Unblinking Eye


Sandy King

Sandy is a carbon printer from South Carolina whose work has been featured in numerous print and web publications.  He is also the author of a self-published book on carbon printing, The Book of Carbon and Carbro. He has worked with color carbon and in monochrome with both the single transfer and double transfer methods. He prints mostly with homemade tissue but has also used with success carbon tissues produced by Bostick & Sullivan. He now prints primarily with digital negatives, though much of his work in the past was done with LF and ULF in-camera negatives.  His printing procedures, as outlined below, are traditional, though he often aims for a much higher relief than is seen in most historical work. Sandy’s step-by-step working procedures are as follow.

  1. Negatives are scanned and the image file is prepared in Photoshop. When all tonal corrections and manipulations are completed a digital negative is printed on Pictorico using an Epson 3800 inkjet printer.
  2. The homemade carbon tissue that will be used in a working session is spirit-sensitized, using a 1:1 mixture of a solution of ammonium dichromate and acetone.
  3. The tissue is exposed in a vacuum frame with a bank of UV fluorescent tubes and light integrator. Exposure times are quite long, ranging from 500 units to 1000 integrator units, where one unit is approximately one second.
  4. The exposed tissue is combined in cool water with a final paper support and the sandwich is left together under pressure for about 15 minutes.
  5. The print is developed in warm water. The sandwich of tissue and final paper support is placed in warm water at about 120F. The tissue is stripped from the support after five minutes and the print is then placed face down in the water and allowed to develop on its own, with occasional agitation. When the print has reached the desired density it is transferred to a tray of cold water for a couple of minutes, then placed in a 5% solution of sodium bisulfite for about two minutes to remove dichromate from the paper support. The print is then soaked again in cold water for about five minutes, and placed on a rack to dry.

Figure 9 – Sandy King, “Old Mosque in Edirne,”  Turkey, 12X17” single transfer carbon print on Baryta.

Figure 10 – Sandy King, “Spanish Cork Trees,”  12X17” single transfer carbon print on Baryta.

Figure 11 – Sandy King, “Mitla Stone.”  10X14” single transfer carbon print on Baryta.



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