I have twice attended the Rebirth Workshop & Retreat. Last year following my amazing experience there, I was inspired to pick up some vintage cameras, shoot more film, and also experiment with alternative processing.
I fell head over heels in love with salted paper printing. Invented in 1839, salted paper printing was the first form of printing photographs on paper.
I’m not sure if it was the history or its beautiful aubergine color or how it brings me back to my days in the darkroom or the slow process, or that every image I create is truly one of a kind, but I was smitten from the beginning.
One of the best things about salted paper printing is that you don’t need a darkroom. The paper, once treated, will develop only when exposed to UV light.
I was able to get almost everything I needed to experiment with salted paper printing through Bostick & Sullivan:
- Salted Paper Printing Kit
- Gold Toning Kit
- Developing Trays
- Brushes or coating rods (I prefer brushes)
- UV Light Source – I chose a simple goose neck desk lamp and a 15w UV light bulb, but you can use the sun or a UV exposure box
- Contact print frame – I made mine out of an 8×10 picture frame and some electrical tape. Or you can use two pieces of glass.
- String and clothes pins for drying your prints
It is a several step process. The paper is coated with 2 separate solutions (drying completely between applications). The negative is then placed directly on the treated paper in the contact print frame and exposed to UV light. You will be able to watch it develop. It is then washed, fixed, toned, washed, and then hung to dry. It takes a long time, but you can prepare the paper and store it provided you keep it out of UV light.
First a couple of behind the scenes photos… followed by a few of my favorite prints.