This first image is of a lumen print that I slowly re-developed in dilute developer and then toned in selenium. I would have preferred a longer initial exposure, and a stronger second second development, but it’s nevertheless intriguing to see how mixing and altering existing processes can yield unique results.
I started using a red acrylic paint to make my latest negatives, and found that it is perhaps thicker or more opaque than the black paint I had been using, which results in negatives that are higher contrast and lack certain details.
These missing details are what makes the character of this latest enlargement different, and for the time being, something that I want to avoid. Although this look doesn’t work well for this particular print, the advantage of experimenting and branching out is that I have found a method that may be useful in the future for other subjects or variations on this process.
Using this new paint I gave a second attempt at my original idea which was to paint the negatives directly and then remove areas where I wanted the light to come through. Instead of using a gelatine solution and trying to remove it with a brush and hot water, I scraped and cut the paint away with the end of the needle. I had something like the mezzotint process in mind in terms of effect, but the way the paint comes off the film it can’t really be scratched off in such a uniform way. The next step is to try using a sheet of silver gelatine film that has been exposed and developed to be completely black, which can then be scratched to reveal the image. Knowing how photographers tend to want to avoid scratching film I find a the idea to be pleasingly ironic. Hopefully the results will live up to the idea!