Victories Shadowed by Failures

Linked to from Eastman House 

So the past few months have been filled with both victories and failures in many areas of my photographic life. I have had sales, shows, and publication….as well as the rejection that comes with the territory, but it is the technical side of things that has been a huge pain. Specifically my desire to move to larger plates, and the desire for better blacks and detail has pushed me almost to the limit.

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you will have seen scattered postings about building a propane oven, and japanning plates…..and the mysterious issues with that. The plates produced the images that I want in terms of look and feel as well as added another layer of handmade elements to the product, but the results were too good to be true. Because of an as yet unsolved technical issue (that I think is related to baking times) the images physical structure is not predictably stable enough for me to show, much less offer for sale. This development and the influence of a looming deadline has moved me to try black aluminum engravers stock for the moment, and although the visual qualities are the same as the japanned plates, there are technical issues with it as well.

So why not return to the anodized aluminum plates that I had been using for the past year and a half? Well, the blacks are not rich enough, the metal is too thin, and pinholes in the anodization cause “comets” to appear in the blacks. I REALLY don’t like the comets, although many of my earlier dry-plate tintypes have them. As you can see from these few short paragraphs, there is always some problem to be worked out with this kind of work.

The solutions to both of my issues in regards to plate material are close at hand. This is not the time to be growing tired!

Interested in learning more about the dry-plate process? Check this out.


~ by Phil Nesmith on October 19, 2007.

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