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ISSUE 4 l 2016


film l darkroom l alternative processes l hybrid imaging

ANA GRO Analogue Group General Enquiries:

Contents Editorial

Report from the Editor and Chair Richard Bradford ARPS


A hybrid approach to photogravure on copperplate by Carles Mitjà

Tech Pinhole project by Wayne Lee


Cover: Photogravure on copperplate by Carles Mitjà © Above: Pinhole print by Wayne Lee ©

Website & Social Media:

02 03 07

Details of the Northampton University workshop, 7 May 2016 by Stephen Godfrey and David Healey ARPS




A look at the Lacock Abbey visit by Stephen Godfrey and David Healey ARPS

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Editorial Welcome to Analogue Issue 4. This is the first issue since I took over as Chair of the Group, so I am wearing two hats, which makes the Editorial longer than usual. My apologies for its delayed arrival, but following my appeal earlier in November I am pleased to say that Amy-Fern Nuttall has stepped into the graphic design breach. Those of you interested in the history of photography will know that its development and that of the reproduction of images in ink printing are closely linked, and in this issue Carles Mitjà describes his work using an interesting hybrid technique of photography and photogravure with intermediate digital stages. Another imaging technique, which can be traced back before the days of photography, is the use of a pinhole camera. For his article, Wayne Lee shows us just how simple imaging can be by building his own camera, and showing the results. Lastly, committee members Stephen Godfrey and David Healey ARPS have contributed two reports of recent Group events: the workshop in the University of Northampton, and the visit to Lacock Abbey. With the Group nearly two years old, it has been interesting to see how it has grown - thanks to the efforts of David Healey in getting it up and running - and to look at its future. Although analogue photography uses traditional processes, it is important not just to know but to show that old does not mean obsolete. Although, in its many forms, it is no longer a mainstream photographic activity, the core of users that remain are similar to the enthusiasts who have always taken photography seriously. Nevertheless, analogue photography is outside the experience of the average person and exhibitions of images produced by silverhalide techniques are the exception - and does the casual visitor care anyway? It would doubtless be a surprise to many that it is still possible to use ‘film’. It is therefore more important than ever to let outsiders know, and once attracted to keep them interested. One way of doing so for

Group members is through Analogue, and anyone (Society member or not) is welcome to attend events. However, both are relatively infrequent and, even more so today, out of sight quickly leads to out of mind. For this reason, the Group launched a Facebook group (RPS Analogue Group) for an online presence. This is open to anyone to join, Society member or not, analogue user or not. Our Facebook site was trialled over the summer, so please join (you need a Facebook account to do so) and encourage your photographic friends to do so, too. You are welcome to comment and post your images (though please read the guidance on the site on what is permissible). To manage our online presence, Rob O’Callaghan has joined the committee. Rob will be overseeing both the Facebook site and also the Group’s web pages on the Society’s website. Contact him directly at Rob is particularly keen to have images to keep both the Group’s Society pages as well for the Facebook Group current - please send them directly to him. Towards the end of August I attended a meeting of representatives from all the Society’s Special Interest Groups, and there were some interesting discussions. One theme to emerge, perhaps surprisingly given the diversity of interests represented, is the opportunity to co-operate between the Groups, as well as the Groups and Regions. Remember that our Group, along with Digital Imaging, differs from some others in that it is based on technology rather than applied to a particular subject area. In other words, it is perfectly possible take part in, for example, a Landscape Group event, but be using a film camera (and if anyone has done so, please let me know!)

Chair & Editor: Richard Bradford ARPS Vice-chair: David Healey ARPS Treasurer: Peter Young Events: Steven Godfrey Secretary: Andy Moore Web & Social Media: Rob O’Callaghan Designer: Amy-Fern Nuttall ARPS

Finally - and I know this appeal is made in every issue of Analogue - if you want the newsletter to continue, then please send me your material. This can be text, images, or a combination. There is also space for a mini-portfolio (images with captions and some introductory notes). Contributions are welcome from non-members of the Society, too. Richard Bradford ARPS Chair & Editor of Analogue 2


Other items to be considered are: Gelatinised paper, which can either be prepared by ourselves or bought. The only one still available today is Dragon Gravure from Cape Fear Press (see suppliers).

