Monday, 23 November 2015

Afghan Box workshops and demonstrations

Last September was a very busy month regarding my Afghan Box Camera. I spent a couple of weekends demonstrating how the camera works to the public and making portraits. I also gave a two days workshop where I could explain in details how the camera works, a bit of the history and the most important of all...leaving the guys do some portraits by themselves. I got some really nice results!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Lambe-lambe / Afghan Box Instant camera

Last month I did quite a few tests using my Afghan Box camera, which is known here in Brazil as lambe-lambe. I'll be ministering a small workshop this month about this type of instant cameras and I'll also be doing some demonstrations with the camera so I have to be confortable when using. And nothing like hiting the streets of São Paulo with the camera and getting strangers to pose to you for a good portrait!

The pictures were all processed using my homebrew PaRodinal and fixer.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Salt Paper

I've made a couple of experiments at Sesc with Salt Paper process using the recipe of "The Keepers of Light" book (starch, sodium citrate and ammonium chloride) It's reasonable simple to make and the results are satisfatory considering the negatives I had in hands. 

These two copies below were made using digital negatives treated in Photoshop, I adjusted the curves aiming to achieve some contrast but more needs to be done. I might try too adding few drops of Potassium Dichromate onto the formula as its known to help increasing the contrast on salt papers. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015


Another couple of cyanotypes made from digital negatives. The first image was printed onto Hahnemuhle proof paper, the second one onto Filiperson. The developer used was acetic acid at 1% solution to work in the midtones, then I left the images in a bath of hydrogen peroxide to increase the blue tones.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Cyanotypes from digital negatives

I've just set up a bulk ink system on my cheap Epson printer because I was fed up on spending so much money on cartridges. The conversion is relative simple to make and the guys from the shop repair said that sometimes it can be done while you wait. 

Once I got my printer running, I decided to print some digital negatives so I can make a few alternative process. The task isn't really easy when it comes to cheap inkjet printers... although the costs of my prints has been reduced drastically, having a bulk system which is not from the same manufacturer means that you can't easily make a color profile. I'm having a really hard time printing in black in my case, all my prints are coming with a dark blue tone.

I've decided to try some cyanotypes couple of days ago and they came out ok... I've lost some details on the highlights and the prints had to be left in a solution of 5% hydrogen peroxide (10% volume). 

All prints were made on Hahnemuhle proof paper with a solution of 3% gelatin (leaf) average 5 - 8 minutes on artificial UV light.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Hand-titing ambrotypes

So yesterday I spent the whole doing some ambrotypes at my friend's lab for an exhibithion that's about to come to celebrate the 2015 wet plate day, which will happen in May.

I wanted to do some tests hand-tinting ambrotypes, I've seen many examples that were made at the time and as well some contemporary artists and I thought they're stunning. I know ambrotypes and ferrotypes looks fantatisc already just by themselves but I wanted to try anyway. As seen on Mark Osterman video, I added some dry pastels powder with pencils just before the varnish stage, got rid of the excess with the air blower and varnished. 

This is the result!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Pinhole images - Pinrette

A few shots taken in my hometown with the Beirette camera, which was converted into a pinhole camera. The film used is a very expired Ilford (hence the noticeable grains) I bought years ago and it was processed using the homemade PaRodinal developer.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A few shots taken in the city of Paraty, Rio de Janeiro. They're done with my Gakken Stereo Pinhole camera using the panoramic mode. I had a some problems to wind up the film and for that reason I couldn't finish an entire roll of film. At least I could get these shots taken at the local cemetery using a very expired Ilford film from the 60's.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Paraty Photography Festival 2014 - Afghan Box Camera (lambe-lambe) results.

So, these are a few results with my Afghan Box Camera (also known in Brazil as lambe-lambe) from few weeks ago at the "Paraty em Foco", a photography festival that happens every year in the Estate of Rio de Janeiro. We've set up the camera at the central square in the very pictoresque town of Paraty and the results are great, but more than that, we've interacted quite a lot with the passers by that were really interested on how the camera worked. We've had few volunteers!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Afghan Box Camera

I've spent a couple of very busy months on building and testing my Afghan Box Camera, a sort of "instant camera" from the past. The camera is basically a light proof box where, besides working as a camera, it also works as a darkroom. That's because all the  image processing is made inside the camera soon after the shot it's been taken. For this, a tray with a developer and fixer is placed inside so the photographic paper can be processed.

I've followed the brilliant work of Lukas Birk and Sean Foley from the Afghan Box Camera. If you're interested on more about this sort of cameras I highly recommend checking out the site. I've also built a Tumblr page where I've been posting all stuff related to my project:

And here are some of the test I've made so far...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hand-tinted Albumen

I have done some prints with the Albumen technic using digital negatives. The quality of the print is ok comparing to the orignal shot in 35mm. I have printed the tweaked file in a normal inkjet printer using a simple tranparency sheet so I can't really expect much quality to be honest...

