Photographs by Frank

19 February 2021

A Response to Joe’s Questions

In his comment on my “first salted-paper print” post, my friend Joe raises some interesting questions (in italics below). I thought that I would reply publically here rather than in an email to him alone.

So, do you prefer this process to your cyanotypes?

It is not so much as preferring one process over another. Rather the key, I think is to fit the photograph to the process and to the “mood” (aesthetic?) that one wishes to convey.

And, for me, why?

I think that I can answer this on many levels. The fun of learning and hopefully mastering something new. Having another tool for artistic expression. Or to paraphrase Sir Edmund Hillary… “Because I can”!


You have a good image that would be a great print via the usual ways of printing.

It is interesting that you raise this point. Back a month or so ago, as I was setting up a printer with Piezography Pro inks, I make prints of this series of photographs using the “full warm” inks*. These prints (scans shown below), on a satin paper, are very nice but not as ‘special’ as the salted-paper prints.

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Warm-toned Piezography Pro inkjet print
Warm-toned Piezography Pro inkjet print
Warm-toned Piezography Pro inkjet print
Warm-toned Piezography Pro inkjet print

* The Piezography Pro system modifies an Epson printer to use only black/gray inks. The inkset consists of two sets of four inks. One set is warm toned and one is cool toned. The software allows one to mix the two set of inks to arrive at a final print of any tone in between, including dead neutral, if that is the desired result.

Second Salted-Paper Print

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Landscapes,Salted-paper Prints — Frank @ 10:00 AM

Here is a scan of a print I made yesterday from the second negative. (An 18 minute exposure.)

This one shows that I have a bit of work to do on the highlights, but it’s not bad.

These two negatives come from a series of photos I made in September 2019 at an old river-bottom homestead along the Missouri River in central Montana. I am planning a portfolio of salted-paper prints of these photographs, I think that the warm tone of salted-paper fits this subject well.

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Salted-Paper Print (untoned) on Hahn. Pt Rag
Salted-Paper Print (untoned) on Hahn. Pt Rag

18 February 2021

First Salted-Paper Print

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Landscapes,Salted-paper Prints — Frank @ 11:30 PM

I’m excited!

After much reading and gathering of supplies, I spent this afternoon and evening making my first salted-paper prints*.

Salted-paper printing is the progenitor of all of modern (film-based) photography. The process was invented in the 1830’s by Henry Fox Talbot and announced at the Royal Society in London at the end of January 1839, a few weeks after the Daguerreotype was announced in Paris. Both processes lay claim to being the “invention of photography”.

The salted-paper process is deceptively simple, one begins by soaking paper in salt water. After the paper is dry one makes it light sensitive by coating the salted-paper with a solution of silver nitrate.

When the sensitized paper is dry one exposes the paper to ultraviolet light through a negative. Traditionally the sun is used as a light source. I used the same exposure box containing blacklight LEDs that I use for cyanotype. Upon exposure, an image ‘magically’ appears on the paper, fully formed.

One then processes the paper through a number of solutions to remove the unreacted silver making the print stable to further exposure to light.

The procedure I used is essentially that described in Chapter 5 of Christina Anderson’s book “Salted Paper Printing/ A Step-By-Step Manual Highlighting Contemporary Artists“. I used a 4×5 inch digital negative and printed on Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag paper as it came from the mill (i.e. I did not size the paper.) The prints are untoned.

I made four prints today using two different negatives. Shown below is the very first print I made. The others are still too wet to be scanned, so I can’t show them yet!

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My Very First Salted-Paper Print
My Very First Salted-Paper Print

* Well, this is not precisely true. I made a few salted-paper prints at a workshop I attended maybe 15 years ago. But that is not anything close to making prints in your own dimroom. I have no idea what has become of the prints I made back then. I must have decided that they were not worth keeping.

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