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Thread: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attempts.

  1. #1

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    Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attempts.

    I would like to express my sincere thanks to Jim Fitzpatrick in particular and Sandy King who have both given advice and help on my journey into alternative photographic processes and in particular Carbon Transfer Printing.

    I have so much to learn and have been guided fantastically by Jim and his experience and the PDFs he sent me and Sandy and his great document on Carbon Transfer Printing which I have read and digested many times in the last couple of weeks.

    I started by making some Glop following the instructions of Jim and then proceeded to make some Tissues (no I didn't have a virus or depression, that is just what the transfer medium is called).

    Jim warned against complacency and that there were many pitfalls just waiting to trip me up, but before I began each step I read (and re-read) all the instructions for that step until I had them fully off-pat. Jim was also very vociferous in his demands that I keep full and detailed notes as there are many variables within the processes involved that are just waiting for a practitioner to take their eye off the ball.

    Well I started on Saturday with the making of my glop and then coating 4 sheets of synthetic paper with the glop to create my first tissues. This could have gone a bit easier but I did end up with something I could use and left them to dry for a couple of days.

    Next came the sensitising and another new process and chemicals to get to grips with, again, Jim helped me through this part and it was completed without too many issues (apart from spending about an hour in an unvented darkroom using acetone and the raging headache that followed), again there is a period of drying before the next stage can begin, which is the exposure stage.

    The tissue needs to be sandwiched with the negative (using a sheet of Mylar between them to protect the negative) and then inserted into a contact/vacuum frame depending on the size of the tissue to be exposed. It is then placed under a UV light source and a test strip (or experience if you have it) is made to determine the exposure in a similar way as to what happens when traditional silver printing.

    Once the exposure (or test strip) is made the transfer stage takes place, this happens in a cold water bath and the tissue is sandwiched with the final support for the image, in my case this was 'fixed out' RC Multigrade Pearl, the sandwich is then removed from the water and pressed together under pressure which enables the transfer to take place. After a period of time (not less than 30 minutes) the sandwich is released from it's pressure plate and the development can begin.

    The development stage is carried out using hot water at a temperature of between 105 and 120 degrees, the tissue substrate is peeled off and the unhardened gelatine is washed away by the hot water, the carbon that was exposed to UV tissue hardens and is not washed away by the hot water.

    Once development has finished the print is placed in a cold water bath to set the image.

    Anyway, back to my first Carbon Print I am reasonably happy with:


    Carbon 3 by Ed Bray, on Flickr

  2. #2

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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    I love the look of the carbon process...

    --Darin

  3. #3
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    Eddie, I'll cut you some slack on the Fitzpatrick as I am Irish but from the house of Gerald. Understanding this process take a lot of time. Test wedges and many other test can be used to find your end result. I like to see a print right out of the gate. You did a great job and this print is very nice. It is so hard to judge any work that we see on the web but you are on your way.
    Glad I could be of some help.

  4. #4

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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    I'm so sorry Jim, I don't know I called you by the wrong name. Please except my sincere apologies.

  5. #5

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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    That's a fantastic first print! You're well on your way I'd say. My first print was horrible by comparison, frilling, bubbles and all the other problems you can encounter in carbon transfer well done!

  6. #6
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    Eddie, no harm at all. It is not the first time that has happened. I'm glad you are on your way!!

  7. #7

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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Larsen View Post
    That's a fantastic first print! You're well on your way I'd say. My first print was horrible by comparison, frilling, bubbles and all the other problems you can encounter in carbon transfer well done!
    Lot better than my first carbon print also.

    Congratulations, and hope your good work continues.

    Sandy
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
    [url]https://groups.io/g/carbon

  8. #8

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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    Thanks all, just made my second batch of tissues (5), these are much better (except for one). The levelling frame I made works great and the tissue is much more even.

    I have started making another batch of glop too, the gelatine is setting nicely in the fridge. I will keep all the ingredients for the glop the same as before but will add a little Isopropyl to help with the degassing stage. I will sensitise all the tissues at the same time again for this batch, but I will only do the test print when I am ready to spend the time printing, this way it should be more reflective of the actual exposure than it turned out this time.

  9. #9
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    Ed, great to hear. Keep those good notes! You are developing good habits and I know the prints will get better and better.

  10. #10

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    Re: Not sure I can call myself a Carbon Printer yet, very pleased with my first attem

    Well my first attempts are not as successful as yours.
    My prints have way to much contrast and are completely flat without any trace of relief.
    I think I have to use much lower amount of pigment. Will try tonight with much lower pigment load.
    Looks like I have some micro bubbles too, but it's not that important now. First I'll take the contrast, then I can go for bubbles.
    I'm using heavy scratched negative for test so far. If it will stick to tissue I'll not cry.

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