View Full Version : Ivory Based Paper

Nick Morris
18-Mar-2005, 07:07
Hello. I have been using Forte's Polywarmtone Art Semi-matte paper, which is a varibale contrast paper with ivory base. I have been using Dektol 1:2 to develop, and tone in Wynn Bullock's selenium formula that includes 3 oz. of permawash, for 4-5 minutes, a duration that does not seem to affect image tone. I like this paper very much because of the ivory base, but I don't seem to get very strong blacks, or very good separation in the blacks. I primarily contact print 8x10 Tri-X negatives developed in HC-110.

Anyone using this paper? What is your experience; what developer's are you using? Is anyone familar with other papers that have an ivory base, and available in glossy as well?

Thank you.

18-Mar-2005, 08:24
It wont answer all your needs, but seeing you are contact printing 8x10 negs, Azo in amidol is an obvious choice for a try. The rich deeply detailed shadows are a hallmark of Azo. Base is fairly nutral, and the surface is glossy. I bet a light coffee/tea stain could make an ivory base with a little experimentation. Azo can be toned to about any imaginable tone.
Just a thought

Gem Singer
18-Mar-2005, 08:35
Hi ng,

When the paper was first introduced, I printed almost everything on Forte Polywarmtone fiber based glossy paper. I usually made 11X14 enlargements (from 4X5 negatives), developed it in Zonal Pro warmtone developer, and toned with 1:19 Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner. It usually only required 3-5 minutes in the KRST until a definite color change took place. I really liked the results, especially for outdoor scenes that benefited from the warmtone look.

Then, Ilford introduced their Multigrade Warmtone paper. I tried it and compared it to the Forte paper. The Ilford glossy surfaced fiber based version is now the only paper that I print on, for both enlargements (up to 16X20), and contact prints (up to 8X10). Ilford Warmtone has a slightly creamy base, and I am able to get a very rich velvety brownish-black when I develope for 3 minutes in Ilford Multigrade developer, to which I add a small amount of I% Benzotriazole solution.

The problem you are experiencing with your inability to obtain strong blacks with the Forte paper may be a characteristic of the semi-matte surface, the type of printing light and VC filtration you are using, the type of developer, etc.,etc. Often, a problem like that can even be the result of safelight fog.

If you are searching for an alternative warmtone paper, by all means try the Ilford Warmtone in the Fiber base glossy surfaced version. Check your safelight, and develope to completion. A developer that contains Glycin adds to the warmtone effect. Check with Photographer's Formulary.

Robert Ley
18-Mar-2005, 08:40
You might try increasing the concentration of selenium and using a higher temperature for the toning solution(80-85degF) I use this when I tone Ilford Multigrade RC and that is a paper that most feel can't be toned.

Nick Morris
18-Mar-2005, 11:03
Thank you for your responses. I should note that Agfa Multicontrast Classic - fiber based, semi-matte paper is what I am comparing the Forte paper with. The Agfa has been very satisfactory (the paper I use most, both the semi-matte and glossy) with strong blacks when selenium toned. What I can't get from the Agfa paper is the ivory base that I really like in the Forte. I'm doing a personal project in the style of Paul Strand's later work in Scotland, France, Italy, etal. The ivory base of the Forte paper, to me, gives a nice vintage Strand look of that period, at least when compared to reproductions I've seen in the Aperture books.

I have only used really old Azo (from the 70s if I remeber correctly), which I gave to Michael Smith when he and Paula exhibited in my hometown. I didn't get very good results from the Azo I had for a variety of reasons, few of which can be attributed to the paper, but Smith and Chamalee's prints were wonderful, and certainly make a good case for their working methods. I have found the Ilford papers very good as well, and I'm still working through some graded Gallerie Ilfobrom. Agfa is my primary paper; developed in Dektol; Tri-X film, developed in HC-110. I try to keep it simple, but even so, I have much to learn about what can be done with these products.

