RE: gum printing ratios
Thank you for your words. Thank you.
From: Judy Seigel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 5:22 PM
Subject: Re: gum printing ratios
Tell your friend that Judy said gum printing isn't rocket science, and
that if it were, the BEST gum printers probably wouldn't do it.
I have it on Chris Anderson's authority that I am considered Gum Queen by
at least one other authority in the field, tho I suspect that's an
honorarium of the past, as my royal attention is bestowed in too many
places today to Queen it anywhere (and I sometimes fear earning the title
of digital idiot, or scapegoat, though that's not this rant). But anyway,
let me ASSURE you that for anyone who hasn't been brainwashed (and I'm
tempted to say shut up to anyone whose initials are KK, if that wouldn't
get me in trouble with listminders) by the precision parameters fallen
into by folks using platinum worth more per gram than they are per 100
pounds -- that's all nonsense. In fact the BEAUTY of gum is that you can
adjust it according to your whims, your needs, your problems, your
inspiration or your horoscope -- and just about everything works if you
understand a few basic priniples.
For that, read the first issue of Post-Factory Photography graciously kept
by Malin Fabbri at
http://www.alternativephotography.com/books/js_post_factory.html, in which
(besides Answer Person & other extremely enlightening & neglected points
of "alt" media) you'll find a couple of articles introducing gum printing
by the erstwhile "Queen" (Queen of Erst?).
These were formulated after more testing with Stouffer 21-steps than
previously recorded in the entire history of the world, not to mention an
education courtesy of hundreds of space cadet undergraduates (and trust
me, you learn more from them than from all 21-steps combined -- they do
things no person in their right mind would ever attempt... some of which
even which work!). Anyway, the P-F articles are still received with
acclaim, even by relatively experienced gum printers. (Tell your friend
she needs them too.) I won't repeat them here, except to say: EVERY
PARAMETER OF A GUM PRINT IS INFINITELY FLEXIBLE, though it helps to
understand the *principles* of what changes what).
For example, if you increase the concentration of dichromate, all other
things being equal, contrast will decrease; if you increase the viscosity
of the emulsion, say, by adding tube paint while all else remains
constant, you may get flaking, or anyway need more exposure.... etc. etc.
etc. The point is to GIVE UP the tight outline (so complicated I couldn't
follow it, BTW) ... and use, first your eyes, also your understanding.
Learn also to vary development -- why and when. And relax... if you do it
wrong, wash it off or cover it with another layer... HOWEVER, the one
thing you can't do without is your own Stouffer 21-steps.... preferably
several of them (I've used up to 25 -- 25 "proofs" in one shot) which make
it VERY EASY to prove that everything half the "experts" say is wrong...
maybe even this one... (Well not everything... still, the 21-step is
worth its weight in platinum... tho maybe they're making them digitally
now, certainly if you're using digital negs.)
PS. I know folks do mix up their colors with gum in advance, for reasons
that still elude me. I myself advise against it... restirring the colors
wastes paint, and cuts down on flexibility. I like to make the color
stronger, weaker, cooler or grayer, etc. etc. as the mood or the need
Obviously I've been over-ruled in that regard. Most gum printers seem to
mix in advance. But I suspect that could be feeding concerns about the
other solutions you seem to have received a dose of. Anyway, I promise
that after you're more comfortable with the medium, you'll shrug all that
stuff off... Or PROVE it one way or the other yourself. (More such proofs,
often contrary to "received wisdom" in later issues of P-F.)
"I'd recommend it for a Pulitzer Prize, except I lack the credentials."
[ [Read My T-Shirt] for President: A True History of the
PoliticalFront _ and Back, by Judy Seigel.
For Delicious details, and how to order" www.frontandbackpress.com
On Thu, 8 Feb 2007, ilana wrote:
> Hello all,
> Thanks for all the help you've given so far--I've been working for 3 weeks
> and have made 2 successful prints. I've been doing lots of testing and in
> discussion with another gum printer [that my first prints worked and the
> latest ones are not] I was telling her that I thought I was getting a
> on the process when we got into a little disagreement.
> So here is the question for everyone: when altering the ratio of gum to
> pigment, do most people add a little more gum to get less pigment. And if
> so, should the dichromate amount be equal to the total amount of those
> My friend said that I should always use the exact same stock [which I have
> mixed at 1:2 pigment to gum--from there I have been adding pigment or gum
> depending] and alter the amount of dichromate? Her way did not work.
> I finally understand what each part of the equation will do to my
> I'm having trouble deciding which variable should remain constant. Maybe
> it's hard without seeing my prints...