Essex And The Salt Print

There are two activities that I find totally absorbing and give me great pleasure and satisfaction. One is the printing of my photographs using the 19th Century process of Salt printing. The other is sailing classic wooden boats around our wonderful coastline. Particularly the Blackwater estuary where it is possible to see Thames Barges, Smacks and Bawleys, some still fishing or dredging for oysters. Click on printing information for more about Salt Print making.

When I make a salt print I first need to coat my paper with a salt solution. The purity of the salt used is all important. Ordinary table salt won’t do. Pure sea salt is ideal and the sea salt I use is made in the Essex coastal town of Maldon in the Blackwater estuary.

To celebrate this coincidence I am producing a collection of photographs, that document the Essex coast around the Blackwater estuary. These photographs will be made into hand coated, gold toned Salt Prints. Each print of Essex will therefore have a little bit of Essex embedded in it.

Unlike contemporary printing methods, with a Salt Print, the photographic image is embedded in the papers fibres rather than in a coating on the surface. This gives the print a beautiful, warm toned velvety appearance. The process is virtually unchanged since William Henry Fox-Talbot invented it in the 1830s.

Here is a Salt Print to start the Project. It was taken at West Mersea

L'Esperance. Built in the 19th Century for the Earl of Dunraven, L'Esperance is now a houseboat at West Mersea in Essex.

L’Esperance. Built in the 19th Century for the Earl of Dunraven, L’Esperance is now a houseboat at West Mersea in Essex.

I shall be posting new Salt Prints on a regular basis so why not keep up to date with the Essex Salt Print Project by following my blog. Just fill in the box on the right.

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