Perhaps I need to work with the Forte more - try different developers and/or ratios - Dektol 1:3, etc.

Thanks again.

Brian Vuillemenot
18-Mar-2005, 11:05
I can't recommend this paper- it's just not right to kill elephants for our photographic needs!

tim atherton
18-Mar-2005, 11:08
Have you tried Agfa Neutal WA withthe Forte? I'm just packing up to move and don't have my notebooks here, but I think it works best if the temperature is something about the "normal" 20c I don't remeber exactly offhand - 25c, 28c or somethign like that

It gives a very nice look


tim atherton
18-Mar-2005, 11:12
Ha - found it

Neutol WA @ 1:7 don't let the temperature drop below 68f (best probably around 70f) - I find the nice richeness, especially in the blacks if the developer temperature drops below 68f

Very very nice for contact prints


tim atherton
18-Mar-2005, 11:13
Should be "I find it loses the nice richeness, especially in the blacks if the developer temperature drops below 68f "


Richard Littlewood
18-Mar-2005, 12:05
I've found all Forte semi-matt papers dry a little disappointingly. The darkest areas seem if any thing to lighten a bit, and even selenium won't get them wet looking again. The gloss versions are really good though. I,ve got some of that Forte ivory based paper that apparently has a 'natural' surface finish, that is supposed to be 'shinier' than semi-matt, but not at all glossy. Havn't tried it yet but looking foreward to it. I'll probably use D-163 (home made)

18-Mar-2005, 16:20
I've used the Bergger Variable CB Style Warm Ivory paper with Neutol WA. Can't recall a big problem with dark tones. It should be similar to your Forte. Another paper to try is the Oriental VC Warmtone. Semi-glossy with a base not quite as cream as the Ivory. I've found the Ilford Warmtone to have more of a cream base compared to Agfa MCC glossy but I have heard that the Agfa semi-matt is supposed to have a different and creamier base. I have been using the Neutol WA for these papers. It may be worth a try.

18-Mar-2005, 16:31
You might try split-filtering. When I first tried this paper, I was very disappointed that any print with good, deep blacks also had muddy highlights. I was using (and still use) Dektol at 1:2 dilution, but I eventually found that a principal exposure with a Kodak #2 or #2-1/2 Polycontrast filter, plus a short exposure with the #4 filter, did the trick. Generally, with my negatives/ light source/technique the #4 exposure is about 10%--15% of the main exposure. The usual procedure is to get the mid/high tones right with only the single #2 or #2-1/2, and then back off the main exposure by a second or so and give twice that amount with the #4. Crude, but it seems to work.

Dry-down changes with this paper seem to be fairly dramatic, so the final test strips are dried with a hot air gun before critical examination. I haven't been toning my prints, so you should take this into account as well.

For what it is worth, most of my negatives are FP4 developed in PMK; Tri-X in HC-110 would probably require some adjustment to the printing technique.

Walt Bala
19-Mar-2005, 16:36
I have used Forte Polywarmtone Plus and cannot control the "D -Max." The following is contained within the Forte paper instructions: "Extended times (fixer times) may result in a decrease in D-Max and/or bleaching of highlights." This may apply to fixer but after weeks of inconsistent test exposures/prints with varying "D-Max" readings (measured on an X-Rite 500 series spectrodensitometer), I started to suspect there was more to the story. As it turns out, an experienced photographer freind also had trouble with the Polywarmtone Plus. The problem was that simply washing the print for extended times also would "bleach" the D-Max and produce grey blacks. Paraphrasing my friend, he could not wash the paper (keep it in a holding tank with running water) for more that a few hours after which all was lost. However, the most disturbing aspect to this paper is that I could not ever clear all the unexposed silver out of the paper. I followed the procedure outlined by Richard J. Henery in his book "Controls in Black and White Photography" second edition, page 114. Using other papers, given my skills, techniques and equipment, I could always clear the silver out of the paper and produce more consistent results.