OK. So I may need an intervention here soon. As I noted in my last entry, had a stormy weekend so I decided to go through my negs and do a little Lith printing. For two days I played all over my dark room reorienting myself to the process. Each step along the way I had to really rethink things and then dive in and enjoy the experimentation. Lith printing will surely send you over the moon and it’ll bring you crashing back down again. Truth is, Lith printing requires SOOOOO much of YOU in the process I cannot really think of anything else that comes close, and yes, I’m including alt processes as well. With Lith printing you’re exercising judgement the entire time and you’re making decisions for outcomes many steps off into the future; always praying you got it right.
So, what’s the problem? Well, it was a blast and I’ve not stopped since. I pulled out my copy of Rudman’s The Master Photographer’s Lith Printing Course and locked into Moersche’s website, the two BEST sources for Lith printing, and away I’ve gone. This will be the second weekend I’ve decided to just stay home and print. Yeah, it’s that much fun!
So, sitting here with a real sense of accomplishment, enjoying my just reward…..
I figured I’d share a little. Let me go ahead and get some of the technical details out of the way….
Paper: Slavich Unibrom 160 BP. I love this paper. Some don’t. I do! Adorama is the only place that carries a great supply.
Stop: Ilford Rapid Fixer
Fixer: Photographer’s Formulary TF4 (you bet’cha)
Toner: Selenium (Kodak) and Gold Chloride (Bostick & Sullivan)
The joy of Lith printing rests in the latitude you have in making your print. Every single component of the process matters and makes a difference and changes in any one of them can deliver completely different results. Here’s a couple that make this point. Specifics to each are in the associated notes with the photo.
These two prints look worlds apart but they’re not at all. They come out of the same process with essentially the same stuff going into them. In fact, the density of both negatives I’d rate as approx the same! Every step of the way from your paper choice, exposure times, developer mix and then concentration to the toning you do each of which have their own color-life-cycles if you will and then of course when you combine them, the results are endless in terms of variety.
In the case of the bottom print, I decided to go for high impact with the selenium and to just wait until the highlights popped and cleared and then I put the print through gold chloride and stopped it at that point when gold chloride moves into a “gun metal gray” stage. I really wanted to get that sense of a charcoal drawing which it absolutely does have. For those who don’t know, with the gold chloride the next step would have been for the blues to start to enter into the equation. Slavich paper does not do a great job at retaining the wonderful browns of the Lith process amplified possibly in Selenium, as it moves toward blues.
So, where does this leave me? I ain’t gonna stop! I’m hooked in a bad way and more than ever before. I’m going to be Lith printing like a mad man for the foreseeable future! To think it all started with a stormy day!