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Electrumtype Kary: Gold-Silver Prints


As I presented in the March/April 2012 issue of View Camera magazine and at the 2013 APIS in Santa Fe, the chrysotype is no longer a grainy, contrasty image, usually red. No longer do you have to humidify paper in the frequently vain hope you will actually get an image. Now you can print gold photographs that are close to platinum in quality. Effortlessly and affordably, with a fine print every time and easily repeated for negative after negative.
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Electrumtype Kary: Gold-Silver Prints

29 Jun 2014 7:43AM   Views : 445 Unique : 337

Electrum is a natural alloy of gold and silver. The Electrumtype Kary is a printing process, which I invented the first weekend in May, in which a partially printed out gold image is fully developed with silver nitrate.

Arches Platine (gray, blue-gray images), hot-press Arches Aquarelle (dark brown, deep purple/brown), Revere Platinum if sized with gelatin, Clearprint 16# vellum. Probably any hot-press paper sized with gelatin will work.

10% solution of gold chloride (Bostick and Sullivan or powder from ArtcraftChemicals)
4% solution of silver nitrate (same sources)
40% Ammonium ferric oxalate (same sources)
1% ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
10% Tetrasodium EDTA (same sources)
Hypo Clear working strength (or 20% sodium sulfite solution diluted 1:9 in water, same sources)
Fixer diluted 1 part fixer in 20 parts water (absolutely no stronger than 1:20)
Optional: corn syrup
Optional: 1% solution nitric acid (jeweler supply gold testing kit, motorcycle repair supplies, chemical supplies -- or just make your own: google make nitric acid ...)

Process for a 4x5 contact print (quadruple the gold, and ammonium ferric ferrous oxalate for an 8x10):
Dissolve 1 gram tetrachloroauric acid (gold chloride) in 9 ml distilled water and top off to 10 ml.
Dissolve 4 grams silver nitrate in 90 ml distilled water and top off to 100 ml. Tip: if water is 90 to 100 degrees F, the silver will dissolve fully and the solution will be clear as water. If the water temperature is lower, the solution will likely be cloudy. Clear it by warming the bottle gently in a deep tray of hot water. Store silver nitrate solution in a stoppered bottle in the dark.
Dissolve .1 gram ascorbic acid in 10 ml distilled water.
Dissolve 4 grams ammonium ferric oxalate in 7 ml distilled water. Top off to 10 ml.
Add 7 drops 1% ascorbic acid to the 40% ammonium ferric oxalate. Shake bottle well to prepare ammonium ferric ferrous oxalate (AFFO).
Mix 1 drop 10% gold with 5 drops AFFO. Brush onto paper.
Place paper in dark to dry.
Expose the dry paper in contact with a film or inkjet negative to UV light or sunlight. The image does not print out fully with so little gold, but when it is fairly well printed out with the deepest blacks strong but still not "there" and the brighter highlights strong but not well separated it is ready.
Place the paper on a sheet of glass in a tray.
Wearing long rubber gloves to protect your skin from the silver nitrate, pour either 7 ml of 4% silver nitrate or 4 ml of silver nitrate and 4 ml of corn syrup onto the paper just outside the narrow edge of the printed out image.
Brush the silver nitrate quickly and evenly across the image. You can also use a soft squeegee to drag/push it.
The image generally prints out almost instantaneously. You can leave the silver nitrate on the image for a few minutes if necessary to develop out fully, however.
IF PRINTING ON ARCHES AQUARELLE OR OTHER GELATIN-SIZED PAPER ONLY, immerse the print in a 1% solution of nitric acid.
Wash the print in running water for 5 minutes.
Wash the print in 10% tetrasodium EDTA for 5 minutes
Wash in water again.
Fix the print in fixer diluted 1 part fixer to 20 parts water. Do not fix longer than 4 minutes.
Wash in water.
Wash the print in hypo clear (sodium sulfite) at working strength for 10 minutes.
Wash in running water for 45 minutes.
If the print still exhibits iron stains, soak in very weak (2% solution) Rit dye remover or Carbona Color Run Remover (both are mostly sodium dithionite) for 30 minutes, then wash for 15 more minutes.

Adjust contrast by using fewer drops of AFFO to boost it and more drops to lower it. In cases when extreme contrast increase is required, add a drop or more of 26% ferric oxalate; to lower contrast even more, add fewer drops of 1% ascorbic acid to the ammonium ferric oxalate. 3-5 drops is very low contrast.

Kary, 4x5 Electrumtype Kary print on Arches Aquarelle hot press paper. 1st bath 1% nitric acid.


Tags: Silver Gold Chrysotype Electrumtype

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