Re: Rethinking pigment stain

From: Dave Rose ^lt;>
Date: 12/13/05-08:38:29 PM Z
Message-id: <006001c60057$77b58f60$11ac9045@dave6m4323wvj7>

I don't know all the details regarding that past discussion, but I think
"fog" is a misleading term. I consider fog to be accidental exposure, e.g.
someone opens the back of a 35mm camera and the film gets "fogged". Perhaps
gum paper can get fogged from ambient light levels being too high in the
darkroom, but I've never had that problem.

Dave Rose
Powell, Wyoming

----- Original Message -----
From: "Katharine Thayer" <>
To: "alt photo" <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 12:16 PM
Subject: Rethinking pigment stain

> Hi gum printers,
> Because for most of my gum printing career I've printed on unsized
> paper, I developed a definition of pigment stain that I realize now
> probably applies mainly, if not exclusively, to printing on unsized
> paper. My definition required that in order for something to be called
> pigment stain, the pigment had to penetrate the paper and be indelible.
> And in my experience, when pigment stain occurred, it occurred
> immediately when the coating was applied; if the pigment was excessive
> in relation to the gum, it would stain the paper immediately on
> application.
> The tonal inversion thing made me rethink that idea, as I said a couple
> of days ago, and after doing some experiments with sized and unsized
> paper, I've decided I need a more inclusive definition that
> incorporates what happens on sized paper, or maybe two different terms;
> I haven't decided yet for sure.
> A more inclusive definition for "pigment stain" would say that pigment
> stain is whenever you get pigment in places where it shouldn't be,
> such as in unexposed areas of an image or step print. Whether or not
> that out-of-place pigment forms an indelible *stain* will be a function
> of how well the paper is sized. On sized paper, this "stain" will wipe
> off easily, whereas on unsized paper it will be indelible, but in
> either case, you've got pigment you don't want in areas that should be
> very light or paper white, hence: stain.
> One problem with this more inclusive definition is that it doesn't
> distinguish between stain and fog. Someone referred recently to a
> discussion from last summer where Mark showed a gum test print where
> there was color on areas where the print should have been paper white.
> I called that stain, and was told that it was fog. I conceded the
> point; when told that it could be wiped off the paper I assumed (given
> my then understanding of stain) that it couldn't possibly be stain and
> must be fog, although I didn't have a clear understanding of what could
> have caused the fog. And when that was brought up recently, I
> acknowledged I'd been wrong when I'd called it stain. But now that I
> have seen for myself that pigment stain can also be easily wiped off
> sized paper, (while still wet, of course) I'm not sure I know how to
> tell the difference between stain and fog on sized paper.
> They are of course different in substance, because what I would call
> "pigment stain" is just pigment, since it occurs in areas where no
> exposure, and therefore no formation of crosslinked gum, has occurred,
> whereas fog, in my opinion, would involve the formation of crosslinked
> gum.
> On unsized paper, excess pigment impregnates the paper as stain, and
> that's why it stays with the paper rather than dissolving away with the
> dichromate and soluble gum from unexposed areas. But on sized paper,
> even though the pigment isn't held in the paper as stain, or in
> crosslinked gum as "tone" it still remains on the paper in unexposed
> areas, as seen in the examples of "tonal inversion." This is
> interesting, but puzzling, to me. At any rate, I've satisfied myself,
> by cutting coated papers in half and exposing one side and putting the
> other side directly into water, that the "pigment stain" is the same
> on unexposed areas of exposed coatings as it is on completely unexposed
> paper, whether sized or unsized, which makes me even more confident
> that the effect has nothing to do with exposure, heat or anything else
> related to the exposure itself, but is simply pigment stain.
> Thoughts, anyone? I will soon be revising my page on stain, lord
> willing and the creek don't rise, to reflect the evolution of my
> thinking on this topic.
> Katharine
Received on Tue Dec 13 20:35:35 2005

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