Chrysotype

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Chrysotype (also known as a chripotype or gold print) is a photographic process invented by John Herschel in 1842. Named from the Greek for "gold", it uses colloidal gold to record images on paper.

Herschel's system involved coating paper with ferric citrate, exposing it to the sun in contact with an etching used as mask, then developing the print with a chloroaurate solution. This did not provide continuous-tone photographs.

In 2006, 164 years after Herschel's work with gold printing, photographers Liam Lawless and Robert Wolfgang Schramm published a formula based on Herschel's process.

Following the introduction of Richard Sullivan's ziatype process in 1997, which uses ammonium ferric oxalate to print out palladium images, many photographers began experimenting successfully with substituting gold for some or all of the palladium. Image quality decays rapidly as the printer approaches 100% gold in a ziatype print.

The modern chemist and photographic historian Mike Ware published the first books covering the subject of chrysotype in 2006, 'The Chrysotype Manual: the science and practice of photographic printing in gold' and 'Gold in Photography: the history and art of chrysotype'.

Terry King, the British photographer, writer and educator, introduced a new process, the Chrysotype Rex, for printing chrysotypes that uses gold as the developer.

Richard Puckett, an American photographer, announced in the March/April 2012 issue of View Camera magazine a chrysotype process that uses ascorbate (vitamin C) with ammonium ferric oxalate to print out fine-grained, continuous tone gold images.

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