Mechanisms of controlling colour and aesthetic appearance of the photographic salt print

Young, E 2008, Mechanisms of controlling colour and aesthetic appearance of the photographic salt print, Masters by Research, School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Mechanisms of controlling colour and aesthetic appearance of the photographic salt print
Author(s) Young, E
Year 2008
Abstract The salt print is an important part of photography, both in its historic value and in the tonal range it can provide. This tonal range is greater than any other photographic printing process available to date attributed to the inherent masking ability of the metallic silver. However the intrinsic production problems have made it a 'forgotten' process. There are five key problems. 1. The difficulties in achieving the potential extensive tonal range. 2. The varying colour of the print. 3. Staining that appears in the print, during and after processing. 4. Instability and longevity of the salt print. 5. Contradictory and inaccurate information in material published on the salt print. Although the emphasis of the research is on exploring and controlling the colour and tonal range, the staining problems and stability of the print are also addressed. The materials used for contact negatives today vary in both capture and output, from analogue film processed in the traditional wet darkroom to a variety of transparent film printed from digital files. Inadequate density and tonal range can affect all types of negatives. To provide sufficient exposure time for the salt prints extended tonal range adjustments to the negative were necessary. These long exposures then converted sufficient silver salts to the image making metallic silver, utilising the intrinsic self-masking process. Ultimately this research has uncovered ways to control colour and tonal range and certain aesthetic qualities of the salt print, while simultaneously resolving some of the conflicts in published information. Accurate and consistent methods of processing eliminate staining, providing some stability to the print. The activities and steps carried out to make a salt print are manual; precise duplication is therefore almost unattainable. Nevertheless, although tests on a densitometer may display numeric differences, visual differences are barely noticeable.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre School of Applied Sciences
Keyword(s) Photographic processing
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