Long, Long Journey to the Sea

A Portfolio of 16x20 inch Gold-toned Albumen Prints

Albumen printing was photography in the 1850s!

In today’s version of this process, Tim creates a 16 x 20 negative transparency from either a scanned 8 x 10 negative or a digital capture. 

To obtain the albumen, dozens of eggs are cracked and the yolks separated from the whites. The whites are beaten to a stiff meringue and allowed to sit overnight. The albumen settles to the bottom of the jar as a beautiful pale yellow liquid. The meringue is removed, and the albumen allowed to age from one month to years. 

Tim then floats Canson sketching paper on salted albumen solution and allows it to dry. This is the same paper used since the 1850s. Subsequently, the albumenized paper is floated on a 20% silver nitrate solution for three minutes. After floating, the coated paper is sensitive to light. The paper and the enlarged negative are sandwiched together and exposed to ultraviolet light in a vacuum frame. 

After washing to remove excess silver, the image is toned in a solution of gold chloride mixed with a small amount of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and washed. Two thiosulfate baths and a final wash follow.