RE: Fotospeed Cyanotype Process Kit

From: D. Mark Andrews ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 01/05/05-01:49:21 AM Z
Message-id: <>

I hate to disagree with a sage on the list, but I highly recommend that
folks just starting out with alt processes begin with a kit--this was me
just one year ago. There are a couple of clustered reasons:

1. The kit contains all the necessary chemicals in pre-packed bags and good
instructions making it easy and quick to mix. Read the instructions ahead of
time since you may need bottles which you may not have on hand (e.g. brown
glass). Also, some alt solutions either require or do better with some
aging--just follow the directions, but plan ahead so your chemicals are
ready when you are.

2. Although buying bulk chemicals in the long run will give you greater
artistic flexibility and can be significantly less expensive, these are not
the goals of a newbie. If you run into problems (and you will), it is better
to have one variable (your chemistry) not the most likely suspect. Also, you
can rarely buy the bulk chemicals in small and exact amounts. So you will
end up with varying amounts of left over chemistry--which you may or may not
use. Furthermore, bulk chemistry requires measurement with a good scale with
fractional values. If you already have one, great, but if not, it is a
$75-200 dollar investment depending on the desired quality.

This issue reminds me of a kid's book I used to read to my children called,
"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." The moral is, if you give a mouse a cookie,
you have to give him milk. If you give him a cookie and milk, you have to
give him a napkin. If he needs a napkin, then he needs... I found getting
into alt processes the same. If you are going to mix bulk chemicals you have
order the right ones, then mix them which requires labware, often glass not
plastic. Then you need a scale. Well the scale needs a disposable paper for
holding the chemicals--yes, coffee filters work great, but I didn't have any
coffee filters. Perhaps I've said more than is necessary here, but I
strongly believe a good kit is a beginner's best friend.

To answer your initial question, I have not used the Fotospeed kit, but I do
have a lot of experience with the kit from Photographer's Formulary. Good
price, nice folks, and quality chemicals. With that said, and this next
comment may start a lengthy discussion, please stay away from Mike Ware's
formula as a beginner. It is most troublesome with many papers and for the
life of me I can't figure out why the original formula needed improving. The
Formulary sells both in kit form , but the original formula prints great on
glass, leather, most papers including sturdy newsprint if you are desperate.
If you want mind-numbing blues, double coat your paper.


-----Original Message-----
From: Robert W. Schramm []
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 6:49 PM
Subject: RE: Fotospeed Cyanotype Process Kit

Its just my humble opinion but if you are just starting out I would advise
you to spend your money on a good book like "Keepers of Light" where you can
find the very simple formula for cyanotype which in its original formula is
quite easy to mix. Photographer's Formulary sells all the necessary
chemicals. You can make a print frame out of a sheet of double strength
window glass a piece of cardboard and some duct tape. Sunlight is a good
source of UV. Use almost any watercolor paper and a Hake or foam brush for
coating. "Keepers of Light" has a lot of good instruction and a good history
of the old processes.

Good luck,
Bob Schramm
Check out my web page at:

&gt;From: Bob &lt;;
&gt;To: alt-photo-process list &lt;;
&gt;Subject: Fotospeed Cyanotype Process Kit
&gt;Date: Tue, 04 Jan 2005 17:58:16 +0000
&gt;Hello, I've been interested in trying my hand at doing some
&gt;for a while; I bought Mike Ware's book a couple of years ago. I'm
&gt;thinking a good way to get into it is to purchase the Fotospeed
&gt;Cyanotype Process Kit ( and
&gt;of their contact printing frames.
&gt;Has anyone got any experience of the Fotospeed kit or their frame?
&gt;&quot;Lager is an imitation Continental beer drunk only by refined
&gt; people with digestive ailments, tourists, and other weaklings.&quot;
&gt; - Munchen Süddeutsche
Received on Wed Jan 5 01:47:39 2005

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