Self Portrait with Coffee

Tom Lascell

Black and White Photography


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The Kallitype is one of several pre-silver gelatin contact printing processes utilizing light sensitive salts to create an image. The process was developed by Dr. W. W. Nichol (1889) based upon the previous work of Sir John Herschel (ca. 1842) who discovered an iron salt conversion to metalic iron when exposed to ultra-violet light. This is the same chemical conversion seen in Cyanotypes and VanDyke browns.

An emulsion of iron oxalate and silver nitrate is brushed onto paper, allowed to dry, then placed in a contact printing frame with a negative before exposure to natural sunlight. The resulting image is then developed in a weak acid bath to produce the rich chocolate black tones.

A series of kallitype images was shown in exhibit at the Green Door Studio (Burlington, VT) in 2009. Most of the images were reinterpretations of original silver gelatin prints. They were scanned to digital, then printed as negatives on clear acetate. The final images were contact printed using the kallitype process on 100% cotton art paper. Some were mounted and framed with the brush marks showing; some were matted to hide the over-brushing. Consequently, each has a different aesthetic feel.


St. Sophia St. Sophia

Istanbul, Turkey

Reinterpreted as a kallitype in 2007


More from the Kallitype Gallery



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