POP Prints? Contact printing on Centennial Printing Out Paper.
I haven't yet gotten my darkroom and 8x10 enlarger functional yet, so I decided to contact print my 8x10 negatives on Centennial Printing Out Paper (POP). This is a great old-time paper process that uses ultraviolet light to expose the print. You can use anything from Sunlight to flourescent to homemade UV light boxes to commercial exposure units for the light source.
Centennial POP is a gelatin-silver paper, a direct decendant of the old albumen paper (egg whites) from the turn of the last century. It is very easy to work with and can be handled in ordinary room lighting for short periods of time. After exposure with UV light, it is washed, then toned to make the image permanent, then fixed. The result is a beautiful print with a color that depends on the toner used.
I would hope to update this page with current works, but updating takes time... having a bit of that right now, I present my first two (or more) attempts at POP printing. Not the best, but not bad for a first try. And I chose 'difficult' negatives just to see how the paper would work. I was pleased...
|First test of the POP paper was with a very light negative, called "Oil Can" (there's a can of WD-40 in the window which is easily seen in the real print). I didn't have a UV light source yet, so this was exposed under a 60 watt incandescent bulb for 8 to 10 hours. Didn't really keep track of the time. Then toned with a platinum toner. A larger version can be seen by clicking on the pic..|
|The second print was so dense I would consider it un-printable in any standard way. But now I have a temporary UV light source of five 24 inch, 20 watt, flourescent lights (the 6th didn't work). Using a cardboard box as a temporary light-box, this exposure took 40 minutes, then toned as above. Just a bit less toning here left a hint of the original rust color. And yes, there is a stain in the lower right corner. I left it as an example of how not to handle the paper as fingerprint stains are easy to create... If you could see the negative, the print is amazing.|
|I don't know why, but this is one of my favorite views in the whole world. Perhaps meaningful only to me or maybe it just relates to the surroundings and people. I spent a couple of days visiting friends at Kanatsiohareke and brought the 8x10 Century Universal. A few of the shots will be placed here...
This was done with less toning to keep the brownish coloring and old-time look. It may look uneven, and it is, but it's exactly what I had hoped for...
|This view, just a bit left of the previous one, shows the old barn. A beautiful building in a wonderful setting. Again going for the old-time look. Unfortunately, I had a small light leak in the lower right corner. It looks worse on this scan that the original print but still a shame. Now I'll have to go back and shoot it again ;-)
These were shot with a Gundlach 12-21-28 convertable using both elements for a 12 inch lens and Ilford FP4 film.
|In front of the barn was a great little old tractor connected to a manure spreader. Made a great shot. Yeah, another finger mark in the lower-right corner. I really have to work on that...|
|Another view from the side with the two trees. This was shot on Ilford HP5.
This was also a slight mistake. I figured on a 'standard' 15 to 17 minute exposure for this negative. I got involved with something else and it wound up with 25+ minutes on the light box. It still worked... mostly...
|The last in this series. Another view of the trees with some buzzards flying around in the background. Ilford HP5 again.|
|Here's a shot I took after a "lens test". I put my Turner & Reich 12-21-28 back on the camera and decided to take a look at the GG. I liked it and took the shot on HP5. The print was then platinum toned in rather weak toner. Just when I was thinking of boosting up the toner, I decided that I liked it the way it was...|
|The above scans are in color to show (as close as possible) the actual coloring of the prints and the difference between the two. Unfortunately, the fine detail of the contact print won't show here...
Hopefully, I'll get the time to not only produce more POP prints, but post them here. I still have to complete the permanent light box and try some different toners. And make some more negatives ;-)
You can find a link to the Chicago Albumem Works and Centennial POP paper on the equipment links page if you have any interest in the process. They have a lot of information about the paper, history and techniques there, and of course the paper. Bostik & Sullivan also sells the paper and toners.
POP printing is not only fun, it's about the easiest of all "alternative" photographic processes and a great way to keep in touch with the photo-roots. Not to mention produce prints with an outstanding look to them. If you shoot with anything 4x5 and up, I whole-heartily reccomend trying POP paper! And you don't need a darkroom!
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