I have just unloaded two of my split-back contact printing frames and taken out the anthotypes that have been exposed for about a whole Finnish summer. In these northern latitudes UV light seldom is very powerful, so the exposure times for such a slow process can be very long (The Lily of the Valley is an exception, see the previous post)…

Here is a little history of an anthotype print of mine — a picture of a lion statue. The exposure was started on June 1st. Onion skin was boiled for a few minutes, and the tinted water was then used as the sensitizer. The color of the coated paper was quite weak orange-yellow, although I coated the paper four times, with drying in between the coatings. The color was weaker still after exposing for a month.  My contact (positive) inkjet film for the exposure was very contrasty and dense in the shadows.

After a 5 weeks exposure in sunlight (several hours every day, weather permitting) the image was there, but it was hopelessly pale.

I decided to continue printing on top of this pale image with a stronger color, and mashed red rose petals into pulp, and added a milliliter or two of denatured alcohol.

Crushing rose petals.

I then squeezed the juice out of the pulp through a coffee filter, and double coated with the rose purple over the yellow onion image. Before coating I had pushed pins through the film and the paper in all four corners to maintain the registration later.

Two layers of nice rose magenta spread on a sheet of paper.

I continued the exposure with the same negative — couldn’t see the image behind the rose color, but I could register the film to the pushpin holes. I stopped the exposure yesterday because of the low levels of autumn UV light. So the exposure has been continued with the rose color for about 9 weeks now, in addition to the 5 weeks with the onion hue. The print could stand even more, so the highlights could be lightened more. However, the print seems to fade all over during the exposure, even the deepest shadows don’t keep their original color.

Jalo Porkkala: Lion Statue, anthotype.

Here’s another colorant, extracted from mountain cornflower which donates deep ultramarine-like blue juice.

Mountain cornflower (Centauria Montana)

The cornflower is not too juicy, additional alcohol was needed. The sensitizer was coated on paper in four separate layers, but still it wasn’t easy to get an even coating…

The sensitized cornflower anthotype paper and the positive film.

The exposure time finally came to be about 12 weeks…

Jalo Porkkala: Lacock, anthotype.

Got two more anthotype prints coming out from the contact frames on the next few days… will post how they look.