Beginner to Contact Printing needs help : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Having only used E6 transparencies in my 5x4" camera, I would like to try some black and white work. However, I don't have an enlarger (or a darkroom for that matter). What do I need to be able to make contact prints, and how do I go about making them?

-- David Nash (, October 02, 1998


you need a room you make dark, a lightsource (a lightbulb does nicely) a switch to turn that light on and off in a controlled manner, a flat surface, a very clean, scratch free heay piece of glass, appropriate paper, appropriate chemistry for that paper, trays to hold that chemistry, a wash tray, and a clothes line and clothes pins to hand the print up while it is drying.

-- Ellis (, October 02, 1998. has lots of articles on printing, and B&W forums.

-- Alan Gibson (, October 02, 1998.

There are many so-called "alternative processes" that don't require a real darkroom and lend themselves to contact printing, usually via sunlight or strong artificial light high in UV content. You might try POP (printing-out paper), available from Chicago Albumen Works. The image is made simply by exposing the paper to light. There are ways to fix it too. Photographer's Formulary has several kits available. 4x5 contacts are challenging!

-- Peter Hughes (, October 02, 1998.

To continue on this thread, would it be possible to have an old cold light enlarger head as light source for alternative processes. Does cold light mean there is a lot of UV light in the package?

-- Emil Ems (, October 08, 1998.

In answer to the question about light sources for alternative photographic processes, most of them will require contact printing by full sunlight. An alternative would be a lithographer's plate burner with a high intensity mercury vapor or carbon arc lamp.

The cold light head will be too weak for just about all but the printing out paper, and that will require a long exposure of several minutes -- long enough to make it very tedious.

If you have a cold light that you can place right on the contact printing frame glass, you might have some luck.

-- Tony Brent (, October 08, 1998.

re: Contact printing. It is easy. See my articles in View Camera July/Aug 1996 and May/June 1998, I think.

-- Michael A. Smith (, January 27, 1999.

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