Re: handmade emulsion

From: Jason Halprin (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Feb 01 2007 - 15:48:52 PST

Joe et al.

Unfortunatley, trying to make a silver halide emulsion without gelatin
creates some problems (though it may technically be possible).
Impurities in the silver halide matrix are important to latent image
formation, and gelatin provides some helpful sulfer ions. If you check
out the wikepedia article on "silver bromide" it goes into the chemical
reasons that a defect in the crystal is helpful to image formation. I
don't mean to deter you from experimenting with agar or other
coagulates, please do and let us know about results, successful or

In terms of books on handmade emulsion, "Silver Gelatin" by Martin Reed
and Sarah Jones is a good one to check out. It addresses still
photography and applying emulsion to surfaces other than paper, but
also contains a number of recipies for making emulsion.

A hint here would be that if you are trying to apply emulsion to 16mm
film, purchasing print stock and then fixing it completely will remove
the silver halide and leave a layer of gelatin. When you apply
emulsion it will bond to the gelatin better than it would to just a
base. In my trials with this method I have never been able to produce
something that would be usable as a camera stock: it is much too
fragile. If anyone out there knows of an application or drying
technique that helps, please post it.

-Jason Halprin

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