Salt Prints (four-session workshop)

Before digital technology and even before film and factory paper, photographic prints were made by hand, with light-sensitive solutions brushed onto paper and exposed using the light of the sun.

In this class, we’ll explore the historic salt printing method, making photographs by hand using large format negatives, paper negatives from a pinhole camera, or digital photographs printed onto inkjet transparency material. Students will coat their own cotton papers and learn to expose and develop their images to produce a final print. The natural variations that arise from the inconsistencies of hand-coating contribute to the truly unique beauty and expressive qualities of these one-of-a-kind prints.

What you will learn in this workshop:

  • Brief history of salt printing

  • How to size and coat paper with light-sensitive chemistry

  • How to expose negatives in sunlight and/or using a UV exposure unit

  • Selenium toning

Required supplies:

  • Several sheets of 100% cotton watercolor or printmaking paper. The paper should be acid-free and non-buffered (neutral pH). Smooth-surfaced papers will result in sharper images. Recommended papers: Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolor (NOT studio), Rives BFK, Arches Hot Press

  • Large format negatives, paper negatives and/or black-and-white digital images on a flash drive

  • An apron or smock and safety glasses/goggles (optional, but highly recommended)