Film to Digital Negative to Kallitype

It was a very exciting day today because I received the first half of the developed color 120mm film I shot at the beginning of my travels. I sent these rolls back home early so they aren’t as fogged as the ones I shot later. Despite what TSA says, putting your 400 iso speed film through their machines DOES make a difference. There is a major difference between the stuff I shot early and sent home vs. the rolls I took with my through numerous scanners. Big fogging issues. I am having to convert most of the images to black and white to salvage them and doing some serious tweaking in Photoshop.

Irregardless, I am totally thrilled with the whole process of this and am experimenting with different printing forms. For my birthday, I am treating myself to a Digital Negative to Kallitype class taught by Carlos Arrieta. Even though a good majority of my negatives are heavily fogged, I am impressed by the tones I am able to get with the kallitype print. I am hoping I can take a few more alternative processes classes and see which medium suits these images best. Why you ask am I taking a film negative, turning it into a digital negative then doing a Kallitype? It all seems extremely redundant and I might as well have just shot digitally in the first place no? Well the thing is with Kallitypes you have to place the negative directly on the light sensitive paper emulsion which actually deteriorates the negative rapidly so for the sake of preserving the original image, a digital copy is made.

Patented in 1889 by W. W. J. Nicol, the Kallitype print is an iron-silver process. A chemical process similar to the Van dyke brown based on the use of a combination of ferric and silver salts. Many developing solutions can be used to give a different image color (brown, sepia, blue, maroon and black). Kallitype images generally have a richer tonal range than the cyanotype.


One of the wonderful things about getting old film developed is the whole surprise element. It’s like Christmas morning, going through each image, remembering the moment, and then analyzing whether the shoot is actually good or not. In my case a good amount of fog, exposure and focus issues came into play but again it’s a part of the whole experience. I also found a couple rolls of family events including the last images took of my Obachan.

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