User Name Remember Me? Bromoil process - supplies. Any bromoil people on FADU? Where do you get your supplies? Find all posts by Fintan. Dave miller.
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Revised 1 October Preliminary Notes on Bromoil by Ed Buffaloe. Before these books were published, the most recent book available was Geoffrey. Whalley's Bromoil and Transfer , published in His book can still be found used, but often commands a high price due to its scarcity.
There are so many variables in the bromoil process, that it is rare for any two bromoilists to follow exactly the same procedure in detail. However, there are recommended starting points that have not changed much in the century since the process was invented. Virtually any silver gelatin paper could be utilized in the early days of bromoil, though the fast bromide papers were generally preferred. At some point, manufacturers began to superharden the gelatin in their papers as well as make papers with very smooth, glossy surfaces.
Bromoilists found such papers more difficult to ink, so manufacturers began making special bromoil papers with non -superhardened emulsions and matte or semi-matte surfaces. In addition, almost any silver-gelatin paper with a semi-matte or matte surface can be utilized, following the procedure outlined below. To start with, find the exposure that gives full detail in the most significant areas of the print. The general rule of thumb is to double that exposure to make a print suitable for bromoil.
For most superhardened papers, doubling the exposure is a good place to begin. With experience, you will be able to tell when a print is not dark enough--or too dark. This can vary from paper to paper. With variable contrast papers, Gene Laughter recommends using one contrast grade lower than normal for most prints. This is because the bromoil process tends to increase contrast. Using a lower contrast grade is not usually necessary with pyro negatives, because the yellow stain acts as a contrast reduction filter--in fact, sometimes I have to use one to two grades higher than normal contrast for pyro negatives.
Development should take place with continuous agitation in a very dilute paper developer such as Dektol , Ethol LPD , Kodak D , or in a compensating developer such as Ansco Some workers even use Rodinal at or , though I have not tried it.
The high dilution of the developer or use of a compensating developer is necessary to keep the low values from blocking up. This developer should be diluted with water for use. Dilution may be adjusted as necessary, from to For normal prints, I use For bromoils I use Many old bromoilists state that you can use any developer but their favorite is an amidol formula--of which there are many. Amidol was and still is favored by many bromoilists because it causes no staining or tanning of the gelatin.
As a test, I developed one print in Dektol and another in the amidol formula given below, using the exact same exposure and development times. These two prints inked identically--I could tell no difference between them. If you wish to use an amidol formula, I can recommend the one given by David Lewis, which is simple and quite old.
Lewis recommends lesser dilutions with or ml. I have tried using factorial development, as is recommended in some old manuals, but ultimately I found that a development time of about three minutes seems to be optimal with Dektol or D For soft working developers such as R77M , Ansco , Amidol, or higher dilutions of Dektol, I develop for 4 minutes.
With Dektol or D and graded papers I sometimes find it useful to use water bath development in order to keep the low values from over-developing: I agitate continuously and allow the blacks in the image to emerge fully, which usually takes 50 to 60 seconds, then I remove the print to a tray of plain water where I let it sit with no agitation for 60 seconds. Then I alternate 10 seconds of agitation in the developer with 60 seconds sitting still in the water bath until 5 to 6 minutes have elapsed.
If you don't allow the blacks to emerge fully at the beginning of development, they will ink unevenly. Stop Bath. Development should be stopped either with a plain water stop for prints developed in amidol or a diluted acetic acid stop. The time in the stop bath is 30 seconds, with continuous agitation. I then rinse both sides of the print under running water before continuing to the fix--this keeps the plain hypo from becoming too acidic.
For use mix 70ml A, 70ml B, and 30ml C with water to a total volume of 1 liter. The use of distilled water obviates the need for an acid to clear precipitate, though David Lewis indicates that a drop or two of strong sulphuric acid will speed the bleaching process. I do not add any acid. All these solutions will keep indefinitely in brown glass bottles. Today this is the most widely-used bleach formula, though there are a number of variations. One liter of working solution will bleach ten 8x10 prints or five 11x14 prints.
Do not print a black border around your prints, as this will reduce the efficacy of the bleach. The optimum time with this bleach is 8 minutes, but don't be afraid to continue to 10 or even 15 minutes if necessary. The copper sulfate solution is the bleaching agent, while the dichromate solution is the tanning agent which hardens the gelatin.
