On January 25, I announced the #printparteh hashtag and the associated print party that was to take place on Twitter from March 5 to April 1, 2018. In this post, we will have a look at the outcome and summarize what people contributed and learned. What better way to summarize a bunch of Tweets than a curated set of Tweet? I have embedded the originals below, so feel free to click and read the entire thread back on Twitter. In my opinion, this set provides a nice — but far from complete — overview of all the contributions. If you are reading this and cannot find your own, don’t worry! Unfortunately I cannot show everything, but your contribution is very much appreciated.
Header image by Juan Cabezas de Herrera
Newbies and gurus attended alike
The party saw printers from all levels come and go. Some had never printed before and had to start from scratch. Some of them didn’t even have regular trays yet and had to make due with tiny prints in tiny trays.
— ZeroHour (@ZeroH0ur_) March 5, 2018
For some of the new kids to the block, #printparteh was a good reason to buy an enlarger, and build their own darkroom at home, or to finish it in time and finally have an excuse to use it. More often than not, a bathroom or laundry room was converted into a workable darkroom, with windows blinded off and gaps in closest made light proof.
— Dan Smith (@DanSmith74) March 13, 2018
@PrintParteh Getting the darkroom together for the parteh. Safelight and enlarger working. Room cleared, next jobs are to sort the electrics, paint it up and light seal. This is the push I need, hoping to get a print out in the next couple of weeks☺ pic.twitter.com/dMt0ut0nlN
— Jon Burtoft (@JBurtoft) February 26, 2018
…get up off my a*se already and finish bringing my darkroom back up to operating condition.
— Paul Glover (@artXchemistry) January 21, 2018
Others were more advanced, and focused on the more detail oriented tasks, such as spotting prints before sending it out to a show. Although a tedious task for most, you get to wear sexy head wear as demonstrated by @ClickErik:
And miss out on the headwear?! pic.twitter.com/VuFy7PKTXv
— erik (@ClickErik) March 16, 2018
Or as in my case, to matting prints:
Just cut my first mat. This will be my contribution for the small print exchange of #printparteh. Learned a lot of what to do and what not. 15×15 cm work print, 20×20 cm mat. pic.twitter.com/rzqnwZ0RMl
— Roy Bijster (@PrinterAttic) March 29, 2018
Failures and triumphs
Printing is riddled with failures and triumphs, no matter whether you have 25 years of darkroom experience or have just started out. Julo for example, had lamps blow, and sometimes images barely showing.
Ashley was caught by a print losing it sparkly due to the dry down effect
— Ashley B Williams (@Grumpyfck) March 19, 2018
Monika, on the other hand, had to beat a print into submission after plaguing her for a while.
Final print. Took a pre flash, split filtering, a bit of dodging. pic.twitter.com/lWO6Z8Rab1
— Monika (@DrMarsRover) March 11, 2018
Alternative printing techniques aplenty
A bit surprisingly, #printparteh saw its fair share of alternative printing techniques, and cyanotypes in particular. It makes for nice prints without the need for an enlarger, and gives plenty of opportunities for experimentation.
Joe Cunningham was one of the people leading the charge, and went from
— José Cunningham Vásquez (@JoeCCunningham) March 10, 2018
— José Cunningham Vásquez (@JoeCCunningham) March 11, 2018
to this, in a matter of a few weeks:
Joe was not alone in his journey with cyanotype, and was quickly joined by for example Monika, David and Ben:
— Monika (@DrMarsRover) March 10, 2018
— David S Allen (@DBloomsday) March 31, 2018
— jeweler to the people (@benhigh) March 12, 2018
To me the brush strokes and uneven edges give an extra touch to these portraits. Toby showed us you don’t have to limit yourself to a paper base either. Tiles seem to work just as well:
Since it's this eve's conversation, this is my prep for tomorrow's exposure. Some ceramic tiles my Wife made for me. pic.twitter.com/TBeYOHN5nF
— Toby Van de Velde (@TobyVPhoto) March 11, 2018
Andrew Bartram didn’t quite jump on the cyanotype train, but made salt prints instead:
— Andrew Bartram (@Warboyssnapper) April 2, 2018
And it is not just monochrome either. Although not really an alternative process, Chi seems to be the only one in the party to try her hand at it again:
Here is something I'd like to share with you @PrintParteh!
It was really hard to get the colours I wanted. I took time to adjust colours and felt a bit frustrated.. but I enjoyed making prints. #darkroom #DarkroomPrint #believeinfilm pic.twitter.com/i8gfr1Hv5Z
— Chikako (Chi) (@chichic) March 21, 2018
Very successfully so, I may add.
Perhaps motivated by the lack of sunshine in some parts of the world, the do-it-yourself mentality blossomed and resulted in the construction of several UV light boxes. Where these traditionally use UV gas discharge lamps, @martinfoot, @benhigh and @blaurebell took it upon themselves to make UV boxes using UV LEDs. A bit of soldering can give you a more than adequate box to make cyanotypes or other UV sensitive prints.
All of the prints above were 25 minute exposures in my custom UV LED light box. It was surprisingly easy and cheap to make. Everyone should try it. Same with cyanotypes. So easy. #printparteh pic.twitter.com/TaYE0t0rZf
— jeweler to the people (@benhigh) March 29, 2018
Found some motivation yesterday and finished up tonight. UV exposure unit working. @benhigh beat me to it! Now to build an enclosure and take it to the darkroom at the weekend. pic.twitter.com/u8DkdeRg6P
— Martin Foot (@martinfoot) March 7, 2018
With a few pointers from @martinfoot and @benhigh I went ahead and ordered some UV LED strip for my UV box. I will run it from the same power source as my enlarger light source and connect it to the same arduino control unit as well.
— Lilly Schwartz (@blaurebell) March 7, 2018
Lilly took the DIY a few steps further than most people would, and even worked on a LED powered multigrade head and f/stop timer.
For the entire account of how the head and timer came to be, I recommend you check out her feed. She has been posting updates from the start.
DIY is, however, not restricted to just light sources. With a bit of tape and a box, you can also make a nice contact printing box, as demonstrated by Paul Glover and Alexis:
Trays, contact frame, timer, filters, light source (will bounce off ceiling). Plus a red LED for safe lighting. Just add paper, chemicals and a bathroom with the door covered by a blanket, and I'm ready for some quick contact printing. #darkroom @PrintParteh @ILFORDPhoto pic.twitter.com/sfdpvGP7Mx
— Paul Glover (@artXchemistry) March 3, 2018
This was what I wanted to show, total hack but it works fine. Pic1: contact printing frame press (just a 5×7 wooden photo frame) with blinders down
Pic2: blinders up to avoid flares and unwanted reflections (small darkroom, it’s a huge mess) #believeinfilm #PrintParteh pic.twitter.com/ZBTlunJmNV
— Alexis (@AlexisAnalog) March 7, 2018
Want to read more?
The hashtag is still in use, and we encourage people to keep using it for tagging their wet print experiences. To have a look at what people are posting, check out the twitterfeed here:
One last song
#printparteh was all about sharing the love for making prints, to show what it is that we do, and how we do it; to motivate others to try it, or try it again; and to show that an image does not solely have to exist on a screen: it also goes nicely on your wall.
As it happens we’re both going on a course on Saturday for wet printing 👍
— Stig (@Stig_Ofthedump) March 16, 2018
To conclude, I want you to read this parody song by Martin Foot. I believe it summarizes well what print making is all about.
Hello De Vere, my old friend
I've come to print with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of timers#printparteh pic.twitter.com/kX5cy9TBwf
— Martin Foot (@martinfoot) March 18, 2018