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A recipe for Inkjet Gelatin Transfer

Shawn Kearney , Aug 24, 2003; 02:39 a.m.

The following post is a letter describing the process which I used in my current uploaded photographs, and the Arrhenphobia series which can be viewed as a presentation.

I was not sure where to put this, alternative process or digital. I finally decided on alternative process, because the process itself is not in the digital darkroom. If the Mod feels that this is inapropriate, please note my disagreement and relocate.

I also want to point out that I am not trying to replace polaroid! the results an process is similar, but not at all the same.

-------------------

The reason that you did not find much is because I am only one of two people that i know of anyway that have any sizeable body of work. A NYC fashion photographer I knew named Jessica worked with a solvent based inkjet transfer, I used water. My process is paper specific, hers was not. Mine looks more like a polaroid, hers have a more "flaked" apperance. Both our processes were more successful than previous experimenters as the coating, or "emulsion" was lifted and transfered, and not the ink alone, so, more ink is transfered more accuratly and evenly, resulting in rich blacks, something most alcohol/turpintine/acetone processes lack.

Jessica kept her method top secret, I don't.

I will tell you how I did it, I do not know if the paper is still available, and if it is if it has or has not been reformulated.

In college I was for a period trying new papers, I found the strathmore line of inkjet papers. These papers had a very thick coating. One particularly so, Strathmore Photo Matte, which appeared to be made from a gelatine.

When I printed on it, the blacks became very buldged with lots of gain, resulting in a speckled appearance. To remidy i tried washing the print under the faucet. It worked to some degree, and gave it an interesting bleached effect as well, though, I was not satisfied with the results.

However, I did notice that the gelatine coating was swolen and appeard to lift from the page. It had a slippery, slimey feel and appeared thicker than it was when it was dry. If scratched with a fingernail, the coaiting and ink would come off onto your finger in what looked very similar to household gelatine.

In the previous semester John Paul Caponigro brought out a acetone transfer from a color laser print. I was not impressed, but i knew instantly that it had potential.

A few days later i went to the hardware store to buy a heavy galvanized pipe to use as a rolling pin, a rolling pin would work too, but i did not think of it at the time. I also bought a black rubber/plastic tub, about five gallons.

I brought them back to my dorm, soaked a print for about 5 minutes and pressed it to some inexpensive hot pressed water color paper of fairly high density.

The transfered image was very dim, and appeared that the gelatine did not adhere to the paper properly. For some reason it occured to me that the paper would become more available if it were soaked as well, along with the print. So I put a peice of the paper in the water and let it soak until it became soft.

I then removed one of my windows and placed it on the floor. I also took the stand which held up my laundry basket and placed several window screens on it to use to dry the print. I soaked the paper and the print together for about eight minutes. I got kind of bored just sitting there, so i started to adgitate the tub gently, and found that this further lifted the gelatine but removed some of the magenta ink.

I placed the wet peice of water color paper on the peice of glass. I noticed that the print kept sliding around, resulting in smudgy images. I also noticed that the back of the print slightly stuck to the pipe I was using.

On the next transfer I stuck the bottom of the back of the print on the pipe and pressed it firmly against the water color paper. The print adhered to the paper, and I was able to roll without problem.

I noticed after a while the gelitin stopped oozing from the sides, and I figured that was enough as all the gelatine was transfered into the water color paper.

I pulled the paper apart, it was suprisingly stuck together, but not so much that the original would rip. The result, a perfectly transfered print on the water color paper, and a very, very faint image on the original with virtually all the gelatine coating removed.

The transfered image has very fine patterns where the two were pulled apart, and the results can be very depthy and rich, but fine detail is completely lost in the process. The image is waterproof, and has not faded in four years, but is kept in a box at all times.

I found that if you take a brush gently over the entire image, little is lost, but a color cast will be applied to the frame. The quality also changes somewhat, the texture is smoothed out, and sometimes brush strokes are left behind (Self Portrait Six)

The transfer is then left to dry face up, on coastal maine this took about twelve hours. The transfer is then pressed and matted.

If you try this, PLEASE let me see what you come up with. It may be possible to coat your own paper using multiple coats using household or photographic/laboratory gelatine.

Responses

Shawn Kearney , Aug 24, 2003; 04:11 a.m.

Response to A recipe for Inkjet Gelatine Transfer

I just remembered that I used dilluted india ink over the entire image to tone it (Self Portrait Two and Seven in particular), this is actually how the background was shaded, and not by pulling ink from the image...

Lex Jenkins , Aug 24, 2003; 10:32 a.m.

Response to A recipe for Inkjet Gelatine Transfer

The process sounds interesting but you should attach one or two examples to this thread. Sometime in the future you might wish to change your existing photo.net portfolio and, lacking examples, this text-only description would be of lesser value.

Shawn Kearney , Aug 24, 2003; 03:52 p.m.

Lex-

Good idea, I did not think of that, I will post now ;)


Self Portrait Seven - Toned with Yellow India Ink

Lex Jenkins , Aug 24, 2003; 06:10 p.m.

I've taken the liberty of attaching this image from your folder to this thread. It's a very striking example of the technique you've described. (If you prefer I'll delete it.)


Example

Shawn Kearney , Aug 24, 2003; 07:27 p.m.

lex- That is the image I wanted, though i selected the wrong one.

WIll Hubscher , Aug 28, 2003; 07:55 a.m.

I have been doing "color transfer" as I call it for about a year now with great results (www.hubcaparte.com).

I also started out doing Xerox transfer using acetone and wondered about doing it with inkjet prints. Most papers, especially matte papers won't transfer at all. I found the cheaper and glossier the paper, the better it works.

I only wet the paper the transfer is going to, not the inkjet paper. I also use Matte Medium as a transfer agent with GREAT results. You have to play with it though because to much medium will wash out dark colors. I use a borrowed etching press to make transfers, as well as using brayers.

Also, unless using archival inks, teh transfered image will fade quickly, especially the magenta. Use BullDog spray (available at inkjetart.com or something similar to "seal" teh image. I use the matte version of the spray. Can't even tell its there.

Will

M Hincher , Nov 22, 2003; 07:46 p.m.

I'm dabbling in transfer prints right now using digital images and I think one of the three transfer methods will give a new look to an old series of prints of mine.

I like the easy brush on gel, transfer color xerox to fine paper method. How long do I leave the gel on before turning over onto the good paper, or do I need to turn it over on the paper and apply pressure and for how long?

I also like the easy acetone print from a color xerox. Should I try to tape the xerox down first to prevent so much smudging? Should I brush the acetone on or pour on? Is pressure needed?

A third method you'll probably all like. You use T-Shirt transfer paper on the inkjet, and just heat transfer onto any fine art paper. A friend tells me it has a funky texture when you peel it up, I guess depending on what you ironed it onto, and has a super nice fine art feel thats a sure thing every time.

Finally, what would you call these types of prints? They should have a snazzy method oriented name, but I don't know what I would call them specifically when I display them. People seem to like that the method be called something. Any ideas?

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