View Full Version : Carbon Prints in New England ?

Ken Lee
11-Dec-2011, 19:48
I'd like to see some Carbon prints, and I live in Massachusetts.

Does anyone around here have any - or know of any on display ? Or a way to see some ? Driving to New York or Boston is doable.

Having made Pt/Pd prints and been frustrated by the (comparatively) low dMax, I am interested in the Carbon process, because it appears to have even greater longevity than Pt/Pd, and greater dMax too, close to that of Silver prints. (See http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processes/carbon-carbro/the-carbon-transfer-process)

I like inkjet images, and while bronzing and metamerism can be controlled, the issue of longevity never really goes away.

Thanks !

11-Dec-2011, 22:08
George Eastman House

11-Dec-2011, 23:11
Ken, would you be using camera negatives or digital negs (inkjet)? If you can track down any work by Sandy King, he has been working with digital negatives for carbon printing for awhile. He is on the East Coast.

PM sent (may have been email)


Oren Grad
11-Dec-2011, 23:15
Ken, it's probably too short notice, but -


Ken Lee
12-Dec-2011, 05:11
Thank you Oren. I'd love to take a workshop, after I've had a chance to see what the medium is capable of.

By the way, are we limited to papers of rather rough texture, as we are with Pt/Pd ?

John Jarosz
12-Dec-2011, 05:58
No, fixed out photo paper is a very popular final support for carbon transfer. Carbon allows prints made to a very unconventional appearance or one that is very similar to silver gelatin prints.

Ken Lee
12-Dec-2011, 06:29
Do you mean photo paper that has been passed through a bath of Fixer ?

Erik Larsen
12-Dec-2011, 07:01
Do you mean photo paper that has been passed through a bath of Fixer ?

That is correct Ken.

Andrew O'Neill
12-Dec-2011, 08:13
Hi Ken,

You can print on almost anything provided it has been sized. I learnt carbon transfer printing on fixed out matte fibre-based paper, but this was just too blashemous an act for me! I now print on cheap Rising Stonehenge paper (very little texture) sized with a matte acrylic polymer.
Check out Sandy King's Yahoo Carbon Group:

My video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmpTgDlsr3o

If you like, I could send you a scrap print...


Ken Lee
12-Dec-2011, 08:25
Thanks - I'll contact you offline.

12-Dec-2011, 12:56
Choosing the paper and sizing method for each print is a joy. I dont like acrylic or resin coated paper but rod sized watercolour papers are beautiful and can range from glossy to a more subtle lustre.

12-Dec-2011, 14:34
Unlike many processes that have a certain look there is no one look to carbon prints. They may be of any color, on any suitably subbed surface (paper, metal, wood), have a high gloss or low gloss look, and have great relief or no relief. So keep this in mind whenever looking at the carbon prints in a specific collection or the work of one printer.

I don't favor any specific paper over another. Some images benefit from the gloss, Dmax and relief potential of fixed out silver gelatin papers, others look better on sized water color papers. And even within on category of papers the look of a particular image can vary a great deal. Over the years I have been gifted with, and have purchased, many old silver papers for printing in carbon. It is amazing how different the look of a carbon print can be on different papers, even of the same type, say F surface glossy paper.

As a general rule, however, most of my prints fall into one of two categories: 1) those that depend on detail and relief, and these images generally work better on fixed out silver papers, and 2) those that have large even tonal areas where detail is not essential to convey the spirit of the scene, and these images generally work better on sized art papers.

Sandy King

Andrew O'Neill
12-Dec-2011, 17:00
mdm, what do you mean by resin coated? Do you mean RC papers? And when you say rod sized, do you mean sized with gelatin? This is such a personalized process...

Steve Sherman
12-Dec-2011, 17:17
Last year Sandy King did a day long hands on demo here in central CT for the New England Large Format Photography Collective. Very informative and striking results.

The hardest part seemed to me would likely be the easiest part for you and that is designing a digital negative to effect the correct contrast.


Ken Lee
12-Dec-2011, 17:53
When I discovered that I had missed his presentation, I was crushed. Oh well.. I do plan to participate this year !

12-Dec-2011, 19:56
The demo last year at the New England Large Format Photography Collective was a lot of fun for me, and I am grateful it turned out so well. It is quite a challenge doing a carbon demo in a new work space, especially when the extra complication of digital negatives is thrown in.

A factor that has to be taken into account with carbon printing is that the work flow takes a lot more time than that of other processes. It is usually possible to make a test print and get feed back for correction in just a few minutes with silver gelatin. And even with pt/pd one can usually get a good test in less than 20-30 minutes from coating to a print that one can evaluate for first corrections. In carbon it takes at least two or three hours to get an initial test print. So productivity in printing has to be considered with a totally new perspective, a large dose of patience is an important prerequisite.


12-Dec-2011, 20:00
Is it possible, or even planned, to do a similar offering somewhere in the southeast US any time in the forseeable future?


12-Dec-2011, 20:22
Is it possible, or even planned, to do a similar offering somewhere in the southeast US any time in the forseeable future?



Possibly. I am involved with an art center run by the city of Clemson (not the university!) that has a nice space for workshops and one of the goals of the center is that Sam Wang and I will offer alternative workshops in the space. We have had several meetings about acquiring the needed equipment and at this point the project looks very promising.

I teach one-on-one carbon workshops out of my home in SC but there is not enough space in my work area for more than a couple of people so group workshops here are out of the question.


Jim Fitzgerald
12-Dec-2011, 20:29
Sandy is right on when it comes to getting feedback on printing carbon. Unless one is printing a negative that they have printed before You still have a lot of time involved.

The rewards are many though.

Showing a group is a very good thing and i am going to try to put something together in Southern California for those who may be interested. I too teach out of my home in a one on one situation. Having the space is the problem if I try to do more than one or two.

Ken Lee
23-Dec-2011, 15:59
Thanks to those who contacted me off-line and sent some sample prints and other helpful instructional materials !!!

I'm hooked. :)

23-Dec-2011, 16:31
Good on you. I look forward to seeing some of your recent trees/forest/water pictures printed. I think you will see that a 4x5 with your 200 Nikkor M will make pretty darn nice QTR enlargements with more detail than you can imagine.