• Grant Handgis

Additions and Upgrades

It was two and a half years ago I built my custom darkroom, and it has been fully two years that I have struggled to come up with consistent, quality digital negatives. That has everything to do with the printer. I didn't have the right one, and the ones that would be good candidates had tripled in price and I have a hard time justifying the expenditure of $1000 to print negatives. That's just me, and my budget. Recently, however, the Trickster has smiled upon my person, in my plight of printer need, with a in the box new Epson Artisan 1430 right there on my screen, near the original manufacturer's price. It now sits within arm's reach, rolling out the most beautiful negatives I could have imagined. Every time.

Yesterday I returned from a trip to an old friends house in Phoenix to slice 6" off the bottom of my UV printer, reducing the print height of the light source to printing frame distance by roughly half, and that has reduced the print time a good amount. I only need two test strips now to fine tune that print time. I have also had to switch from the Pictorico acetate film (8 1/2x11) to Arista acetate film due to there not being any Pictorico anywhere in the country it seems, until next month when shipments from japan are slated to arrive, although my back order through B&H is way down the order list that is a month before my order date.

FYI, Arista is the brand of Freestyle Photography, which, along with Bostick & Sullivan, should be stock investments for me, considering how much money I've handed out to both businesses. I have used Arista before and it is very nice acetate film, at 7 mil thickness, compared to Pictorico's 5.5 mil sheets. Both are excellent. I tend to stick with a product when it works well, consistently. I will now likely stay with Arista. The cut sheet film I use with my Burke & James 5x7 is their Arista EDU ISO 200 film. Very nice choice for photographing in the southwest, with red spectrum light.

I am approximately halfway through the fourth photo book in the "Alchemist's Guide:" series, this one on palladium printing, with a section on the Na2 (double sodium) platinum/palladium printing. The last two posts showing the Adobe doorway images were of the Na2 process. Two of the likely six to eight prints I will make for this portfolio, which constitutes the final portfolio to be printed as an edition. The portfolios are all images I have wanted to print for many years, without avail, until the creation of the darkroom. The portfolios of these images have all been printed in different mediums; salted paper, Kallitype, palladium and platinum/palladium (Na2), gum dichromate and gum over palladium, respectively, each representing a representative book in the series, respectively. I already have two full portfolios of gum and gum over palladium prints, which will be the examples in the fifth and final book of the series. Both of these books will be printed with the interior pages in coated stock, for good image representation.

When the final prints are made for this platinum/palladium portfolio I will begin scaling up a bit, making 11x14 prints, beginning with silver printing, as toned Kallitype prints, either gold toned or palladium toned, depending on how I want to shape and color the final image. Also silver is seriously cheap compared to palladium now, and I happen to have a good amount of silver on hand. I can replicate the look of palladium, or platinum/palladium, toning a printed Kallitype, developed in sodium acetate.. The gold toner makes the image very close to the platinum look, sans the steely blue middle tones, which are a bit grayer. Also, toning a Kallitype print, developed in sodium citrate (warm toned developer), then toned in palladium, which then replaces the silver salts with palladium salts, thereby altering the silver print to a palladium print; AKA the Poor Man's Palladium. Something done regularly in the early twentieth century.

There will be new images to post, tomorrow. Today is a Not Doing Day, gathering energy and preparing the constitution to begin making my best creative efforts yet. And that is the point for me. I have no illusions of grandeur, fame and fortune for making these prints. Serious printers know of the time and energy involved in pursuing a creative course for their work. It is to be the best printer one can be. The rest unfolds in interesting ways, not always to the advantage of the printer. In time though, quality prints will be recognized as such, although, usually after said printer is no longer around.


g. Michael Handgis Photography


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