Limited Edition Prints

Impresión fina de edición limitada en Caffenol en la que se ve una niña en el punto de fuga de un campo de magueyes espadín de un palenque mezcalero
Ejemplo de un rollo c41 revelado con Caffenol C

The first time I came across the caffenol recipe I was a bit incredulous because of everything it contained: 54 grams of soluble coffee, 40 grams of Sodium Carbonate and 16 grams of ascorbic acid, these ingredients together make a black and white roll and color can be revealed, although there is a record that they used caffenol since the Second World War, it was until the 90’s that Dr. A. Williams Ph.D. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) and their 1995 technical photography class group did research on the ingredients in a common developer and came up with an alternative called caffenol.

The first time I came across the caffenol recipe I was a bit incredulous because of everything it contained: 54 grams of soluble coffee, 40 grams of Sodium Carbonate and 16 grams of ascorbic acid, these ingredients together make a black and white roll and color can be revealed, although there is a record that they used caffenol since the Second World War, it was until the 90’s that Dr. A. Williams Ph.D. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) and their 1995 technical photography class group did research on the ingredients in a common developer and came up with an alternative called caffenol.

To make this piece I have decided to use a 36-exposure Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400 C-41 roll as it has a fast iso quality and the grain is regular. Once the roll is exposed, put it in the developer tank and start preparing the Caffenol C recipe.

We will need the following ingredients:

  • 27 gr of Sodium Carbonate
  • 20 gr of Soluble Coffee
  • 8 gr of Vitamin C
  • 1 gr of Potassium Bromide (reduces fog in the rolls)

The way we are going to mix them is as follows:

  1. In 250 ml of distilled water add the soluble coffee and stir until there are no sediments and let it rest until no bubbles remain.
  2. In another 250 ml of distilled water add the sodium carbonate and stir until no sediments remain.
  3. To the water with sodium carbonate we add the vitamin C, stir until there are no sediments and let it rest until there are no bubbles.
  4. To the water with coffee we add potassium bromide and stir again.
  5. We mix the two solutions and wait for the bubbles to disappear.
  6. In a boat you must prepare your fixative in this case I will use the kodak one.

Now it is time to prepare the roll that is inside the development tank, we add distilled water and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then the developer tank is emptied and filled with the caffenol that we have previously prepared.

The agitation mode should be gentle and fluid, try not to make a lot of foam with the developer since the roll can be stained by not being bathed in a uniform way.

-16 Minutes-

  • Continuous shaking first minute
  • Then shake 3 x / minute

Rinse

  • 3 rinse baths @ 6 x shaking each (1st bath may contain some vinegar to act as a stop bath)

Fixation

  • 5 minutes @ 3 shaking / minute
  • * Final Rinse **
  • Fill, shake 3x
  • Fill, shake 6x
  • Fill, shake 12x
  • Fill with soapy water, shake slowly 24x

We let it dry by hanging with something that makes weight at the end of the roll so that it is taut and we just have to wait.

Once we have selected the picture that we are going to print, it must be passed to the enlarger to be able to project it on the photographic paper, in this case I will use Silver Gelatine Print Ilford MGIV RC Deluxe Satin paper that we are also going to develop in Caffenol C.

You can reuse the already prepared solution of caffenol but it requires more time to develop the paper so I prefer to make another completely new solution for the gelatine silver print, then I put the developer in a tray where the photographic paper will be developed and let it rest, in Another tray you will add distilled water with a splash of white vinegar and in a last you will add the fixing chemical.

The following steps will be done entirely in the dark room. I divide an 8×10 “sheet into 4 equal parts so that I can do the printing and time tests before moving on to a complete sheet. Since I have made the respective measurements of time and light I use a quarter of the paper that we divided to put it in the projector and know the adequate times to have a correct exposure of the paper with the light.

The already exposed paper is soaked in the tray where the caffenol C is and is moved slowly until the image begins to appear, then the paper is transferred to the tray of water with vinegar for 2 minutes to stop the chemical process and for Last, it is transferred to the fixative tray for 5 minutes and moves slowly. It is left hanging to dry and then the image is reviewed, if I am not satisfied with the result I do the same with another cut piece until I find the indicated point that I want and that I will use for the full-size photographic paper (8×10 “).

When the paper is dry, it is time to sign and frame it so that it can be viewed in its entirety.

This is how I make each work of art in caffenol C, and that is why I create a super limited edition of prints, I hope this guide can serve more artists interested in alternate methods of developing images, this is my creative process at the moment to work and I hope it will inspire more people.

I know that it is not the best guide on caffenol and that perhaps there have been some doubts about my process, but I can help you understand them so leave your question in the comment box and I can gladly supplement the information.

Impresión fina de edición limitada en Caffenol en la que se ve una niña en el punto de fuga de un campo de magueyes espadín de un palenque mezcalero

If you liked this piece or another, get in touch with me, don’t be shy about contacting me, we will talk and find the ideal piece for you, remember to visit my website where you will find more Fine Art Photography Prints.

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