The great thing about this picture is that I could test some watercolours onto the print. This image was printed on Hahnemuhle proof paper which is cheaper and yet really good, I love the way the colours rendered onto the Albumen.

It's a shame I missed some of the details in the shadows, especially in the model's face, but I guess the colours really added some atmosphere to the shot.

Thursday, 17 April 2014


I have recently done a photogravure workshop with the people from the "Atelier Estrela Brasil Oriente" here in São Paulo. It's not my intention in anyway to provide a “complete guide” on photogravure here as you can easily check everything about this amazing 19th technic over the web, particularly here This is just my own way of documenting and recording what I did at this great workshop at Sesc Pompéia.

First of all you need a copper plate slightly bigger the size you want your image, they're not cheap and you'll spend a lot of time polishing in order to make it “shine like a mirror”, so try getting one with less damaging or scratches as possible or you'll might have to spend a good hour polishing... here's my “before and after”.

  After cleaning, the plate is inserted in a box containing rosin for 2 minutes. Prior to that, the box must have a sort of mechanism to agitate the rosin inside, making the grains float for a few seconds. The time you wait the grains to sediment in the box is what will define the size of the rosin grains needed for the process (in my case 20 seconds).

After 2 minutes, the plate is removed from the box and then taken straight to the heating area to be fixed. 

Once it's fixed, the plate is ready to receive the gelatine previously made light-sensitive with a 3.5% solution of potassium bichromate at 15º and dried for an hour at room temperature/50% humidity,  the image will be exposed under the UV light. 

Making a contact print  with negative and the sensitized gelatine

So I had my digital positive in acetate adjusted in PS in order to get the most in terms of tonal range. I then made the contact under the UV light so I could get the image recorded on my gelatine. It's always good to remember that you start with a positive image because you're making the negative onto the copper plate.

Receiving 2.30'' of UV light.

After exposing it, you'll need to place the gelatine onto the plate with the desired position, you should do this by immersing first the plate in a tray with water at 15º, and then the gelatine. Start guiding in the position wanted gently with your hands until the sheet adheres to the plate, this process should take five minutes. Use a squeegee to get rid off the water excess and finish by pressing with a cloth making sure no bubbles has been created.  Leave again to dry for 20 minutes with a piece of glass on top.

To remove the paper base you should do this by giving several baths of water at different temperatures, starting at 32º and then gradually move to a hotter mix (36º, 39º, 42º) and with running water at 44º. You should keep it until no signs of dichromate can be seen in the water, that means the gelatine is getting soft again and the paper base will come off, the whole process should take about 7-10 minutes. Once the paper base comes off you will have to decrease the water temperature slowly until reaches 15º.

Let the plate dry for a little while...

What happens from now is that the gelatine that got exposed under the UV light is hardened onto the plate, what didn't get exposed will be washed away during the acid bath. Before that you need to protect the plate borders  and back with a good masking tape and contact paper. The reason you do that is that you can get a nice border on your final print.


Leave it to dry for about eight hours so the gelatine can settle again to its normal. The plate then is  finally ready to go to the sequence of acid baths.

The acid used is Ferric Chloride and there are several baths that can be use during this process in order to achieve better grey tones. Each bottle of this has a different thickness of acid, which is measured in Baumer (Bé) . So we start with deep blacks in 48º and 45º "Bé", we then move to 43º, 41º and 39º Bé for the greys and mid tones and lastly (depending upon your image), 37º Bé for the highlights. Something I'd suggest is to have a copy of the image you're recording next to you, in that way you can check the progress on your plate and make the decison accordingly.

The numbers below shows the approximately time spent in each bath, it obviously depends on the image you have (highlights or deep shadows). You'll see the image appearing on the plate as the acid starts to work, which is a good way of deciding the amount of time you will spend in each bath.

- 48º / 1 minute 30 seconds
- 45º / 6 minutes
- 43º / 6 minutes
- 41º / 5 minutes
- 39º / 6 minutes 30 seconds
- 37º / 4 minutes 50 seconds

Once the plate is recorded is time to get the whole masking tape with alcohol and finishing with salt and vinegar to degrease the plate.

With the recorded plate dried, is time to put some printing ink on and do a test.

Clean the excess of ink with a soft cloth and you'll start seeing the image you'll get on the paper...

Put a slightly wet paper on the top of the plate (this paper should be left in the sink with warm water for at least half an hour) and pass through the machine...

And finally, the results!!

Original negative taken with an Holga camera.