Tag Archives: albumen

Dry Plate and Albumen printing

It has been a while since I posted anything on my blog as life has been pretty hectic lately.  I’ve finally finished my degree and have been accepted into a Masters programme so next year it’s going to get a little ‘crazy’.  In the last couple of months I’ve taken a couple of alternative photographic processes workshops at The Analogue Laboratory.  Firstly, there was the Dry Plate workshop where we learned how to make our own emulsion on glass that once dry, can be placed into the camera.  Initially we used a box brownie and then upgraded to a Speed Graphic using different sizes of glass.  Not all the plates were successful…it is definately a trial and error process.

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‘Waratah’ Bromochloride emulsion (ISO6) on dry glass plate

The above plate was one of the better outcomes from the workshop.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a great scanner so the photo is not that clear but you get the idea.  Making the emulsion is quite time consuming but if you make a large enough batch, you can coat quite a few plates (depending on the size) and store them until use.

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The plate was then printed using the Albumen process.  As many of you that dabble in alternative processes already know, albumen is the white part of an egg.  Good quality printmaking paper is coated in the albumen solution and left to dry.  The paper is then soaked in 70% denatured alcohol to harden the albumen to the paper.  Once dry, it is coated in a 12-15% silver nitrate solution and again, left to dry.  Then it’s just a matter of choosing your negative (glass plate, large format negative or digital negative) to use.  The negative is placed on top of the paper, put into a contact frame and then placed into the sun for the exposure.  Albumen printing is not a quick process as the albumen solution needs to made at least a week prior to use.  Results vary depending on the type of negative used and the exposure time.  That’s the fun with alternative processes…it may be time consuming but the results are worth it.

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Filed under alternative processes, personal work, workshops