A hybrid approach to photogravure on copperplate by Carles Mitjà Photogravure was part of the early attempts made in the discovery of photography. Several previous experiments had been performed by Nicéphore Niépce and Henry Fox Talbot derived from the preexisting gravure and etching techniques. Finally, after the first negative-positive systems appeared, and responding to a problem with the permanence of his paper positives (Schaaf, 2003), Henry Fox Talbot patented the first photogravure method in 1852. Many years later, in 1879, the photographer and engraver Karel Klic modified the early Talbot method taking advantage of Joseph Swan's and Louis de Poitevoin's technique for the so-called carbon printing method. Klic's decisive contributions were the aquatint grain on the copper plate and the use of gelatinised paper sensitised with potassium- or ammonium bichromate, known as the carbon tissue. The result was called the Talbot-Klic method. My interest in photogravure begun in 1985. I had seen some photogravure reproductions from the American photographer Jon Goodman in an issue of Camera from Switzerland (Goodman, 1981) and I became captivated by the description of the procedure. Looking for information, I discovered that several wellknown photographers such as Edward S. Curtiss, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and many more had been devoted to copy some of their images in photogravure. In his book The Printed Picture, the photographer, printer and teacher Richard Benson (2008) says, '...the [gravure] result could be more beautiful

than anything else in photography'. Two years ago, being retired, I finally had the opportunity to explore this beautiful technique. After progressing through trial and error, I am now obtaining what I dare qualify as reasonable results. Beyond the complexity of the photographic part of the process, the photogravure encompasses an added difficulty since it requires skilled printing techniques. This elongates the learning process. To produce a photogravure on copperplate, some materials need to be prepared as well as easy access to equipment. In first place, we need a system to obtain a positive transparency of the image to be etched. The original can be a photographic black-andwhite slide or a highquality inkjet printed version from a digital file. At present, I use an Epson R3000 printer with the Epson Ultrachrome Ink Set and the software of control QuadTone RIP printing on Pictorico OHP film (see suppliers).

A yellow safelight free of UV radiation. A solution of potassium bichromate (K2Cr2O7), 3% to 5% in water, the concentration affecting the contrast of the final print. An aquatint box to grain the plates is also necessary. An alternative (and my current option) is a transparent screen of randomly distributed tiny points, digitally prepared in a computer and photographically printed on high contrast black-and-white film. A vacuum contact press with a suitable ultraviolet (UV) lamp source (Mitjà, 2016a) to expose the carbon tissue both through the screen and the positive transparency. Finally, we need all the usual materials and tools in an engraving workshop, for example: • Copperplates • Trays for the several wet steps • Ferric chloride (FeCl3) baths in different concentrations • Etching inks, inking and wiping accessories • Blotting paper • Etching paper, and an etching press. Suppliers QuadToneRIP. Software to control photographic quality inkjet printers. Pictorico OHP. Transparency Film for high quality inkjet printing. Dragon Gravure Carbon Tissue. Gelatinized and pigmented paper.

As an improvement to the traditional procedures, and taking advantage of a hybrid workflow, I use several digital techniques to contribute to the final quality of the photogravure on copperplate. The positives derived from digital files, both digital captures or scanned pictures on film, can be accurately processed in a computer to a level only achievable with difficulty by photochemical methods. After a given image is technical and aesthetically finished, digitally printed positives offer a direct control over the total density range by means of QuadTone RIP printer controller (see above).

Why do photogravure? Although it is a difficult and long path, if all steps are correctly applied, a photogravure print shows a complete tonal range image with subtle lights, smooth transitions and dense blacks. A sense of thickness is clearly perceived, especially with classic oil-based etching inks. A photogravure print looks more like an object than a flat sheet of paper. In these days of digital imaging, photogravure as a final art rewards the digital file with a physical, tangible and long-lasting expectancy. It combines the advantages of nowadays technology with the sensitivity of hand crafted things.


