that Sam Wang preferred it was only why I revisited the
traditional formula. Plus it is sooo easy to have a bottle of both A/B on
hand and mix, and sooo cheap. I think that in teaching cyanotype I would
only teach the traditional formula because of these reasons. Students could
do their own research on the new formula.
     Now, with Fabriano Artistico Extra White, and down in SC where I have
(gasp) city water (which, mind you, NEVER comes out of the faucet cold)
which is definitely chlorinated, the traditional is working fine with
little wash off. Rives BFK, well water vs. Fabriano Artistico, city water?
I really can't say what's up, but my solution I used in MT was definitely
aged if 3-4 days is the benchmark. My solution does have mold clumps in it.
No, it never puddled with the coat.
     I have both here with me in MN so I'll have to experiment with my
diginegs and see what I think, back on well water again for the summer.
     The "stained highlights", above, from a too thin neg would seem to be
"overexposure", not what I am talking about. This is bleeding or leaching
into the light areas.
Received on Wed May 19 08:25:37 2004

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