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Alt-photo, my Fox-Talbot moment.

August 26, 2007

By last Thursday I had received my chemicals (thanks Mike at Artcraft) to start working on salt-prints (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_Talbot). By the way, these are not to be confused with Calotypes which are the developing-out paper negatives invented by Talbot.

By Friday night I had gotten hold of the small 100ml brown bottle I needed for my silver nitrate solution. Forgot to order some of those when I placed an order for other glassware. Nuts. Thanks for the bottle and rods by the way, Mr. Anderson. So now to work!

After salting several 5×7 sheets of good paper (Cranes Byron Weston Diploma Parchment Uncoated Paper) I started to mix up my silver nitrate solution. That was just about a disaster. See, for a salt print to work, you need to make silver chloride. But silver chloride is insoluble in water so the trick is to lay down some kind of chloride (sodium chloride in my case) on the paper then after that is dry, use silver nitrate in solution to coat the paper a second time. This forms sliver chloride in among the paper fibers and sodium nitrate which will wash away later. Sounds easy. But I just about screwed that up because I had poured my excess salting solution (2% NaCl) into an empty distilled water jug. Now I labeled the jug! But just because you label something doesn’t mean you will read the label later. Not paying attention, I grabbed that jug again and poured out 80ml of it in preparation to make my AgNO3. I was just about to pour in the AgNO3 crystals when I saw out of the corner of my eye that the labeled jug was sitting on the counter next to my mixing beaker. CRAP! That would have been rather expensive mistake! I would have made silver chloride in the water and it would just precipitate out!

So, clean out the mixing beaker and start again with distilled water. A fresh, brand new jug! And don’t try to be so cheap to save a 2% solution of NaCl next time!

Anyway, it worked! Sumbitch, it really worked! Example is here : The Monkey Made Me Do It!

So a little Kosher salt, a little potassium citrate, a little Knox gelatin and some silver nitrate, we gots ourselves a picture!

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