However, probably the greatest contribution from digital techniques is the preparation of suitable digital screens. The digital screen (Fig. 1) ensures both a high resolution in the final print and a standardised method to graining the plates. A photomacrograph taken from a plate shows that its labyrinth scheme is accurately reproduced after the etching process (Fig. 2). Notice in particular, looking at the photomacrograph taken from the correspondent print, the geometrical pattern of the screen is completely lost when the ink passes to the paper under the etching press. The screen patttern merges with the paper fibres and is no longer present creating an even tonal shade . The calibration system also benefits from digital image techniques. The first thing to control is the total density range of the positive transparency. Then, a suitable test target (Fig. 3) is necessary to be printed with the same method used for the positive transparencies. The imprinted density range from black to white can only be reliably monitored with a transmission densitometer (Fig. 4). Suitable density range depends on the light source, the kind of carbon tissue, and the sensitiser concentration employed. The second question is to adjust is the linearity of the grey tones in between the total test scale. Digitising the resulting test target in a final print allows readings to be taken of pixel grey level on the test patches. With these readings, it is not so difficult to build a software curve compensating the lack of linearity (MitjĂ , 2016b). Finally, do not forget that a perfect linearly etched plate cannot provide a fine print by itself. The techniques of inking, plate wiping, paper dampening, and application of pressure in the etching press are decisive contributors to obtain a fine print beyond the simply correct one.

t Figure 1. Digital screen created by diffusion dithering from a smooth medium gray image. The digital image is then printed on high contrast film by an imagesetter.

p Figure 2. Photomacrography pictures comparing the screen (above), the etched plate (centre) and the printed paper (bottom).

q Figure 4. The densitometry of the printed test allows to fine tune the QuadToneRIP software in order to adjust the optimal Optical Density range.

u Figure 3. Grayscale Step Wedge to calibrate the method. The test is used to adjust the positive image Optical Density range, the UV exposure time and the digital image processing curve linearising the grey ramp.


In brief, the general procedure is as follows: 1. Prepare a perfectly polished and degreased copperplate.

t Figure 5. Ultraviolet lamp with a distance adjusting system. On bottom, the vacuum press. The safety black curtains protect the operator from the hazardous radiations.

2. Prepare the monochrome positive image in the computer. 3. Print it on a transparent media. 4. Cut out a piece of carbon tissue of the same size as the plate and the positive. 5. Sensitise the gelatinised paper by immersing it in a potassium bichromate solution. 6. Stick the sensitised carbon tissue face down to a plexiglass plate bigger in size and let it dry.

u Figure 6. The plate is inked with a brayer and wiped with the so called tarlatan cloth.

7. Expose the carbon tissue to the UV light through the digital screen (Fig. 5). 8. Expose it again through the transparent positive. As a result, the lighter areas of the image generate a thicker hardened gelatine layer than the shadows.

t Figure 7. The inked press and a dampened paper are passed through the cylinders of an etching press.

9. Stick the carbon tissue onto the copperplate, gelatine layer face down to the polished copper. 10. Rinse the sandwich in hot water (≤50ºC). Remove the base paper and wash out all the non-hardened gelatine. There is now a gelatine layer on the copperplate whose difference in thickness is related to the image tonal values.

u Figure 8. The final print on a high quality paper shows the characteristic plate embossing.

11. Etch the plate in a succession of ferric chloride baths with decreasing concentration, looking at the progression of the etching in the different tonal areas of the image.

All images © Carles Mitjà

12. Wash and dry the etched plate. 13. Ink and wipe the plate as is usual in printing practice (Fig. 6). 14. Pass the inked plate in contact with a wet paper under the cylinders of an etching press (Fig. 7). 15. Allow the inked paper to dry (Fig. 8).

References Benson, R. (2008) The Printed Picture. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Goodman, J. (1981) Jon Goodman Portfolio. Camera 60th année Nº7 Juillet 1981. Pages 27-34. Mitjà, C. (2016a) Heliogravure III – Ultraviolet Light with Digital Screen. Online: Mitjà, C. (2016b) Heliogravure IV - Some Overall Thoughts. Online: https:// Schaaf, L. J. (2003) Etchings of Light. Brochure Sun Pictures: Talbot and Photogravure from Hans P. Krauss Gallery, New York.

Bibliography Blaney, H. R. (1895) Photogravure. Ed. The Scovill & Adams Company, New York. Cartwright, H. M. FRPS (1930) Photogravure. American Photographic Publishing Co., Boston, Massachusetts. Cartwright, H. M. FRPS (1961) Ilford Graphic Arts Manual Vol1, Photoengraving. Ilford Limited, Ilford, Essex. Denison, H. FRPS (1895) A Treatise on Photogravure. Ed. Iliffe & Son, London. Morrish, D. (2003) Copper Plate Photogravure, Demystifying the Process.

