The Albumen print was the first process that was used commerically to produce photographic prints.  Also referred to as the Albumen Silver process, it was invented by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard in 1850.  The process utilized the protein Albumen found within egg-whites to fix the photographic chemicals to the paper.  A second form of processing utilized around the same time was the Gelatin Silver print.  This process was discovered in 1871 by R.L. Maddox, and was popular due to its ability to retain its exposure capacity for years after they had been manufactured.  This was in stark contrast to the popular collodial wet plate process which required exposure immediately after coating.  Finally, we will discuss the Arrowroot print process.  Arrowroot is a plant approximately two feet in height that is indigenous to South Eastern United States and the West Indies.  Arrowroot was used  once used as the main component in producing “carbonless copy paper”.  

Above: Charles Négre 1859, Albumen Print (from wet-collodion glass negative)

Henri Bechard 1875 Albumen Print




We shook the egg, true… it kinda turned in to a meringue.  This is a rather long video, but if you have never done this before you may want to check it out, it is very descriptive and easy to follow.


This is using a collodian negative.  Albumen print, such great detail it sooo cool! Mine did not come out exactly like that, few smudges and less detail :/


This process was a little more involved than the others.  We did this experiment over a few different days.

Preparation of the paper:

For our Exploration we really focused on looking in to Albuman, it seemed to turn out the best of the 3 processes we used, (Albuman, Arrowroot, Gelatin).

-Again, we used 100% Rag paper.

Albuman–>> We used 12 eggs appx. or 500ml of egg white, no yoke!!! Then adding 3ml Vinegar, & 7.5 g NaCl.  You need to shake this mixture very hard in order to get the egg completely mixed up, almost a foam.

** We let the Albuman set up for a few days, it was an important part of the process in order to get all the bubbles to sit on the top and get it cooled down.***

->To start this application we began with slowly pouring the egg in to a shallow glass pan, (larger than our papers so we can completely soak our papers. WARNING:  Make sure when you do this not to splash or really get any air in the egg, this will only lead to bubbles and a bad image.

->To prepare our paper we bent up all of the edges, (kind of to form a little boat type thing).  This made it easier to have an edge to hold as we wet only the surface of the paper.

->We tried out papers with one layer and two layers.  The two layers seemed to produce a much more glossy image, but I have heard that if you do too many it may not work as well, it’s always about finding the happy medium.

->After each layer we hung them on a “close-line” type thing until dry, for the ones that needed a second coat we then applied it.

****For this experiment we kind of screwed up we did not understand how exactly we were supposed to apply the alcohol.  We applied it after the first coat.  We then realized that we screwed up and therefore did not apply it after the second coat.****

->To make it a solar sensitive paper we put on 2 coats of silver (one pipette each time). Again, an even coating is very important to the turn out of your photo.

->Exposure times for this were appx. 10 minutes.  We want to see a dark color, the images wash out a bit and turn to a warm color brown. (As Seen Below)

->Again We used Hypo baths, going through a process of 4 baths each for appx 3 minutes each with the last bath lasting about 50 minutes to rinse off all of the excess silver to reduce accidental exposure and reaction. (As Seen Below)

-> The images ended up turning out a little darker and a little less depth.  As mentioned in the beginning, we worked with 3 types during this experiment.  I think that the Albumen, seemed to produce the best image very good depth. The Albuman did have a great quality to it in that it was glossy, it was very nice to be able to see an image that looked a little closer to modern day photography… and I actually created it!!


**** Just one last note: The longer you expose you image the better your prints will probably come out.  There is a point at which you can over expose, but I obviously did not do that, I could have used a little more time******


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