Terry King gives an overview of gum bichromate printing, along with a step-by- step guide to the process. Fifteen years ago, I was in a similar. Gum bichromate process definition, a contact printing method in which the image is formed on a coating of sensitized gum containing a suitable colored pigment. In the late s, pictorialist photographers favored a diversity of photographic techniques, including the gum dichromate process. Sometimes superimposed.

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You will need to have negatives the same size as your final print.

Use medium speed camera film either direct from the camera or enlarged onto the baseboard from a transparency. Again, the gum bichromate emulsion is essentially a modified watercolor. I cannot any longer aford large procees negs. Then, as you evaluate your progress, adjust only one or two of the knobs at a time.

This page was last edited on 30 Decemberat When exposed to UV light, the dichromate will harden the gum in proportion to the amount of light received, rendering it insoluble. It is then up to you to go away and make your gum print.

You may need to switch to a dry brush to help smooth the emulsion. Gum bichromate or dichromate printing involves creating vum working emulsion made of three components:. You might also consider using an imagesetter to make quality negatives. They are only the darkest areas and it seems that the opacity is very low. InJohn Pouncy used colored pigment with gum arabic to create the first color images.

They also have a tooth to hold the gum to the surface during development without a tooth, your picture will fall off the paper as the light acts upon the surface of the emulsion.


Introduction to gum bichromate printing – National Science and Media Museum blog

But, as with the cyanotype, if you want any subtlety, you will need to apply photographic expertise and experience. This process, and much photomechanical printing, depends upon the reaction when a dichromate salt is mixed with an organic colloid, eg a gum or gelatin, and how that reaction is speeded up when the mixture is exposed to prrocess.

A UV light source see Dr. Let your paper soak in very warm water for at least 10 minutes some papers may require more soaking time and then dry allowing the paper to shrink.

The information provided below is just one of many points of embarkment and offered to the reader as basic introductory material. I would suggest that you double your exposure time, perhaps even triple the time.

A staining pigment will stain the whole of the image area.

Introduction to gum bichromate printing

Always be careful when handling chemicals. Lith and line films can be used but they should be exposed and developed for continuous tone unless you are looking for line results. Make fresh as you go along.

Indicate each ggum including how many coats, length of baths, and hardening agent for archival and personal purposes. Some pigments may stain your paper resulting in flat, low-contrast prints with ruined highlights. The following sources of materials are those that I have found give good and reliable service. Fifteen years ago, I was in a similar state of mind to that of Robert Demarchy some ninety years before.

Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. It is an essential key to quality gum printing.

After exposure and development, the insolubilised gum, which is porous, retains the solid particles of pigment, while any remaining dichromate in solution is washed away. The more pigment you use the less chance the light has to do its work.


A poor print is usually the result of failing to control one or more variables. Others satisfy the need of the proponents for complication. Remember-mix thoroughly and bichromwte stir as you use it! Photographic processes dating from the 19th century Alternative photographic processes. As an example for a typical 8 x 10 print, combine 3 eyedroppers full of gum with 3 eyedroppers full of dichromate. Then add enough distilled water to make mL of solution.

A simple duotone separation combining orange watercolor pigment and a cyanotype can yield surprisingly beautiful results.

I recommend heavy base films as bichrmoate films do not maintain stability where more than one exposure is required. This stiffens the chain and the resulting stiff gum becomes insoluble in water. Therefore, begin experimenting with watercolor papers that can handle repeated washes. There seems to be as much chance of killing yourself. Gum Gum arabic comes from a tropical acacia tree.

Several changes of water bath are necessary to clear the print. The method procsss establish will reflect your own personality and way of working. The variables become more manageable while the image quality is virtually identical. Retrieved from ” https: Refrigerate to extend its shelf life thereby reducing the need to add a preservative.

The beginner gum bichromate printer would do well to further investigate and increase their knowledge of paper. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Try to start with negatives that have good not necessarily high contrast and density.