In my last post I asked with regard to photogravure: “Are there any shortcuts that work?”.
I’m happy to report that there is a shortcut, and it’s called …
… solarplate. These are thin “coppers” with a layer of UV-sensitive polymer on them. You expose the aquatinta screen and the halftone positive onto them as usual, though they seem to be a lot more sensitive than the homemade gelatin paper sensitized with potassium bichromate.
They are developed in 20° C water for a few minutes, the non-hardenend polymer is gently brushed away with a soft brush. Afterwards, the polymer relief is hardened under the UV lamp for 10 minutes.
There is no etching! I didn’t miss the gunk.
You print with the polymer layer, it inks up very well:
With that, and a set of proper blankets in the press, we finally made some impression.
I’m happy to be over the worst of the trial-and-error-phase with this method. Now I can start using it creatively.
For example, this imprint is the one I like best. I wiped the ink from the plate much more vigorously in the center than in the edges, thus creating a vignetting effect.
But what to call this method? It certainly isn’t photogravure, much too easy. Let’s call it photo-intalgio, I think I read that somewhere.