Focal Press, New York. Reeder, R. (2010) Digital Negatives for Palladium and other Alternative Processes. Ron Reeder. Saff, D., Sacilotto, D. (1978) Printmaking. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, Orlando, Florida. Sacilotto, D. (1982) Photographic Printmaking Techniques. WatsonGuptill Publications, New York.


Tech I first developed an interest in photography as a teenager when my father gave me his Olympus rangefinder. When I moved to the UK I studied Photography for my A-Level; the school had a darkroom and for me it was a fascinating place - it was satisfying to see images magically appear on paper when placed in the developer. I bought a digital camera in the early 2000s when they became popular, it is a much faster and more economical way of making images, and yet for me the magic is no longer there when images can be created so easily on a digital sensor and yet deleted so casually on a hard drive. Two years ago I bought an old 35mm film camera, this reignited my interest in photography. I like the simplicity of the manual controls, one only needs to set the shutter speed, aperture, and focus to take a photograph. I then started to work backwards, thinking about simplifying what I want for a camera further, down to the bare essentials: a light-tight box with a hole on one end and light sensitive material (photographic film) at the other.

Experimental pinhole photography by Wayne Lee

I like the “rawness� of the images pinhole cameras produce, and, as every homemade pinhole camera is a unique one-of-a-kind creation, I thought if I make my own camera it will produce some unique images that no mass produced


digital camera can replicate. I also wanted to explore the characteristics of pinhole photography itself – what kind of images it would create – for example having such a large depth of field, and a very wide angle of view.

For the pinhole itself I cut a small sheet of aluminium foil and used the smallest sewing needle I could find to poke a hole in it. The hole itself was rather larger than the intended 0.23mm (more like 0.4mm) but it was the best I could do!

passenger, I tried to use the wide angle effect to exaggerate the size of the seats, and passing lights outside the window turned into lines because of a long (15 minutes!) exposure. It is interesting to see the person has not moved at all during the exposure!

I started out by first choosing the format of film I wanted to use. I think 120 roll film is the easiest to work with, as one can easily take a used 120 spool and use it as a makeshift take up spool, and the frame number marking on the backing paper can be used to keep track of shots taken directly with a simple window made with red plastic sheet.

I used craft felt fabric and generous amount of black electrical tape for light-proofing the camera. The shutter control was a sliding door out of black paper card. As for the film advance mechanism, I left a small hole on the top of the camera that allows me to insert a small screwdriver into the end of the take up spool chamber in order to rotate it.

I used the website Mr Pinhole for calculating the size of the pinhole, and assume it uses a formula similar to the one developed by Joseph Petzval. I was planning to make a fairly compact camera with a standard medium format 6cm x 6cm exposure area, so I decided on using 30mm as my focal length (quite wide - a normal focal length would be about 75mm). Plugging these parameters into the pinhole camera design calculator gave me a pinhole size of 0.23mm at f130, with an angle of view of 109.5 degrees, with an image coverage diameter of 57.6mm, which should be fine for a 6x6 image size with just a bit of vignetting. The fairly wide angle of view should allow some interesting study of wide angle effects.

For judging exposure time based on my pinhole size, I used a look-up table in combination with a Sekonic L-308S exposure meter. The look-up table is from Mr Pinhole’s website, using f/100 (a guesstimate, since my pinhole was a bit bigger than the designed f/130). I printed the table out and carry it with me.

Another shot I find interesting was taken when I was driving at night. I placed the camera in the front of the dashboard and just let it record the whole 20 minutes trip, with street lights and headlights from other cars flying past. I didn’t know what the image would look like, which is part of the fun of taking photographs with the pinhole camera - the results are only seen after processing the film.

The focal length, and the dimension of the 120 film spool (allowing one supply spool and one take up spool), formed the basis of the camera dimensions. The main construction material I used was a sheet of 5mm thick paper foam board which is a kind of cardboard with dense polystyrene foam in the middle to give it more strength. The cardboard was cut into pieces of required size, and I used UHU glue to join the pieces together.

