Below I publish the revised and improved formula for the Texas Chrystoype (pure gold). Even more so than dry print out palladium, this is the most popular of my processes, at least based on the volume of email inquiries I receive about nuances involved in printing negatives of varying characteristics. The link to the formula for the palladium process (The Alamotype) can be found on the main page.
THREE FUNDAMENTAL SOLUTIONS
In August of 2011 I invented the Texas Chrysotype out of necessity. I did not want "blushing" chrysotypes -- prints made from a mixture of gold and palladium -- I wanted pure gold photographic prints. The only viable option for a high quality chrysotype was to reproduce Robert Hunt's formula from the 1850s. Hunt included that chrysotype in his Manual of Photography. He described (on pages 54 et seq. in the 4th Edition of that book) printing out a faint image on paper coated with ammonium ferric citrate. He then developed out that faint image with a wash of gold solution which he described as having the color of sherry. Indeed, this formula was reinvented in the early 21st century with ferric oxalate substituted for the citrate and the gold solution greatly reduced to only 8% strength. In either formulation, with gold running at about $45 a gram, the price of developing out was too high for my budget.
I knew that I could obtain reasonable prints that were arguably gold -- Richard Sullivan described printing a chrystoype with a maximum of 80% gold and the remainder palladium. The resultant images unfortunately are pink. Any pink chrysotype print is invariably formed from an admixture of gold and palladium. Both Sullivan's gold-palladium ziatype and the "New" chrysotype process only work with heavy hydration of paper; the moisture causes the gold to precipitate at such an angle that it refracts light as pink. Interestingly, some unscrupulous practitioners of the obsolete "New" chrysotype, persons who charge the gullible for workshops and sell books on the process, have made a great honking and crowing with "New" chrystoypes that "blush" with a pink hue, just like Sullivan's gold-palladium prints.
After discarding the "New" chrysotype for the failed derivative formula that it is (Sullivan's gold ziatype with the gold solution roughly tripled in strength and a bogus "ligand" added), I resolved to invent a genuinely new way to print in gold. One that would actually work. After all, Sullivan had been looking for a palladium print out process; gold was an afterthought. Knowing as I did that on exposure to UV light, a chemical reaction occurs in which the oxalate converts the ferric iron to ferrous iron, I grasped that if I were to "prep" ammonium ferric oxalate, I could convert some but not all of the iron to its ferrous state and thereby push it to a critical mass in which the noble metal salt -- gold chloride, palladium chloride, rhodium chloride and any of the others -- would begin to reduce to its elemental (and image-forming) state immediately on exposure to UV light. I hoped to accomplish such a thorough reduction of gold that I would obtain a gray scale image with no grain and with a normal photographic tonal range -- the Chrysotype Perfected. I was correct in my surmision. That the images print out with no hydration and no concern for relative humidity was a bonus. I presented the process to the Austin Alternative Photography Group on January 22, 2012, after my submission to the US Patent office was confirmed. In March 2012, View Camera magazine published my article on the long-awaited chrysotype process that delivers exquisite images without the addition of palladium -- draperies that are not pink and blushing, but that are pure gold and glow. In October of 2013 I presented the Texas Chrysotype in person at the APIS in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then in July of 2014, I printed the largest gold print (no palladium!), an image of the Alamo: 40 inches by 53 inches. The sheer size making it impossible -- even for those who print "New" chrysotypes with gold and palladium and call the result gold. Because there is no palladium in my print, the image is red -- I immersed the in water before coating it to obtain the color expressive of the significance of the subject, and to make it vibrantly present on exhibit). Schiller wrote, Wahrheit ist Feuer und Wahrheit reden heißt leuchten und brennen. My prints burn with the golden truth of their purity and do not blush pink with shame.
