by Ed Wesly » Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:02 pm
I really love the idea of a Lippmann forum, but every party has a pooper and here I am.
There is a good reason why most everybody who has responded has never seen a Lippmann photo (and why they never caught on); they are hard to view.
The first ones I saw were at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House. They had samples of H. E. Ives experiments as chronicled in his famous Astrophysical Journal article of 1907.
There was one in a display case, but the bulb was burned out. It figures, it knew I was on the way. The curator, Phil Condax, took me into a back room and brought out the box of stuff.
The image specimens were in little handmade cases. They had prisms glued to them, and a flap opened up to show the image. At first they just looked like negatives, with no color.
There was a slide projector handy, and I thought they could be lit up with it like a hologram. Wrongo! These things need a diffuse source.
So I put a piece of paper in the path of the diverging slide projector beam and had a broad source. In his paper, I think that Ives mentions going into some room so that his pictures could be illuminated with the sky, which seems to be what is really needed.
The best image was of a stained glass window, and all the hues could be identified, however saturation was low. The other image from the box in the collection was taken with the camera pointing out of a window, and it looked like the emulsion had swelled in the middle, as what was the blue of the sky in the edges had expanded into red then infrared. The brown brick of the building in the picture also upshifted into oblivion.
What also was in the box of goodies were some sensitizing dye exposure tests. What they looked like were what we would call conformal mirrors; single beam reflection holograms of a reflector pressed against the plate. Not having the paper in front of me, I forget if he wrote that they were exposed in a camera, or if they were exposed directly to a filtered mercury lamp. In any case, he unknowingly made some holograms!
The best thing in the Ives box were samples of his improvement on R. W. Wood's Color Diffractive Process. This was definitely holographic!
Wood was certainly a genius, being the guy who came up with the idea of etching the inside of light bulbs with hydrofloric acid to make them soft light, pioneering IR and UV photography, and the inventor of the first fisheye camera by filling the interior of a pinhole camera with water to mimic what we must lok like to fish! Anyhow his color process used color separations to be printed onto a medium using ruled diffraction gratings of varying spatial frequencies to generate color, not unlike the 2D holo stickers!
Herbert Ives and his father, Frederick Ives, one of the gentlemen given credit for inventing the half-tone screen process had this strange hobby of perfecting color photographic processes that used no pigments. Ives Sr. had made this contraption called a KromSkop, with long marks over both O's, that put a set of color separated black & white positives in a device with RGB filters and beam combiners. I have seen one of these cameras in real life, but never the viewer or the imagery personally. There are some pictures on the web of the viewer, but no imagery. Ives Jr was a student of R. W. Wood at Johns Hopkins University, where Wood took over Rowland's Grating Ruling Engine.
Another Lippmann that I saw was done by Nick Phillips. It was done sometime in the '80's on Agfa film, and was quite bright. But his trick was that although it was a Lippmann technique, it was monochromatic!
Because he was using film, not plates, he went with a Sodium vapor lamp to illuminate what I seem to remember was a frieze of horses, because the film has a 2 micron protective overcoat on top of the emulsion. This is more than the coherence length of white light subjects, so he was forced to shoot monochromatically to get better coherence! This will also be a problem for members here trying to make the Lippmanns on the cheap!
The best one I ever saw was brought to the '97 LFC Symposium by Bill A. To see it you had to follow him to a nook to light it properly, and he would hold it for you. I don't blame him, because this was a real piece of photo-history, a self-portrait of Neuhaus himself!
I've seen some of the current work by Hans, and although I've never made one myself, I would have to say that the mercury mirror is necessary for the ultimate in brightness. What Nick did for the retroreflector was index match a piece of metalized mylar to the film, which might be a good idea for those with Mercury phobia. It really wasn't index matching, he used a rapid evaporating solvent to get the pieces together, and then once it evaporated the film and reflector were in the most intimate of contact.
Currently my amigo, the legendary Jesus Lopez is working with the Lippmann process for "Interferential Figure Studies". He built a camera, christened "Gabriela", using a Kodak Aero-Ektar to expose plates as big as a square meter! (If anyone ever delivers one that big!) He has had success with 4" by 5"'s, and I have some in my collection.