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Sunshine and Salted Paper

December 23, 2011

Salted paper printing. One of the very first photographic printing processes dating back to 1833. The process involves coating a sheet of paper first in a solution of salts and gelatin, and then coating it again with a light-sensitive emulsion of silver nitrate. The paper is dried and then sandwiched with a negative in a contact printing frame and put out in the sunshine to develop. After anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes in the sun, the image will appear on the coated paper and is ready to rinse, tone, fix and dry. The final salt print has beautiful cool sepia tones and dramatic contrast.

I have been out in the Tin Gypsy making salt prints like a mad-woman over these past couple of months, taking advantage of the lucky abberation of a sunny November and December in Portland, Oregon. The process requires a lot of patience and is difficult to perfectly execute, but is very rewarding. I love that each and every print is handmade and unique… Some prints are a bit lighter or a bit darker on exposure, depending on the quality of light that is present- printing in bright direct sunlight produces a very high contrast print, while printing in softer diffused light makes for a more subtle tonality. Each salt print will also have slightly different framing and edges, from the brushstrokes of applying the silver nitrate by hand to each piece of paper.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Rose permalink
    December 24, 2011 2:44 pm

    very nice

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