Historical Processes: Carbon and Carbro Prints - Trust Me Shops

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Historical Processes: Carbon and Carbro Prints

Historical Processes: Carbon and Carbro Prints

B&H explora - All posts
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The years between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries were some of the most inventive for photographic processes. As the camera began to be taken seriously as an expressive tool, photographers started exploring the creative possibilities offered by various printing processes, including pigment-based printing techniques such as carbon printing and later carbro printing.

Above photograph: Harry Warnecke, Inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937, 1937, carbro print. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The earliest experiments into pigment printing using carbon trace back to the French chemist Alphonse-Louise Poitevin, who, in 1859, patented a method of creating photographs using a carbon, potassium dichromate, and gelatin emulsion. Although his experiments set important precedents for a range of future photographic processes, Poitevin’s images were contrasty, because the process lacked the ability to render fine detail. Five years later, British scientist and inventor Joseph Swan refined Poitevin’s process and patented a tissue-based carbon printing method with a more complete tonal range.

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