Saturday, February 20, 2010

Current Reading at New 55

Photographic Silver Halide Diffusion Processes
Authors: Andre Rott, Dipl Ing, Edith Weyde, and Dr Ing.
Focal Press, London 1972

Preface by Professor W. F. Berg

Excerpt: "The diffusion transfer process is one of the few genuinely original inventions in photography...Nevertheless, photography had to wait for about 100 years, before this inventive step was taken, and the idea matured, almost simultaneously and independently in the minds of no fewer than three inventors to whom the term genius can very fittingly be applied: Rott and Weyde, who are responsible for the present book which is devoted to Document Copying, and Land who will be the author of the second book in this series on Instantaneous Photography".

Interesting, and I will be looking all over for part two, "Instantaneous Photography", which I see listed in no Focal Press index.  In the meantime, 1930s diffusion transfer inventors Rott and Weyde are keeping me entertained with a lot of information about emulsions, development rates, transfer kinetics, reagents, and nucleation schemes, which are of highest interest to New 55.  

Plate 1 in this book shows the very first "accidental" silver diffusion transfer print ever made, and discovered in 1939.  I'll scan it in later.

It is certain that instant photography started before WW2.

2 comments:

Justin Parker said...

I am meticulously reading through your blog from the beginning until present with the goal of coming up to speed on New55. At age 30 I am too young to have used old 55 film myself alas, but I have dim memories of both of my grandfathers who were themselves quite the photographers using it. From them I have inherited a Hasselblad 500c/m, a Leica IIIa, and beautifully restored Speed Graphic.

I have no become newly obsessed with the notion of monobaths and the diffusion transfer print concept. I guess it appeals to my PhD technical mind. :-)

At this point in your blog history, I have ordered Rott's book. Have you succeeded in finding Land's book? All too often people fail to write the book's they have promised their publishers, especially in the academic line. :-)

Bob Crowley said...

Once the thoroughness of Rott and Weyde's book was known, the Land volume was doomed. Polaroid would never reveal such detail, secretive as it was. Now the joke is on Land, I fear, as Andre, and Edith take their place in history as originators of the process.

Land's books do tell something, but are sometimes quite convoluted. One exception is Land's paper on aggregation of micron-sized "galaxies" found to be important to good black and white DTR. It anticipates the nanotech field of today and is quite visonary.