Re: How to Remove color while leaving the emulsion

From: JEFFREY PAULL (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jun 12 2009 - 03:55:10 PDT

Hi, Myron,

On Thu 11/06/09 16:22 , Myron Ort email suppressed sent:
> We talked of the chemistry doing this for b&w film, but what will
> remove opacity from a color print without removing the emulsion?
> Any info on this one?
> Unreel the film over the entire backyard or roof, and let the sun hit it all summer.

No, actually, I don't know of anything, which explains that particular silence in my text.

         - Jeffrey P.

None of the following helps, but . . .
I remember there were chemicals you could use (or buy) that lightened a colour film's individual dye layers to colour-shift,
or lighten underexposed slides. I think they turned the colour dyes into their leuco variations which were colourless.
and if I remember correctly, this is what's happening when dyes fade in the usual way.
These chemicals may have only worked on Kodachrome film which has a different dye structure from all others.

Until colour film really took over in the '60s, photography had been enhanced by the ongoing labours of amateur darkroom workers everywhere,
and hundreds of small companies making cheap specialized gear and packaged chemicals.
These photo proto-nerds put tiny ads in, and published their discoveries in the magazines of the era, and they knew their chemistry and how to manipulate molecules.
And now most of that photo infrastructure is gone, and access to that information is also gone.

Knowing that almost all film has been colour film for a long time now,
and that's just about all there is to begin a project with, I'll keep cooking on it.

A guy named Patrick Dignan published a lot of this sort of stuff, see if Google helps give you leads.

But probably the only feasable thing to do nowadays is buy so-called "lightstruck" leader,
or B&W print stock - even from a lab that's still doing B&W - and dunk it directly in photo fixer to remove the silver halides
and wind up with transparent film with gelatine coating intact.
B&W soundtrack stock works too, but it usually has a grey plastic base which holds back some of the light.
This makes direct projection of original dimmer, but if you're using it as original to be printed,
the lab can use a different light to compensate.


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.