The first fundamental solution is 10 ml of 40% ammonium ferric oxalate. That is achieved by dissolving 4 grams of ammonium ferric oxalate (AFO) crystals in 8 ml of warm (~85F) distilled water. The AFO dissolved easily and quickly. The reason for preparing only 10 ml at a time is that once the solution transformed into what American wastewater treatment engineers whimsically call "magic iron" the shelf life plummets to a matter of only a few weeks. Given that weighing 4 grams of ammonium ferric oxalate and then dissolving them in a measured volume of 8 ml of distilled water takes less than 5 minutes overrides that short shelf life. Pour the solution into a brown glass or opaque plastic bottle, cap it tightly, and label it "AFFO" (for Ammonium Ferric Ferrous Oxalate), with the date prepared below.
The second fundamental solution is 1% vitamin C. One needs very little of this solution and its shelf life is several months, so 10 ml is a good volume to prepare. Pour 10 ml of distilled water into a brown glass bottle or opaque plastic bottle. Weigh out 0.1 g of vitamin C (or of sodium ascorbate, which is time release C, it doesn't matter). Pour the C into the water in the bottle. Cap the bottle and shake it vigorously for about 60 seconds. Draw up a few milliliters with an eyedropper and confirm the solution is perfectly clear. Label this bottle 1% C and date it.
The third fundamental solution is Tetrasodium EDTA (T-EDTA), a chelating agent that attaches to iron particles like a chemical magnet and helps loosen them from the fibers of the print. When a sheet of paper so treated is subsequently washed in running water, ferrious iron is efficiently removed. Measure out 950 ml of water. Weigh out 100 g of T-EDTA. Dissolve the T-EDTA in the water.
This is the most envied photographic printing formula since the 19th century. Many tried to obtain this holy grail of fine art printing, all failed. The quality of the Texas Chrysotype surpasses even Hunt's chrysotypes of 170 years ago, and even the dubious Australian and other "chrysotypes" prepared with palladium. It is pure gold, it is gray scale, it is grainless, and it can hang comfortably on a wall not next to but between prints in palladium and platinum. Here are the simple ingredients:
I heartily recommend purchasing all chemicals from Artcraft Chemicals in Altamont, NY. You can purchase tetrachloroauric chloride (gold chloride) by the gram and mix it at any strength solution you choose, though I recommend 10% as the minimum strength. The website is www.artcraftchemicals.com.
10% Gold Chloride
40% Ammonium Ferric Ferrous Oxalate (AFFO)
This step is crucial and must be performed carefully and correctly. It is this step that prompts me to advise APUG forum members to seek help from their parent or adult guardian.
26% Ferric Oxalate
Dissolving ferric oxalate seems to be as much a matter of luck as science.
5% Sodium Sulfite
Weak Acid Bath (2nd bath)
The removal of the ferrous iron from the paper is crucial; if ferrous iron is left in the paper with the gold, the iron will in time oxidize and the print will turn dark and eventually completely black. A mildly acidic bath enhances the break down and rinse out of ferrous iron.
Add to 1000 ml of tap water 3 tablespoons of white vinegar or citric acid. The intrepid homeowner can use a quarter of a teaspoon of muriatic acid instead.
Paper for the Texas Chysotype
Papers change from batch to batch by the same manufacturer. A paper purchased two years ago and that yielded superb prints may yield mushy prints in a newer batch. If a recommended paper yields soft or mushy results, size that paper in a 3% solution of arrowroot starch. Prepare arrowroot starch:
Papers found to work well with the Texas Chrysotype without sizing with starch are:
Arches Platine Hot Press White Rag Cotton
Bergger Cot 320 Rag Cotton
Clearprint 1000H 16 pound Rag Cotton Vellum (Puckers when solution applied, so presoak in distilled water and iron (with a thoroughly clean iron on medium heat) after it dries
Of the three papers, the Clearprint Vellum never needs sizing.
Printing the Texas Chrysotype
Remember, for this and all of my processes, the paper must not be humidified. The paper must be dry. It is not necessary but can be useful to maintain controlled RH for the paper by storing it in a large container filled with a dessicant, such as silica gel cat litter. This is not one of the various obsolete processes that require hydration of paper!
For an 8 x 10 inch print:
Spot a print as you would a traditional black and white silver gelatin print.