Both of these photos were featured in recent posts, but this time I decided to make “lith prints” using a special two-part chemical developer. It’s more expensive and time-consuming, and it doesn’t fit well for every black and white image, but I can usually pick out ones that will work.
Normally I just post interesting photos with no explanation and let them speak for themselves, but I thought this might be interesting to those who wonder about the process.
With chemical print photography, you can go through a lot of paper to get a final image you want to keep. In this case, I made five prints before I got something close to what I wanted.
This can go on for as long as you want it to keep going on, until you run out of paper or chemicals or time. At some point I stop trying to overcook it and move on to another image. I will spend more time on an image I really love or where I am trying to learn something or achieve a particular effect.
These five images represent about two or two and a half hours of work in the dark room, including washing and drying the prints. Paper isn’t particularly cheap, either. These are some of the reasons many people stick to digital, along with the fact that dark room access can be hard to find as well. I get that. But this process is fun and rewarding for me, at least. On a computer you could do what I did above in a few minutes by moving some sliders around, I am guessing. There’s a camera app on my smartphone that can do this while you’re riding the Metro train. But it never looks quite as nice as it does on real silver emulsion to me.
Maybe in the future I’ll do some more “how it’s done” type posts like this.
This gallery contains 4 photos.
This is a partial collection of what I call my “rocketpunk” series: an ongoing series of photos which share the common theme of the dream of spaceflight, exploration, and the “future that might’ve been” had the dreams of the 1960s carried on according to then-current predictions. Photos of real objects and artifacts that prompt one to imagine a sort of lost golden age of spaceflight, much as antique photos of airships or Jules Verne book cover art might.
Some of these photos are of actual aircraft, spacecraft and launch vehicles or engines, while other videos are of observatories used to study the sky.