Recently I made the time to return to one of my early ideas which was to create negatives by removing some sort of black coating (paint, pigmented gelatine) from a film base, by brushing with hot water for example. This time though, I exposed sheets of photographic film to the light and then developed them in order to be left with a black coating of silver all over. I then scratched my images into the film with the end of a needle, occasionally using a small paintbrush to remove the dust. Once the image was complete I then simply made a contact print in the darkroom onto photographic paper. The result is that it doesn’t seem like I will be able to achieve any mid-tone gradations, at least not with the technique in its current form. For the next images I will attempt to use a more blunt tool in order to remove the silver in a more subtle manner, and to try something completely different I am considering using dilute bleach and a paintbrush, which will create an all together different effect once again.
As you can see from the original “plate”, there is a lot more detail than what was rendered in the print. Another possible solution might be to expose and develop less so that there is a less dense layer of silver on the film, making it easier to render lighter scratches.
The plate itself has a nice appearance, and if I were to use a film with a clear base, it could make the original a piece worth displaying on its own.