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Salt Print on Old Photographic Paper

In previous posts I explored using expired 4x5 film emulsion as a basis for making salt prints. I reasoned that if better results were had with sized paper then it should be possible to use expired film as 'sized plastic'. This worked though it is difficult to achieve consistent results. I then extended this to expired photographic plates and achieved some success there. The next 'frontier' is to apply the same techniques to expired paper.

Preparing the Paper

Again I took a few full sheets of ORWO black and white paper and fixed it for 5 minutes in rapid fixer.  Then I washed for 10 minutes as one would a developed print. The point of all this is to remove all the silver from the emulsion. I then dried the paper thoroughly.

Salting the Paper

Next I immersed the paper in salt solution for about 10 minutes. Previous work with film found that insufficient time in the salt solution levels the result insensitive as the salt has not fully been absorbed into the gelatin. Again this is dried.


For the sensitization step here I decided to tape down the edges of the paper using Scotch tape to a sheet of Perspex. This would keep the silver nitrate solution off the back of the paper. Next I poured the solution next to the paper and used a plastic ruler to push the solution evenly around the paper. I made sure to cover all the paper by spreading the solution a number of times. The paper will pucker as it expands from the moisture. Once this is complete I dried the whole sheet of Perspex on a hot plate under a box to keep out stray light.

Once dried the paper is ready to use and should be used in a day or two. Again I contacted printed a 4x5 negative. The first at 6 minutes and the second at 10 minutes. The day was partly cloudy and so the exposures were not consistent. Indeed the second exposure was lighter.

Paper under negative sandwiched under glass after exposure.
Exposed paper with negative removed before fixing.
Print after salt water fixing.
Print after hypo fix.
6 Minute Exposure

10 Minute exposure