By Ernest J. Theisen
The following is a method that I have developed for myself to make Oil Pigment Prints for transfer. I am pleased to share it with you.
Those of you that have studied the history of the Bromoil Process remember that bromoil was invented so that a worker could make oil prints with out having a large negative. That meant that photographers that used small format cameras could make oil pigment prints using their enlarger and bromide paper. This process was named Bromoil, a contraction of "Bromide" and "Oil" However to make a bromide photograph into a oil pigment print one must go through several additional steps, namely; making the enlargement, bleaching/tanning the bromide print to make the matrix.
by Ernest J. Theisen
To make oil prints however, one just
needs a large negative and "oil paper".
If you do not use a large format camera, 4x5, 5x7, 8x10 or larger, you will most likely want to make an enlarged negative from your small format negative. There are many ways to make large negatives and many articles on how to do that. Until recently most all the methods for making enlarged negatives involved having a darkroom.
Oil Transfer Print
9 1/2" x 7 1/4"
GC &I Dark brown lithographic ink
Receptor paper: Arches #300 lb hot press
Personal computers, scanners, PhotoShop (or the equivalent) and high quality ink jet printers (Epson as an example), have made it possible to easily produce enlarged negatives for bromoil, gum, casein etc. either by using overhead transparency material (viewgraphs) or paper negatives, without a darkroom.
Silver bromide photographic paper consists of a support material (usually rag paper or a plastic material), coated with an emulsion mixture; silver bromide, gelatin and other stuff. It follows then, that if we removed the silver emulsion with fixer we would be left with oil paper. Oil paper that we could coat with a bichromate solution and expose under a large negative. This is what my experiments have been concerned with these last several months. And I have now had enough success that I what to share my results with you.
Some of the papers I worked with gave better
results than did others. I do not know why. It could be the thickness
of the gelatin coating, the age of the paper (I used paper I
had lying around) or something in the emulsion mixture the remained
So the process goes like this:
I treat the matrix like a gum print following exposure. Out of the printing frame into a tray of room ambient water face down for 20 minutes or so then into my print washer for 30 minutes until all or most of the Bichromate stain has left. This now becomes my matrix.
I dry the matrix and when I am ready to print it I soak it in 110-degree water for 20 minutes and ink it. I transfer the image onto Arches watercolor paper.
I have had success with fiber based Agfa and
Forte papers. I tried Illford RC and some old Oriental RC paper
and I did not get good results. This is not meant to be the end
of the search and I am not eliminating RC papers. I just have
not found one that works as well as the two I am using.
Why do this? Well it almost eliminates the requirement for a darkroom, and there is no bleaching process involved. The downside is you have to make an enlarged negative and you need an UV printer.
I am sure that other workers have done the
same thing that I am doing. I am not claiming to have invented
anything, I just never heard of anyone else doing it so I have
been working alone.
Ernest J. Theisen. April, 2000