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John Layton
21-Apr-2015, 14:13
During my last photo teaching gig, as I was lecturing my photo-history class on N. Niepce's rightfully famous "rooftops" image, then describing how a pewter plate was first coated with bitumen of judea...then exposed for a matter of hours...then flowed with lavender oil to reveal an image - a student quickly got onto her smartphone and discovered that bitumen of judea was still available - from Amazon! Well, I just had to put in a budget request for two bottles - plus a vial of lavender oil from a local health food emporium.

Then...after doing a quick extrapolation from what would have been the aperture value of the Chevalier lens that Niepce was using, our class decided that we could get by with a one hour exposure in bright sunlight (using my 210 Sironar at f/8) - with the bitumen having been coated onto a piece of cleared 4x5 film.

The results were, well, interesting.... We did two trials, and on the second we convinced ourselves to actually see a faint outline of some of the stronger architectural details that we'd photographed. But in retrospect I'm not really all that certain what we saw. I'm also not certain that the bitumen was applied correctly (maybe I should have coated onto Pewter?), nor that my methodology, in assuming I could do a simple extrapolation to determine an exposure time, using a gooey dark substance whose response to light I am now guessing is anything but linear, was anywhere near the ballpark.

Interesting thing though - that as our class began to ponder the possibility of re-creating Niepce's technique, any amount of research into whom else might have actually tried this came up empty...which I can hardly believe. No mention of trials...successes...failures.

Could somebody please tell me that they have either tried to recreate Niepce's results, or know someone who has tried it...or that I was doing shady research and that others have tried this successfully and that documentation exists to prove it? Thanks!

Greg Davis
21-Apr-2015, 14:46
I'm fairly certain that the oil of lavender is not actually lavender oil, but rather a fancy name for something else akin to kerosene.

Emmanuel BIGLER
21-Apr-2015, 15:04
Could somebody please tell me that they have either tried to recreate Niepce's results, or know someone who has tried it.

Hello from France!

I am aware of some recent work done by a full-time research scientist, Dr. Jean-Louis MARIGNIER (CNRS) who spent many years re-doing experiments of early photographic processes. Niépce was very secretive and we do not have any laboratory notebooks. Hence my understanding is that everything had to be re-done from scratch by trial and error.

From J.L Marignier's web page,
http://pagesperso.lcp.u-psud.fr/marignier/
this could be interesting to you :
"REVISITING THE INVENTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIEPCE
MAIN RESULTS OBTAINED FROM THE RECONSTRUCTION OF NIEPCE'S PROCESSES"

Good reading !

jnanian
21-Apr-2015, 17:38
physautotypes ?

i believe the george eastman house does a workshop where people make their own ...
or maybe that is something else ..

Bill_1856
21-Apr-2015, 18:27
Good for YOU, John. Be proud of yourself, and give that student an A+.

Randy Moe
21-Apr-2015, 23:12
Could somebody please tell me that they have either tried to recreate Niepce's results, or know someone who has tried it.

Hello from France!

I am aware of some recent work done by a full-time research scientist, Dr. Jean-Louis MARIGNIER (CNRS) who spent many years re-doing experiments of early photographic processes. Niépce was very secretive and we do not have any laboratory notebooks. Hence my understanding is that everything had to be re-done from scratch by trial and error.

From J.L Marignier's web page,
http://pagesperso.lcp.u-psud.fr/marignier/
this could be interesting to you :
"REVISITING THE INVENTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIEPCE
MAIN RESULTS OBTAINED FROM THE RECONSTRUCTION OF NIEPCE'S PROCESSES"

Good reading !

It is good reading!

John Layton
22-Apr-2015, 05:14
Emmanuel...thank you! But AARRGGHH!! When I try to download J.L. Marignier's "results of trials" article, my computer freezes with warnings of nefarious network activity, following which I have to force-quit. I hate it when stuff like this happens, especially as I am dying to know the results! At any rate...Emmanuel, if you or someone else could provide me with a "safer" link, I would be so very grateful!

Struan Gray
22-Apr-2015, 05:49
Google 'physautotype'

Bostick and Sullivan sell a printed manual:

https://www.bostick-sullivan.com/cart/product.php?productid=743&cat=31&page=1


I have this thread at APUG tucked away for further reading:

http://www.apug.org/forums/forum42/44955-physautotype-my-first-go.html



Note that if you are prepared to compromise on the Bitumen of Judea bit, rosin for classical string instruments seems to be a suitable, and much more widely available, substitute.

I am pretty certain the process will work better when you have a higher UV component in your projected image (the process works by hardening the rosin, and that's usually helped along by shorter wavelengths. An older, uncoated lens might let in more UV than your Sironar.

Emmanuel BIGLER
22-Apr-2015, 07:17
But AARRGGHH!! When I try to download ..

Well, since Dr. Marignier is kind enough to provide ample contact information, I think anybody interested in his work should contact him directly. I do not know him but was aware of his huge amount of work done reconstructing Niépces's processes.
And if there is something wrong with his personal web site, it is even better to contact him directly and explain him what is wrong!

jnanian
22-Apr-2015, 08:25
Good for YOU, John. Be proud of yourself, and give that student an A+.

thank you sir ;)
http://www.eastmanhouse.org/events/detail.php?title=photo-workshop-2-2013