From: SteveS ^lt;>
Date: 11/30/04-08:58:51 PM Z
Message-id: <001401c4d751$b1908da0$d904e4d8@VALUED65BAD02C>

Very close, Jack, but a cigar for clarifying the original's post, spelling
of the technique Orotone.

Side bar: It was one of Curtis' assistants, a chemist by trade, Imogene
Cunningham who helped develop his Curtistone. The Orotones were
accomplished by pouring the banana oil on the back of the glass with print
side covered, then by sprinkling gold dust. It was both dangerous and
expensive. The danger was by ignorance of technicians who didn't use the
masks and inhaled the gold dust. The expense was mostly due to Curtis' huge

The Curtistone was accomplished by using brass dust instead of gold, or
finally brass or fake gold paint.

Today, Ilford labs have created glass with emulstion and a gold colored
finish to emulate in their Curtis Centennial Project the elegance of Curtis'
prints, sold today in reproduction from some of his original negatives.
Prices go from $3,000 to $30,000 and can be found available at the website
by googling Curtis Centenial Project..

Sally Larsen, if that's the name of the woman I met in Carmel, has a gallery
with her husband in Santa Monica. Or, that may be another person I'm
thinking of, who is very tight lipped about her process.


 you mention. The Van Gelder process is not a process, really, but a Dutch
fine quality paper he printed on. He also used Japanese vellum and a tissue
paper. At the turn of the century it was he and Alfred Steiglitz who used
such fine quality papers for their photographic output.

As for the Orotone, the root word here is "oro", which, in Spanish, is gold.
Hence, these were 'goldtone' prints. Curtis developed this process to bring
luminosity to his photograph, to make them glow, so to speak. The photograph
is printed in reverse on a sheet of glass and then a backing of powdered
gold pigment along with, apparently, banana oil, was behind the image. This
was all rather delicate and he designed (I think) frames that were gilded
with gold of course. It was a subdued and elegant presentation of golden
Today, a few still emulate this process. One, in particular,Sally Larsen, an
accomplished surfer with a strong interest in martial arts, creates
photographs with a gold leaf backing somewhat similar to the idea used by
Curtis. Who, by the way, renamed his orotone as the Curtistone.

Jack Fulton
Received on Tue Nov 30 20:59:32 2004

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