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Art Encyclopedia - Albumen Print

Art information > Art Encyclopedia > A > Albumen Print

Albumen Print
The albumen print was the first commercially viable method of producing a print on paper from a negative. The albumen print method was invented in 1850 by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard. It used albumen found in egg whites to bind photographic chemicals to paper.

The printing process starts with a piece of paper with an emulsion of egg white and table salt; the albumen seals the paper and create a slightly glossy surface. The paper is dipped in a solution of silver nitrate and water to make the paper light sensitive. The paper is then dried in total darkness. After the paper is dried it is placed under a glass negative and exposed to light until the image achieves the proper level of darkness. Since the image emerges as a direct result of exposure to light and without the aid of a developing solution, the albumen print is a printed rather than developed photograph. A bath of Sodium thiosulfate then fixes the print’s exposure and prevents further darkening. Finally, gold toning improves the photograph’s tone and helps protect it from fading.

 





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