Analog ‘filters’

Three silver gelatin prints from the same 4×5 negative (Ilford Delta 100), and two different toning techniques, which could probably be replicated in photoshop using filters, but were done the archaic way:

print on Fomatone warmtone paper, no additional toning.
print on Fomatone warmtone paper, plus selenium toning, and bleaching with ferricyanide.

Made famous by Ansel Adams (to the best of my knowledge), selenium increases the archival quality of the print, and has varied toning effects depending on the paper used, the dilution of the chemical to water, and the time spent in the chemical bath. Also increases the contrast, which was furthered with the use of the ferricyanide (literally an in-and-out dip into a chemical bath).

print on Fomatone warmtone paper, plus selenium toning, bleaching, and tea toning.

About as simple as it sounds – after toning and bleaching, brewing black tea and bathing the print in it. The results varied greatly depending on the temperature of the tea – the hotter the tea, generally the darker the stain. Sometimes the paper did not like the tea, and would only soak it up in splotches, which can be seen a little in the lower-right area of the print (it was only a test print). Got the idea from photographer Tom Baril, who started as one of the printers for the famous Robert Mapplethorpe, and developed into an incredible photographer of his own.

I have one edition of the first image matted and hanging on a wall, if anyone is interested in purchasing. Dimensions of the print are 6 and 3/4″  x 9″. There is also a 5″ x  7″ version of the tea toned print matted and ready to go.

8 thoughts on “Analog ‘filters’

    1. Thank you. Maybe the process as a whole is more intimate and rewarding, but as far as toning goes, it’s more time-consuming than complicated. Also, I envy your never having to smell the selenium – it’s terrible.

  1. I’m inspired by your process as well. It reminds me of my dark room days. I am currently interested in learning how to take digital pin hole camera images…but I wonder if digital pin hole cameras will feel as authentic as the “real” ones do. We’ll see. This is a way down the road, yet.

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