Each hand-made kallitype goes through many steps to produce, and one of the most transformative (other than the actual development) is toning.  There are quite a few toning options, but the two main options for me are toning with gold or palladium.  Depending on the choice of developer and toner, among other factors, a kallitype can end up with a variety of color shades, from a rusty tan through deep black to eggplant purple.

Done well, a kallitype print can be very similar or different to a platinum/palladium print, and just as beautiful.  But it is a more time-intensive process, going through many more steps than a platinum or palladium print.  This is offset, however, by the ability to be more economical with the precious metals used.  For example, with a platinum/palladium print, the entire paper is coated with a solution containing those precious metals.  With a kallitype, only the toner contains those metals, and a much smaller volume.  And as a bonus, you get to see the print before committing to applying the toner.
This video is four-plus minutes, and you can see the gradual but dramatic change from the newly developed print through to the final gold toning color.  For this print I used a developer of combined sodium acetate and ammonium citrate, then toned the print with gold, resulting in the deep eggplant purple shades.  As the print is fixed, washed and dried afterwards, the purple will lose a touch of its vibrance to become closer to black, but the toning will remain apparent.
See the text below for an abbreviated list of steps for creating a kallitype print.

Steps to Making a Kallitype (Very Abbreviated Version):

  • create a negative image the size of the print on photographic film or transparency film.
  • coat suitable paper with kallitype solution and let it dry.
  • layer the negative onto the dried paper under glass and expose to UV light for a specified period of time, using the sun or a UV light box.
  • “Develop” the paper in a choice of kallitype developer for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse print in running water for 2 minutes.
  • “Clear” the print in 3 subsequent baths of EDTA solution.
  • Rinse the print again.
  • Tone the print with desired toner for 1-10 minutes.
  • Rinse the print again.
  • Place the print in fixer for 2-5 minutes.
  • Wash print for 30-60 minutes.
  • Hang print to dry.

Leave a Reply

Gold Toning a Kallitype Print

Feeder Canal and Tow Path, Schuylerville

A Dream Come True

Université Laval School of Architecture, Quebec City

Share