Friday, March 27, 2009

I have enjoyed making photographic postcards using Ilfords photographic paper which is cut to standard post card size and has a postcard back for addressing and placing a stamp. A few years ago I found on ebay this set of antique photo mats used to make photographic postcards with a framed pattern around the image. The mats came in several patterns in oval, and rectangular frame formats and in a variety of designs some favoring a vertical and others a horizontal orientation. I thought it would be fun to make a series of antique looking postcards using my photographs but the process wasn't as easy as I had hoped and involved a lot of trial and error with the net result of hours of work being a few useable postcards and a lot of rejects. The first time I tried it I managed to make maybe a half-dozen cards. Last week I tried again with similar results. It was a two step process involving exposing different sections of the printing paper using the two different mats, one for the frame and the other for the image. Each step involved a different type of printing. I first sandwiched the patterned "negative" over the printing paper and held them together and flat under a sheet of glass to expose the bordered design on to paper. The patterned mat protects the center from light exposure so you have the unexposed center for your image. I used the enlarger for the second step which involved pre composing the image within the framed mat and then marking the papers position on the easel so I could align the paper properly and project the image on to the unexposed center. It was difficult to align the image correctly within the unexposed center. Shifting the paper from under the glass and on to the easel and then placing the second printing frame exactly over the unexposed area of the paper so the image and frame would be fairly seamless was hit or miss. If I practiced a lot I could probably figure out a way to get it right more times then not. Anyway here were the last results where I matched an image fairly well with the pattern.


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