Week 21: Salt Printing

About a month ago I participated in a salt printing workshop here in Denver. Salt printing is an alternative process were hand produced printing paper is contact printed using the UV light from the sun. It is a pretty touchy and difficult process, very prone to failure, and requiring a very dense negative.

DonaldsWorkshopResults005

These two images are contact printed from 4×5 negatives that I had previously exposed. The first is of Union in downtown Denver, and the second is of a local historic structure near my home.

DonaldsWorkshopResults004

The printing paper is created by first coating water color paper with a salted gelatin base on which silver nitrate is painted. The paper is then dried before placing it in a contact frame with a negative on top. The frame is then placed in direct sunlight where it is exposed until it “looks done.” The exposed print is then developed with rough agitation, fixed, and toned in a gold toner, giving it the strong brown color. The finished print is very delicate, so the final step is to “wax” the image with bee’s wax to protect the surface.

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2 thoughts on “Week 21: Salt Printing

  1. These are beautiful. I’ve been experimenting on my own with salt printing and I’ve found that getting the chemistry just right is the hardest part. Various writers advocate various additives but I think the simple salted paper plus silver nitrate is the best, followed by toners if desired. I have a few prints I love and a lot I don’t but I plan to persevere when I have time. I love alt processes!

    Liked by 1 person

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