Negra Portrene from Barcelona. More Old Paper.

I picked up some more old paper. Based on my recent project to allow bigger enlargements I was on the look-out for 16x20 paper. Good fortune came my way in the form of Negra Portrene. An unopened box of 16x20 paper. The seller said he tried some from another box and it was good. The price was right and so I took a gamble.

There is not much information on this paper on the web. Most references are from Spanish language sites as the paper was made in Barcelona. The Negra company went out of business perhaps as far back as the 70s. Some research revealed a stock certificate. And other research indicates it started in 1956.
Negra Industrial Stock Certificate
I found and translated with the help of Google the following footnote in a book on Spanish archaeology photographs.
The Spanish industries tried to compete that had little entity and disappeared soon, and unable to sustain the harsh foreign competition. 
In 1893 a manufacturer of photographic products in  Murcia dedicated to the manufacture of gelatin plates and also marketed artist's paper. In 1916 a company called Manufacturas de Papeles Fotograficos was founded in Barcelona. This was absorbed by Editorial Fotografica , who in 1914 would become the historically Negra y Tort, the forerunner of the current Negra Industrial SA. This was the only Spanish company that managed to face foreign competition.
There is link here to some modern photographs of an old facility of Negra's. It also notes the company went under in the 1970's which aligns with some legal paper work I found that might have indicated the end of the company. Negra also carried a line of cheap bakelite cameras, super 8 projectors from Japan and Durst enlargers from Italy.

A 1964 advertisement for film...

The paper is labeled PRV 111 Glossy Brilliant (Baryta). It is graded fiber-based paper and the letters and numbers probably relate to the paper and grade. I would not call it glossy however rather more like pearl from modern Ilford papers.

When the paper arrived I cut a sheet into 8x10 sheets, I ran some test strips and they looked good, Unexposed areas were white and there seemed to be good contrast. I tried using VC filters as well in case the V in PRV meant variable contrast. Alas the only differences were in 1 stop difference between the #00 filter  and #5 filter. At f11 and 45 seconds I got a good print.

Negra Portrene 8x10 Print f11 at 45 seconds
after  scanning the print I bleached with pot ferri and re-developed it with Lith developer. I was hoping for a much warmer tone in the bleached areas. It didn't seem to do this however and merely developed normally. This probably due to the lack of overexposure. Result below. The border is warmer I think because I didn't wash the paper sufficiently.

Bleach and Redevelopment with Lith Developer
Lith and Toning Negra Portrene
Subsequent to the above tests I ran some more. First I wanted to test if the paper can be Lith developed. I mixed a fresh 1 liter batch of Fotospeed Lith at 1+14 dilution. I exposed 2 fresh sheets of 8x10 Negra Portrene at f4.5 instead of f11 for the normal exposure. This is between 2 and 3 stops over exposed. I also heated the developer in the microwave for 2 minutes, This is not without its risks and should be thought through carefully. I made some notes of my technique in this blog article.

After I completed one exposure I put it in the developer while I setup and exposed the second sheet. In my past experience Lith takes a long time even when the developer is heated. Once the second exposure was complete I turned my attention to the print in the developer and I was shocked to see it already had a well defined image. I scrambled for my red flashlight and it quickly was becoming quite dark so I snatched it out and stuck it in the stop bath. I then developed the second print and though I didn't time it, the print was ready I would guess inside of  2 minutes and was so quick I think I pulled it out too late as well. Below is the second print which I think is the better of the two.
f4.5 45 seconds Lith

The first print I later toned with 1+19 selenium toning. This seemed to cool the tone somewhat and deepened the blacks. Here it is below...
f4.5 45 seconds Lith Selenium 1+19 toning
Finally I took the original print from the beginning of this post and tortured it yet further with selenium toning (1+19 again).
The tortured print

1 comment:

Guy Paterson said...

Yes I've 3 boxes of this 16x20 paper and have been enjoying with printing it for a while
Had been using a box of prv 111 which worked well and had tried a matt box of 113 that seems way too grainy (so I need to do some experimenting with the chemistry to see if I can control this a bit more) I've recently tried a box of prv 114 and this has now become my favourite. Thanks for your great blog - as you say very little info out on this paper. I can post some images of mine done with this paper if you're interested.