21st Century CUHSD - World Classroom of Photography
Civility, Creativity, Composition, Collaboration, Connection, Communication
Print Last Name, First Roll Number
Date Solarization.2000 K. Bone
A Guide on the Side, no longer a Sage on the Stage
"Creative Mind's Eye View" of the World
Photography I, II, III, & IV
Bone's Guide to Solarization - Special Effects
One of the most durable of the creative darkroom techniques, solarization is simply the partial reversal of an exposed negative or print. True solarization is caused by a chemical reaction brought on by gross over exposure, but with modern films, this image reversal by exposure alone is virtually impossible to achieve. The technique is more properly known as the Sabattier effect, named after the French photographer who discovered it in 1862, but is still referred to by most photographers as solarization.
The Sabattier effect is a combination of negative and positive values within a single image, and is caused by re-exposure (of the print) to light during the development process. The experimental technique owes much of its fascination to the unpredictable nature of the process. You can work with the same image for days and not exhaust the potentially different effects. (Iahue, Kalton Pettersen's Big Book of Photography: 410)
Because the solarization process requires exhausted developer and repeated light exposures, you are not allowed to attempt this exciting process during the regular class period. You must make a special appointment with Mr. Bone during the regular after school tutorial periods, or if he is available, during his lunch period to use this technique without bothering others in the darkroom.
With Mr. Bone's permission, replace the fresh developer with exhausted developer, or pour 75% of the fresh developer back into the developer storage bottle. Dilute the remaining developer 3 parts water to 1 part developer. When you are through with your special effects trial and error experiments, pour the exhausted or diluted developer into Mr. Bone's designated exhausted developer bottle or ask him if you should pour it down the drain. Do not return the exhausted or diluted developer into the fresh developer bottle. Wash and dry all trays before returning them to the storage shelves. Wipe down the enlarger area with a damp paper towel before and after you do your special effects experimental work!
Two Methods are recommended: Read them both and decide which you would like to try!
Bone's Simplified Solarization technique:
01. Make a normal enlargement exposure with a negative that you think will benefit from solarization
02. Remove the negative from the negative carrier; replace the negative carrier in the enlarger
03. Slide the print paper emulsion side up (face up) in the replaced "exhausted" or diluted developer (slows the developer process to give you added control during the developer process). Submerge all corners, continually rock the developer tray during the developing.
04. As soon as the image begins to appear, immediately remove it from the developer, and place it emulsion side up (face up) in a clean dry print carrier tray from below the sink.
05. Place the carrier tray with the print emulsion side (face up) under the enlarger
06. Check with all other in the darkroom to be sure all paper is in the light-tight enlarger drawers.
07. Flash the white enlarger light on and off rapidly 10 or 20 times. You decide and count how many times to start with. Remember that this is strictly experimental. Record, analyze, and modify the number of time you flash to get the special effect that you desire. You can also try diffusing the white light through a sheet of typing paper to give you greater control (adds time).
Caution: This procedure will light up the entire darkroom. Properly warn everyone!
08. After this brief re-exposure to white light, return the print to the exhausted or diluted developer tray (face up). Let the developing process slowly continue until you nearly achieve the special effect that you desire. (Slowly - this is the reason for using the exhausted or diluted developer)
08. Drip the print for 10 seconds (It will continue to develop), then slide the print (face down) in the rinse to immediately stop the development. Continually rock each of the trays.
09. Complete the remaining developing procedures normally, keeping your print face down until it has been in the fixer at least 3 minutes.
01. The controlling variables in this experimental process are:
the strength of the used or diluted developer
the length of initial print development, i.e.. when the development was interrupted for the white light re-exposure
The length of time, the distance, and the f Stop intensity of the re-exposure
The length of time the print was allowed to develop after the re-exposure
To standardize the Sabattier effect, you must standardize the image size, the amount of exposure time, the distance and the f Stop intensity of the illumination used for the re-exposure, and how quickly you stop the development. Print all of this data down in your field notes to develop your own steps to standardize your solarization experimental process.
Count the 10 second drip time as part of the developing time! Properly drip the prints for 10 seconds to prevent contamination which will ruin your special effects. Never exchange the tray tongs.
Make lots of test strips, it will be very expensive to continue to make 8x10 exposures until you have developed your own standardized experimental process. Turn in all test strips and all attempted solarized prints!
Plan on several experimental sessions before you can actually produce the special effect that you desire. Often this takes days or weeks until you develop your own technique.
Do not put the wet print on the easel or enlarger surface area. Do not contaminate the dry enlarger areas with sloppy work and chemicals.
Rinse out, dry, and replace the print carrier tray. Wipe down the enlarger area with a damp paper towel before and after you do your special effects experimental work! Loosen the enlarger brake, and move the enlarger head back to the normal position. and replace the easel when your are finished. Lightly snug down the brake. Make sure that you replaced the negative carrier. Never turn on the enlarger without the negative carrier in place.
method # 2 continue next page
Method # 2:
Note: For some students this is more demanding because you must be precise!
My 1990 photo II student, Jennifer Moorehead - an excellent photographer, researched, and modified my original solarization technique as follows:
01. Remove the enlarger easel, set up a used 8x10 print paper (use the back of the used print paper to focus on) in a clean, dry, print carrier tray. The carrier trays are stored in shelves below the darkroom chemical developing trays.
02. Mark the tray corner positions on the enlarger work surface with small pieces of masking tape. This step will allow you to replace the print carrier tray in the correct position to complete the enlarger exposure process. Remove the masking tape when you are done!
03. Make several test strips over the used print paper image to determine the correct exposure f Stop, lens distance, and exposure times for your experimental print. Print each exposure setting on your field note form and on the back of the dried test strips to show Mr. Bone when all test strips are complete.
04. Replace the used piece of print paper with a new print paper, pre-develop the unexposed print for only 20 seconds in the developer chemical. Using the tongs, carefully remove the pre- developed print from the developer, placing it emulsion side up (face up) in the same position in the print carrier tray. Place the pre-developed print in the exact same focused position under the enlarger that was used for the test strips. Allow it to sit and develop for 10 seconds.
05. Make the correct "ideal" exposure on the already partially pre-developed print paper in the print carrier tray. This "ideal" exposure is based on your series of test strips!
06. Remove the negative from the negative carrier, replace the negative carrier back in the enlarger, loosen the enlarger break, and rack the enlarger all the way up the extension.
07. Check with all others in the darkroom. Have all other paper put in the light-tight drawers. Re- expose the print with bright enlarger white light at f Stop 5.6 for an additional 1 1/2 seconds.
08. Return the print to the "used" or diluted developer tray and develop the print for an additional 30 seconds or until it looks nearly the way you want it to look. Drip the print for 10 seconds, and develop the print as if a normal print.
09. Record your procedure steps, the f Stop exposure, the lens distance, and the specific time exposure on your field note form.
10. Examine the developed print to make experimental modifications to the procedure to achieve the special effects you desire.