Paper and artpaper

Boil water and pour over

Duotone cyanotypes #5 – Shrink the paper

Part 5 in Matthew Bary’s series Duotone cyanotype shows how to prepare watercolor paper for printing due-tone cyanotypes, by shrinking the paper, coating it with cyanotype chemicals, and drying it thoroughly.  Writer and photography / Matthew Bary Once you have printed the negative as in Duotone cyanotypes #4 – Print the negative it is time to shrink the paper. In this section we are going to shrink the paper and … Read more

Testing palladium papers

It’s big… it’s huge… it’s The MASSIVE paper chart for alternative processes

Is “massive” as in a massive paper chart for alternative photographic processes an exaggeration? No, more of an understatement. Christina Z. Anderson has run countless tests on any paper she could lay her hands on and is generously sharing her findings in a free version. To recoup some of the thousands of dollars spent on testing – as well as getting all the details – you can get the full … Read more

Art paper on a shelf

Paper basics: Buffering

In alternative photographic processes, the choice of paper plays a crucial role in achieving a good print as well as in the archival quality and longevity of prints. Buffered and unbuffered papers are terms often encountered in this context. Some processes are fine with buffered papers and, in some processes, buffering will ruin the print. Writer / Malin Fabbri Photography / Malin Fabbri and John Brewer Most art papers today … Read more

Sizing paper for alternative processes and cyanotype

Paper basics: Sizing paper for alternative photographic processes

A few decades ago, when I first started out, I believed sizing was about cutting the paper into the right size: I was very wrong. When a paper is “sized”, glue is used to bind the paper to control the absorption of liquids—the capillarity—in the fibres. Writer and photography / Malin Fabbri A paper towel is unsized and very absorbent since you are supposed to use it to wipe up … Read more

Choosing the right paper for alternative processes

Paper basics: An overview of paper qualities

The basic knowledge of paper includes a few terms that are good to know for selecting your base. Selecting the right paper for alternative process prints is akin to choosing the perfect instrument for a musician. The paper should harmonize with your artistic vision and used to add to the experience. Factors like weight, texture, and absorbency are key factors. The choice of paper plays a crucial role in the … Read more

BFK Rives for Gum Printing? Seeing is Believing

Peter J. Blackburn has found his favorite gum bichromate paper. One that he used to shun. And one that needs no sizing. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn Gum printing for me began in 1988. From the beginning, I ignored the advice of many gum experts to use toxic sizing by searching for ways to print bright, crisp gum prints on unaltered paper. “BFK Rives was the very first … Read more

Bucking Horse Sale. Chrysotype by Christina Z. Anderson

Papers for chrysotype

Christina Z. Anderson gives us her best tips for chrysotype papers. If you want to learn more about Chrysotypes, there is plenty to know in Leanne MacPhee’s book, Chrysotype. Writer and photography / Christina Z. Anderson With the rising cost of palladium, Mike Ware’s chrysotype process is an intriguing noble metal process to add to your alternative process arsenal. Leanne McPhee’s Chrysotype: A Contemporary Guide to Photographic Printing in Gold … Read more

Siderotype Paper Survey: Cyanotype, Vandyke Brownprint, Ziatype v1.0

This detailed paper survey is the Special Edition Art Project effort to document how papers behave when paired with historic Siderotype processes used in our coastal California working environment. The Siderotype processes Cyanotype (iron), Vandyke Brownprint (silver) aka VDB, and Ziatype (palladium / gold / tungsten / platinum) are the focus of this survey, creating an assessment of a paper’s image density across exposure corrections, amount and type of grain, … Read more

Cyanotype papers tested

Papers for traditional / classic cyanotype process

Christina Z. Anderson spends her hard earned money ($1613) on paper research for cyanotype papers and generously shares the results. Writer and photography / Christina Z. Anderson Over the last twenty years of practicing alternative processes, good papers for alt have come and gone on the market—Weston Diploma Parchment being one example. Worse, formerly excellent papers have gone the buffered route to increase their archival properties—not good for many of … Read more

Jill Enfield

Sizing or subbing papers

An excerpt from Jill Enfield’s book Photo-Imaging (unfortunately out of print!) complete with how-to and formulas on how to size papers.

brushcoating, rod coating, dip coating

Coating paper by floating, rod or brush

The three most common ways of coating emulsion onto paper are floating the paper, using a coating rod, or brushing it on. An extract from the book Alternative Photography Processes.

Anne Storm van Leeuwen

Making paper by hand

Anne Storm van Leeuwen outlines a very simpliflied process of making paper. An introduction the old craft of papermaking.

paper basics

Paper basics

While a variety of surfaces can be coated various emulsions, paper is the most widely used for most processes and the most preferred.