Collodion Transfer

During the weeks of my fogging troubles (see blog post here), I managed to make an image of my daughter (which some parents might be able to relate of getting a decent still image of their child any slower than 1/60 of a second would end with utter blurrines, if that’s a word).

As usual, not only the fog seemed to be the issue, but the entire collodion film managed to lift itself off the plate clean! This happened during the washing stage, which was noticeable while fixing the edge of the collodion seemed to be tearing away.

This, I believed was caused by improper plate cleaning.

I had quickly resort to grab a thick watercolour paper, thinking spontaneously to manage a decent image transfer.

Collodion lift off from the plate

Transfer of collodion onto watercolour paper

The transfer was a success after a good fiddling around to have the film to properly sit evenly across the watercolour paper.

Then I proceed to have it air dried and had it flattened under weight (4-5 thick books does the job).

I had referred to my FB group (which I have to thank Prof Guy Brown) if they had any luck sandarac varnishing such method of collodion transfer).

As I treasure this image as this is one of my favourite as it is an image of my daughter sleeping quietly on the reclining chair with the last few summer sun glazing into the apartment, I wonder if the effect of varnishing would “eat” or melt the image off. Some reported this might happen, and recommended only to use polyurethane coat rather than sandarac.

As I do not have any in hand, and only sandarac varnish was available at the time (1year old varnish), I warmed the paper up on low heat over a heating plate, and lightly warm the sandarac before pouring onto the paper.

Apparently it worked! Leaving the paper for a good 10 minutes on the heating plate, then it was kept in a cabinet for a week to avoid any further dust from sticking on the drying image.

Amelie by the Window, September 2014

The bad news is the image’ mid-tones were too weak to manage any sort of positive salt print. Which I will have to try later to play with the sensiting recipe for a good positive print.

Until then all I could do is to invert the image via PS to have an idea how the image looked like.

Inverted image via PS, “Amelie by the Window”, September 2014




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