A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

A Day In The Darkroom & A Solarized Violin
Tuesday, April 09, 2013



Bronwen Marsden
 It is late Monday night. I have had a pleasant and most unique day. I spent most of it printing negatives in my darkroom. This is something I have not done in a long while. For my Duthie Gallery show in May I am spending more time with what interests me and that’s my erotic output. I will have small giclées from the Fuji Instant Negative peels that I cannot print in the darkroom. Many of those giclées printed by Grant Simmons will manifest the random and to me wonderful Sabbatier Effect that some would call solarization a la Man Ray. But solarization happens to prints and the Sabbatier Effect is that of negatives.

But before I make up my mind on those giclées (art speak for well printed inkjet prints on good and thick paper) I am working on a series of 8x10 prints (three of each). Today I locked my enlarger at a precise height to print my 6x7 format negatives. Perhaps tomorrow I will work on the 35mm format.

To save money I am exhausting my existing, and extremely old paper stock. In particular I found an unopened box of 100 sheets of Agfa-Gevaert Brovira BS 119 paper. It is extremely old, at least 15 years old. As expected the paper has lost some of its contrast zip and it is less sensitive to the light of my enlarger. I will have to be careful what negatives I pick to print.

A negative of Bronwen Marsden holding her old violin seemed to be a good place to start. I managed printing, after wasting a couple of sheets, three good ones which I then selenium-toned to increase the black and to make the photograph archival.  The blue version is simply the above image reversed in Photoshop.



I decided then to experiment in trying real solarization. I partially developed a print and then turned on the overhead light for a couple of minutes. Because the paper lacks contrast it became quite dark but it did solarise. I increased the contrast after fixing the image by bathing the print in a solution of potassium ferrocyanide. What you see is the scanned version of the print in which I have upped the contrast a bit with Photoshop. This is one image that if I decide to use in my show I will probably go via a giclée.

In years past I would smoke a pipe in my darkroom, which always had poor ventilation. I would have a stereo playing music of my liking, in particular my fave from my very beginning of printing in the early 60s, Stan Getz’s Focus.

I have long abandoned the pipe and I prefer to concentrate without music. The day was still a pleasant one and the smells of the chemicals a reassurance that my world is still around. There are those who say that selenium toner is a carcinogen. I have used it since the 70s. My guess is that at my age of 70 I need not worry that selenium will kill me. It will have to be something else.




     

Previous Posts
Because I Can

Black Folds & Soft Contrast

Me, My Black Stockings & My White Shirt

The Civil War At Ballet BC

Cinema Revisited

That H. Upmann Yet One More Time, In White & In Bl...

Reflections On A Scrotum

Me & My Jelly Shoes

The Five Lines Did Converge

Intimate Music For A Somber Day



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11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17