View Full Version : Cyan over fixed RC paper

Ricardo de Oliveira
06-20-2014, 08:57 PM
I'm glad I had found few assorted boxes of expired photographic paper in my "dead archives" . I had just experimented pinhole paper negatives and now following -more or less- the instructions from " Vouloir C'est Pouvoir", Craig Koshyk's e-book, I had just printed a nice cyanotype. I'm really surprised by the first results. Reproduction here don't even get close to the real thing. The sharpness and the reached dmax is something that I always had aimed for . I've been sizing different papers with gelatin, albumen or PVA,trying to get the emulsion in the surface rather then embbeded in the paper fibers. But nothing compares to fixed out rc paper, some tween 20 and patience. Coating evenly is the tricky part, as you can see, but pay the efforts.


Barry Kirsten
06-22-2014, 02:56 AM
A really nice image, Ricardo! I've never heard of fixed out photographic paper used for cyanotypes. It obviously works very well indeed. I've often been disappointed with fuzzy cyanos because of absorption of the image into the paper. Thank you for the information.


06-22-2014, 03:52 PM
How are you coating the sensitizer? I am very interested in this method, as I have a big roll of FB photo paper that I have been using for carbon printing. I typically use a glass rod for coating cyanotype on paper - will this work on fixed out photo paper?

Ricardo de Oliveira
06-22-2014, 06:30 PM
Hi all,
I had worked the solution with a foam brush. The point here is that you don't have to be parcimonious. Generous amounts of solution and vigorous pressure with the brush for more or less 10 minutes until the gelatin surface starts to soften and absorb the liquid. In Craig's book he suggests a two step operation:first with a rod over a slightly warmed paper then foam brush wit some surfactant and, then, wiping the excess. I used a one step operation, foam brush only, room temperature - brazilian room temperature- with three drops of surfactant and let it dry in a horizontal surface.
Next time I will damp the paper with warm water to soften the gelatin, let it dry for a while then apply the solution with the foam brush.
Look for a free pdf dowload of Vouloir C'est Pouvoir book. Lots of info there and some amazing images too

06-22-2014, 08:30 PM
Thank you, Ricardo. I have ordered the book. This sounds like an exciting new possibility, not only for cyanotype, but for the other alt-process prints that i do as well (mainly argyrotype at the present time).

Thanks for the post and for the tantalizing possibilities.

Barry Kirsten
06-23-2014, 02:15 AM
Very interesting indeed. I read Craig's preview and started looking at the range of baryta papers. It occurs to me that baryta inkjet paper may also be a possibility. It's cheaper than photographic paper because of the absence of silver bromide emulsion. An example I found at B & H is Harman's Hahnemuhle Gloss Baryta Warmtone 320gsm which is US$110 for a 17"x49' roll. That's economical! I wonder how difficult it would be to coat. Worth looking into, I reckon.


Barry Kirsten
06-23-2014, 04:23 AM
Further thoughts on above... I've read a lot of Mike Ware's writings on alt processes and he's very strong on the negative effects of chemicals in the paper, particularly alkaline buffers, which react badly with iron-based processes. I realise that the baryta coating on photographic paper forms a barrier of sorts between the paper base and the layer where the image is formed, but I don't know the situation with all inkjet papers. It seems to me that they are similar as the image sits on top of the coating with little interaction with the paper base. Perhaps the criteria are different for inkjet and silver halide print surfaces; I don't know, but I think it's worth trying.

06-23-2014, 12:13 PM
I tried cyanotype on some inkjet baryta paper, and the results were terrible. I did not try coating with a brush, but the rod coating did not work. The sensitizer soaked in - it did not sit on top of the paper. In fixed out photo paper, there is a gelatin emulsion layer that the cyanotype sensitizer is wetting out. I think that inkjet baryta paper is not designed to be soaked in water, so that might be problematic as well.

I plan to try carbon printing on the baryta paper, but that is just gelatin sticking to the coating in a transfer situation, not a liquid impregnating a layer of paper.

Ricardo de Oliveira
06-23-2014, 03:48 PM
they speak very favourably about transfers to microporous inkjet papers at the " The Bostick & Sullivan Book of Modern Carbon Printing" paper.
And I'm thinking what a good and old 8x10 neg can do with fixed rc paper...The sample I posted was made out a digi neg from a dslr with 6Mp, printed with an HP printer cheaper than the ink it uses.:rolleyes:

Barry Kirsten
06-23-2014, 05:31 PM
I thought there might be a catch somewhere. Well, how about a gelatin size layer on top of the inkjet paper? If carbon tissue takes on baryta inkjet paper a gelatin size might do the trick. If I had some I'd give it a try.

Ricardo de Oliveira
06-23-2014, 10:49 PM
What catch?
The trouble with sizing with gelatin is that you have to harden it with more or less nasty chemicals. I don't have a proper lab. And living in an small apartment, no outside area for toxic fumes.

Barry Kirsten
07-03-2014, 10:05 PM
I've checked with Hahnemühle in Germany. Their Harman Gloss Baryta Warmtone is microporous, as required in a paper for carbon transfer according to Bostick & Sullivan. I think it's worth a try as a base for iron-based processes once gelatin sized. My attraction to this paper, although I've never used it, is firstly cheaper price compared with fixed out silver gelatin photographic paper, and secondly, I love warm tone images on a warm white base. My all-time favourite warm tone paper was Agfa Record Rapid, which has gone the way of the Dodo and the dead parrot. :)

For hardening gelatin, I know formalin is toxic, but it appears to be the most reliable for the job; could you use it outside to reduce health risks? I believe there are other less dangerous substances such as glyoxal (which has fewer risks, but I've never used it) and chrome alum, which is fairly harmless. I feel pretty confident that the right inkjet paper could be a cost effective and very suitable base for iron-based prints.