GG Peney, London 2014
Lifelong Audio, London 2014
Noname, London 2015
Noname + the MPC, London 2015
Jimmy James + "Setting Sun", London 2013
GG Peney & Karl Sage, London 2014
Confucius MC, Forest Hill, London 2014
Skams Twice, Forest Hill, London 2014
Stig & Fuji + Bonafide
Kashmere and Jehst + Dolph Lundgren
Various photographs from between 2013 - 2015.
..the dark infectious lith printing process
..with old brown + pyro
..lith printing was always the one for me, compared to conventional tray printing it seemed more like painting with chemicals. Lith is a much more fluid way of printing, whereas conventional tray printing attains the tones through a process of deduction using test strips and various calculating methods to balance exposure, filter grade and development time, balance is key to both, it is the methods to gaining balance that are different.
lith is an infectious process, the bromide paper is over-exposed under the white light. The shadows are governed by agitation in the developer.. as the paper is agitated the blacks begin to 'come through', but as they do the process speeds up and the blacks begin to show and solidify at a faster and faster rate in relation to the gradation of the various mid-tones. This is the 'infectious process'...
... like other processes of chemical printing tones are forged in the enlargers light where the highlights show white without the blacks being either under developed or too dense, whilst retaining mid-tone (although like all printing this is subjective, I always preferred higher contrast lith, I use selenium toner with lith because of the colour it gives through the reaction with the bromide in the paper. It builds a mid-tone cool grey back into the composition)..
the difference with lith comes from an original over-exposure of the image onto paper under the enlargers white light. The invisible image on the paper at the start of development is really a solid black block, all the mid-tones are effectively over exposed to the point of being black. The mid-tone gradation is created at the point that the printer 'pulls the print' rather than as with other printing processes where the mid-tones are worked out through the process of deduction through exposure test strips. I always thought of it like layers of time being layed down on the paper. The darkest areas in print ironically contain the most light, the lightest areas contain, in print process, no light. It's like a negative/ positive dialectic within itself where pulling the print offers the printer the opportunity for involvement into that discussion between light and time., everyone will see the point to pull differently, it's really down to the eye of the printer at that moment!
Lith chemical is also much more unstable than conventional developer, it is mixed to a weaker concentration so oxidation and depletion through the actual printing process happens more quickly, sometimes to the point where print on print are completely different. You can not really control or predict how the same tray of chemical will work from one print to the next, which is what for me was the magic of its fluidity. It forces you to work in a more spontaneous way, print to print and moment to moment, an emphasis entirely on the process. The dev also contains the magic 'old brown', a previously expired and oxidized lith developer that gives lith prints their grainy newspaper quality. if you lith print you are never going to be short of old brown..,
- Distilled Water 750 ml
- Sodioum Metabisulfite 10 g
- Pyrocatechin 50 g
- Phenidone* 2 g
- Potassium Bromide 1 g
- Distilled water to make 1000 ml
- Distilled Water 700 ml
- Potassium Carbonate 750 g
- Distilled water to make 1000 ml
Stock Solution A
Stock Solution B
original Pyrocat HD formula from sandykingphotography.com
...Sandy Kings photography is the kind of imagery that requires you to reassess what you are looking at. The detail frozen in those images could be easily missed. The photographs and particularly the way the images are created allow time to consider the idea that what I was seeing was not just an image of a landscape but the original light captured and rendered through the mind of the photographer and their process of visualization.
I was interested to experiment with the qualities of pyro developers with lith, to see if I could gain a greater understanding into visualization and process flow. I like high contrast lith printing so using pyro to enhance 'contrast possibilities' as the pyro stain acts as a continuously variable filter might develop my process of printing in new ways. I was also interested to see how the use of pyro could work with it's benefits to acutance and reduction to the effects of 'infectious development' in the infectious lith process. I wanted also to try and apply something of that very considered, meticulous type of process used by Sandy King in his landscape work to images shot in a much faster way on the street.. a slow considered process used in conjunction with a fast reactionary way of shooting photographs.
I found only one place where I could get hold of some stock solution Pyrocat HD, The Photographer's Formulary in the United States.
I worked out that it was not really cost effective for the amount of solution when all things considered including import duties etc, added to that I was not entirely sure being a liquid and a chemical that I could even guarantee it successful delivery so when I found the formula above I decided that it was best to just buy the constituent chemicals and mix it myself.
I found it also more effective to buy a distilling kit to be able to distill my own water, bunsen burner, measuring beakers, digital scales, thermometer and storage bottles for both working and stock solution. I mixed 250ml of both stock A and B and was mixing working solutions of 1:1:250.
I found a weaker solution and longer development times with minimal agitation of the film gave better negs and even pyro tanning. The stocks at that dilution were lasting a long time and started of with a pinkish colouration to them but over time oxidation turned them a brown colour. However I found no reduction in the quality of the neg when I used the older to stock to mix working solutions.