It is possible to separate the bleaching and tanning processes, though in general I find that a properly exposed and developed print will bleach in less time than it takes to tan, and so it is a waste of time to separate them.
But separating the solutions can be educational and is probably worth doing at least once. Simply mix one solution with 70ml A and 70ml B in a liter of water, and another with 70ml B and 30ml C in a liter of water. When I did this, I learned to tell the difference between a matrix that has not been bleached enough and a matrix that has not been tanned enough. The optimal bleach time seems to be about 4 to 7 minutes, but some prints require 10 minutes or more to tan fully. An alternative bleach is the Venn two solution bleach.
Venn probably did more research on bleaching and tanning of bromoils than anyone else. They are easy to mix because you can use the three solutions from the Trevor Jones formula, above. Solution 1 can be used repeatedly, until bleaching times are too long.
Solution 2 should be mixed fresh for each use. Mix the used tanning solution with used fix or used hypo clearing agent and a little sodium sulfite or sodium bisulfite before pouring down the drain--this helps convert the dichromate to a less dangerous form. Wash the print thoroughly until all traces of the yellow bichromate color is gone from the water.
The bleached matrix must be refixed at this point. If this fixing step is omitted, the matrices will slowly turn grey when exposed to light. Again, wash the print thoroughly to remove residual fix--at least a half-hour with several complete changes of water.
Acid Bath. The fixed matrix has a slight grey-green color, caused by residual chromium oxide. Most modern workers omit this step. David Lewis recommends an acid bath after fixing, rather than before, as was often recommended by early bromoilists.
More than one writer on bromoil has stated that the acid bath allows the matrix to accept ink more easily--however, my own experience is exactly the opposite-- the acid bath softens the gelatin so much that I find the matrix very difficult to ink.
I have noticed that sometimes the grey-green color shows through in delicate highlights, such as are often seen in nudes, so I sometimes use an acid bath on such prints, but I do it after the print has been inked and the ink has dried. It usually takes less than a minute to remove the chrome oxide color. I then wash the print for an hour to remove the acid. Drying and Superdrying. Air dry for 6 hours and superdry as before. Soaking the Matrix. The matrix must be soaked in water to swell the gelatin before inking.
Since room temperature varies considerably in different locations, as does water quality, each bromoilist must determine his or her own soak times. Colder water requires longer soak times. In reality, water temperature is more important than soak time, but for beginners I recommend room temperature for a predetermined time.
With most papers, you can usually feel the difference between swollen portions and hardened portions. The swollen gelatin feels slippery, while the hardened gelatin feels rough. Inking the Matrix. I won't write much on inking methods, as many more experienced people than myself have done so at length, and their writings are available online. Read them carefully. It is very helpful to watch an experienced bromoilist ink a matrix.
The matrix must be surface dried after soaking and before inking. First, I place it face down on a piece of blotting paper or several layers of paper towels and dry the back.
There must not be any surface moisture on the back of the print, or it will cause uneven inking as the matrix dries. When the back has been wiped down, I place the matrix directly on a piece of glass and dry the front of the print with soft paper towels.
Because the gelatin is swollen and delicate, it must not be abraded or treated roughly. Traditional workers use a chamois for drying the print. A very quick method for getting started with inking is to use a large boar bristle brush and ink the entire matrix until it is completely covered, with no regard for high or low values.
Remove the matrix from the inking area and place it on a flat surface. The wet roller redistributes the ink very quickly--it increases contrast considerably and removes almost all ink from the high values. At this point, the print can be resoaked and the highlights inked appropriately. For a lesser increase in contrast, roll the print underwater. Be careful not to crease the wet matrix, as this is very easy to do under water.
RIP, Gene Laughter
User Name Remember Me? Niall Bell. Bromoil - any 2nd hand copies? I was internet searching for the book 'Bromoil ' by G Laughter.
Introduction to Oil and Bromoil printing
Feb 18, 1. Today, I found out that Gene Laughter rhymes with "daughter" passed away on February 14th. He was a master photographer and bromoil artist. By the time I got interested in the process, he had quit doing workshops, so I had to content myself with purchasing his book, "Bromoil " and a video he made on the the process showing techniques on "hopping," as it is often called by those artists.