Years ago when I still had my own darkroom to play around in, I experimented with alternative ways of printing my photos. One of my favorite processes at the time was working with “Liquid Light”, a silver-gelatin photo emulsion made by Rockland Colloid Corp. The product can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as wood, glass, metal, stone, plastic or paper, then exposed and processed as a regular print. Depending upon the quality of the chosen image and the printing surface, the prints have a good tonal range with highlight areas revealing the texture and color of the material underneath.
Using the liquid light emulsion I created ten prints on stone shingles featuring figures I had photographed in graveyards. Each shingle came oddly sized, so part of the challenge of making the prints was matching an image to an irregularly shaped surface. I was very pleased with the results of this project because the textured stone surface was the perfect compliment to the graveyard images, and enhanced the look of the photos.
Working with liquid light can be tricky because it is a process that requires much experimentation and patience to figure out how to properly coat a surface as well as the ideal exposure for printing. The effect of the emulsion varies according to the surface it is applied and sometimes it takes many coats to make a good quality print. I mainly experimented with stone surfaces, which can be reused numerous times by removing the emulsion with hot water if the exposure doesn’t work out.