Lith on my Mind
19 Oct 2007
Lith printing is a pandora's box of creativity. What is Lith printing you may ask? Well it's just like printing a negative in the traditional darkroom except you use a special paper developer and Lith friendly fiber base photographic paper. I use Fotospeed LD 20 Lith and Maco Superlith developers with Fotospeed Lith and Fomatone MG Warmtone papers. Only certain papers will Lith print. You must overexpose the negative about 3 stops or more with the enlarger. Then put it in the developer and wait about 4-8 minutes for the image to appear. You have to be very patient. Unlike a regular print that develops to a certain point and stops, Lith prints under go what's called "infectious" development. This means the development starts to accelerate at an exponential pace. You must pull the print at the right moment or it will be too dark. After pulling the print proceed to put the it through the stop and fix baths. The fix bath will increase the contrast of your print and bring out detail. Depending on when you pull the print from the developer you will get different colors. As the developer gets used the prints become more "lithy" that is grainier with deeper color. No two prints are ever the same. In fact varying the aperture on the enlarger and varying the exposure time has different effects as well. Even the different papers will have an effect on the final print. All photos were shot with a Holga camera and various black and white films. I hope you like the photos, all are scans of prints with no manipulation. Maybe one day you'll give Lith printing a try, you won't be disappointed.