My recent passion with analogue (film/negative) photography has given a new route to my photography development process. In a recent workshop at London College of Fashion on Alternative Print Process, it inspired me to experiment my ideas with this very vintage technique. In this process the Liquid Emulsion is painted onto any surface, and then exposed under enlarger and put through chemistry to reveal the images.
Following is the result of my first darkroom process as it progressed.
- Negatives, any format
- Fotospeed LE30 Liquid Emulsion
- Water color Paper 300-350gms
- Paint brushes, various sizes
- Darkroom space – (Lime Grove Campus)
Prepare the paper with liquid emulsion (Fotospeed LE30).
Before we begin using the emulsion, we have to make sure the emulsion bottle is temperature controlled between 35-40 degree Celcius (or to as per instructions by manufacturer) to bring the liquid to its correct density.
If the liquid is too thin it will create streaks on the paper when exposed. If the liquid is too think it will not spread properly on the surface and will have larger concentrated area of emulsion, which when exposed to light will have different exposure levels compared to the rest of the surface area, in another words the area with more emulsion base will become darker.
Cut the paper as you require, in any shapes, try experimenting with different formats.
Precautions: The liquid emulsion bottle should only be opened under safe light and under no circumstances you should leave it unopened.
Paint the Emulsion
When the emulsion is at right temperature, pour it into a small beaker, and apply the liquid onto the paper surface immediately with the appropriate brush.
- Paint one side of the paper.
- Apply it gently with longer brush strokes.
- Keep consistence pressure of brush for even application
When finished with painting the emulsion, keep the paper in dark dry place for it to dry naturally or use hair dryer from a bit of distance to dry the paper stock.
Once the paper is dried, keep it in dark black bag. At this stage you can prepare extra paper which can be used at later stage as long they are kept in dark.
Expose the paper
When ready with the enlarger settings using selected negative, lay the paper on the easel and expose the light. Do test strips or one test shot to determine the correct exposure value for final print. The rest of the process is same as one would do with the normal paper printing.
This whole experience is new to me so please do understand this is as learning to drive for the first time. I have no idea what chemicals to use as I have only used automatic processing machines up until now. It will be an interesting journey to document the process of learning and developing this technique into my practice.