Kallitype Trial and Error

Greetings and Happy Monday to everyone!

I have been managing to get into the Darkroom to work on my kallitypes about once a week (I work a full time job out in Victor and am away on weekends a lot sailing during the summer months), and slowly I am troubleshooting my errors and building up my skills. For this post, I thought I would share a glimpse behind-the-scenes into my efforts and progress.

Over the past few Tuesday nights I have made a total of 18 prints; most of them are new images, though one or two are images I have printed before but am now printing with new negatives, thanks to the help of Jon Merritt.

One of the things this process requires, if you intend to  use digital images to make large plastic negatives for printing (which I am), is skill with Photoshop so you can create enough contrast and tonal range to make an interesting image with the kallitype process. I would say I am between a beginner and an intermediate Photoshop user, so I have been consulting with Jon, who teaches the Kallitype class at the Photo Dept, for assistance with some of my trickier images.

Here is an example of an image I printed earlier this year:

Kallitype where snow detail is good but bark and debris detail are too dark

In order to get the snow-drift detail, I had to make a longer exposure, but that resulted in the details of the bark and debris becoming too dark. So, we had to isolate areas of the image and adjust the curves for each separately. The new negative results in a better, more balanced image:

Kallitype of the same image after more editing in Photoshop to produce a better negative

Another challenge I am having is that the humidity in the room and the paper I am using are resulting in lots of streaky-ness in my prints. I am using watercolor paper I have used before with a beautiful result, and ‘think’ my coating technique is the same as before….but obviously there is some room for improvement here! Here are a couple prints that really show the challenges I am having with coating smoothly:

This one shows areas where I completely missed coating

And another:

And this one shows more brush strokes / streaks

I am looking forward to getting back in the Darkroom again soon and to hopefully resolving some of my issues, and I will share more of my progress as I go!

I have also set up a new instagram account for my residency. Check it out: kallitypegirl

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