I wanted and easy to use and forgiving film with a lot of latitude for my pinhole images, so chose Ilford HP5+. The reciprocity failure curve for this film is well documented on Ilford’s website so I could incorporate it in my exposure lookup table. I processed the films myself at home using Ilford LC29 developer at 1+19 dilution. For HP5+ at ISO 400, development time was 6.5 minutes at 20C. After processing the negatives were scanned into digital files with a flatbed scanner, a Canon CanoScan 9000F mk2, and output to TIFF format. Finally, I adjust these TIFF files for contrast. For me the three main distinctive characteristics of my pinhole camera are large DOF but with a soft image, wide-angle of view due to short focal length, and the effect of long exposure due to a small f-stop. I usually tried to find subject matter that can incorporate all three characteristics. For example, in the image of a sleeping train

After experimenting with pinhole photography and going back to film, I find myself slowing down more in the picture taking process, and I think also making better pictures. I am enjoying photography again and I think all photographers should give film a try once in a while to experience something that has a long history behind it. Previous Page: Tree in the wind – Exposure: about 30 seconds This page, from top to bottom: Winter fair – Exposure: about 20 minutes There were in fact a few people in front of the merry-go-round, one of them even came up to me and asked me what I was doing, but they were moving too much so they became invisible in the image. Night Drive – Exposure: about 20 minutes. I left the camera on the car’s dashboard and just let it record the whole of my journey on the North Circular. Empty basketball court – Exposure: about 1 minute. I wanted to investigate how the wide angle of view would exaggerate the markings on the ground.



t 1. Initial stage of drawing up a rough design on paper. 2. The camera consists of two main pieces: the main body with the pinhole and films spools, and the cover that goes over it. 3. The two parts are held together by Velcro. 4. The main part with spools and pinhole. 5. The back cover with frame counter window. 6. A screw driver inserted into the take up spool chamber for film advance. 7. Makeshift cardboard platform with small tripod. I added some magnetic tape (the type used for fridge magnets) to the bottom of the camera, so it can stick to metallic surfaces quite easily and is very stable on things like hand rails and lamp posts. 8. Magnetic tape added to the bottom of camera. Sources Mr Pinhole: All images © Wayne Lee

Previous page; left to right Sleeping passenger – Exposure: about 15 minutes. Empty tennis court – Exposure: about 1 minute. Berkeley Gallery – Exposure: about 10 minutes. This was an RPS photo

walk event, organised by Norman Smith, that included an exhibition in the Berkeley Gallery to showcase some of the members’ works. Near the end of the day, when we were taking the works down, I took a photo of members talking in the gallery.

Above: Thames riverside – Exposure: about 1 minute. I left the camera on a railing, it was very windy that day and it was also getting dark, unfortunately there was a lot of camera shake due to the wind. I will have to solve this issue for my next camera design.


Report Northampton Uni workshop - 7 May 2016 Stephen Godfrey and David Healey ARPS For a day we immersed ourselves in the technology of colour film, the essential skill of scanning for working in both analogue and digital, and the world of paper negatives, Our guides for the day were Dr Tony Kaye ASIS FRPS, ex-Kodak Imaging Scientist, who talked about colournegative and -positive film structures; Jeremy Roy, Product Manager from Tetenal UK; Andrew Sanderson, one of the UK’s leading photographers and a Master Printer, who is also recognized as the leading practitioner of the paper negative process ran a paper negative workshop in the University’s darkrooms; and, finally, our committee member Stephen Godfrey, a professional photographer and also technical demonstrator in the photography department at the University of Northampton, who explained scanning techniques and workflow. Some university students joined us for the day, and we enjoyed using the University’s studio and darkroom and seeing its students’ work on the corridor walls. Tony delivered a captivating technical presentation of film structure, construction and technology. Tony was a Kodak Imaging Scientist for 26 years and has a passion for film science. He explained about the technology underlying colour film, processing, how and why negative and positive film differ, and the practical strengths and weaknesses of each type in daily use. Jeremy followed Tony’s talk with a demonstration of Tetenal’s home colour processing kit for C41 film (colour negative and Ilford XP2). The session was absorbing, illuminating, and generated many questions. It also underlined the importance of

