Judy Seigel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 04:14:41 -0400 (EDT)
On Sat, 10 Apr 1999, Hal Faulkner wrote:
> In Book 3 (my copy is dated 1968) Ansel stated (p118)
> "PRINT VARNISH
> Proprietary varnishes are entirely adequate. The prime requisites are
> purity of ingredients and good color -- rather, lack of color when applied
> to the prints. Paul Strand has kindly given me his formula for surfacing
> prints (in his own words): 'First one buys a small can of lithographer's
> varnish No. 1.... This should last for years. Next one buys a bottle of
> Carbona (carbon tetrachloride), the solvent for the varnish.... A good way
> to get the varnish into the Carbona is with a swab stick, letting it run off
> drop by drop, until the Carbona is a lemon yellow color after shaking. The
> varnish is then ready to apply with a piece of cotton. Cover the print
> thoroughly...then smooth the whole surface out by taking almost all the
> varnish off by rubbing briskly with a piece of dry absorbent cotton.... The
> varnish is slow drying (3 or 4 days)... and I have never noticed any
> evidence of discoloration.' This print varnish is for matte, semimatte, and
> semigloss prints."
> Now that's not so terribly turgid is it? Try to find that in the new
Which new series? You mean they did it all over again? Is that Little
Brown at work again?
Anyway, sigh, I tried that varnish... it's essentially burnt plate oil, by
the way, tho I bought it under the varnish name from Graphic Chemical -- &
now I have TWO cans of burnt plate oil, though I think I threw one out.
All that rubbing doesn't work on regular paper,,, beside which it looked
pretty bad on the print, and when I looked at it again about 2 months ago
(it was then 2-3 years old), it had turned EXTREMELY yellow. Maybe it
wasn't the oil itself, maybe they've changed the formula, maybe it was
something in the *combination* with my materials... but, do we really know
how much Strand actually used it? Or if he rubbed that much, how much was
really left on the paper (you can't wipe it off the artists' paper the
same way)... Or is Ansel Adams above the business of overclaiming?
Somewhere else he says something about the wishful thinking that's endemic
in photography instead of faithful observation. (Can't find it this
minute, but it's got to be the wittiest, truest thing AA ever said.)
On the bright side, still that magic elixir to look for...
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