the technology of film as a key to understand how digital photography works, and the importance of analogue not only creatively but also educationally. Stephen then took us into the scanning studio, and ran a practical demonstration of how to scan negatives and positives for digital output: whether we embrace digital or not, scanning is an important skill to posses as it enables us to display our analogue images in the digital media in which we are increasingly forced to work and use. Stephen used both a Epson V700 flatbed scanner and a Hasselblad X1 Flextight scanner, both were used with the manufacturer’s own software because, as Stephen explained, it is better to use the scanners as capture devices then do any minimal editing on applications you are more comfortable with. He added that it is best practice to scan both negatives and positives at the highest resolution possible as the scanner can be compared to an enlarger, so with a best resolution ‘scan’ you can enlarge to almost any size with no or little pixelization. To prove that process works Stephen produced a 24” x 18” print from a 35mm negative scanned during the workshop. In the darkroom Andrew Sanderson introduced us to paper negatives, starting with some examples from his extensive catalogue of images. Andrew is a master at the paper negative process who has written several books on his technique, and today we were able to see this and do it 11

for ourselves. He explained about how different types of photographic paper can give very different results and said his favourite is Kentmere’s now discontinued Art Document fibre based paper but added that single weight fibre based paper also works very well to produce paper negatives. For practical reasons we used resin-coated paper, although this lacked the texture a fibre base would produce. Most of his examples were taken using large- and medium-format cameras. It is possible to use 35mm but the images can be rather ‘fluffy’ due to the size of the original frame area. After being taught how to work out the ISO (ASA) of the paper by doing a series of tests, it was time to start shooting. Thanks to the University’s stock of large-format cameras, participants were able to make 5x4in sized negatives. Once the photographic paper was loaded into the darkslides everyone was introduced to the cameras, which for some was the first time they had seen or handled a large-format camera, and participants were sent out to capture their first paper negatives. Andrew guided everyone on shooting locations and best areas to photograph to get the best results. After returning to the darkroom, Andrew and the participants processed their negatives, and some where then able to contact print their paper negatives to produce positive images. A really practical, focused day of film and darkroom was had by one and all! All images © David Healey ARPS

Report Lacock Abbey - 18 June 2016 Stephen Godfrey and David Healey ARPS This, our second members’ event this year, was at Lacock Abbey. The home to Fox Talbot at the time he carried out his early experiments which were to prove so significant to photography was also hosting an exhibition of prints by Tim Rudman FRPS original photographs from his book, Iceland, An Uneasy Calm. The Abbey is now in the care of the National Trust and is a fascinating house to visit and photograph, even without its significance to the world of imaging. Originally a religious house, those who converted it to a family home left a beautiful and photogenic cloister, vaulted chambers, and worship-spaces at its heart. Group members, 26 in total, went to the Abbey and the adjacent village to make some exposures. Camera equipment ranged from digital cameras (mainly used by the non-Analogue Group members), through to medium- and large-format film cameras. As we saw, the grey lighting conditions sometimes made exposures challenging but at least we could not complain of too much contrast! Later in the afternoon, the light improved and the sun showed its face. At mid-afternoon, we gathered at the Fox Talbot Museum (situated at the entrance to the Abbey) to view thirty-five of Tim Rudman’s prints. Having given us time to view and appreciate the prints, he told us about his visits to Iceland, his printing of the photographs and his indebtedness to Harman-Ilford whose materials he used. Although he had authored several books previously, this was the first that he had self-published and he described the new skills that he had to learn. These included making choices about the layout of the pages, scanning the prints, choosing a printing company, deciding on paper type and thickness, and further decisions on the

printing method and many others. He described graphically his concern about the growing pile of paper containing rejections during the learning process. Following this presentation, Tim invited questions and a wide-ranging discussion ensued. By the time Tim finished speaking, the quality of the early evening light had improved and we were allowed unfettered access to the Abbey’s grounds after the general public had left. This allowed us to use the early-evening side lighting to good effect, use tripods freely, and without visitors or other distractions in the frame. We left close to 7pm with smiles on our faces after a good day’s photography and having greatly enjoyed seeing Tim Rudman’s photographs and presentation. Contact:

Left: © David Healey ARPS Above: © Stephen Godfrey