The Carbon Print: History & Technique

From October 22, 2012 through October 24, 2012 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at George Eastman House


The carbon printing process was originally introduced in the 1850s as an archival alternative to silver halide photography. By the 1870s, the technique was perfected and carbon printing was offered as the ultimate print for those who could pay the price. Unlike silver prints, the carbon image is formed with the same pigments used for centuries in artists’ oil colors. While originally introduced with carbon black as the pigment, carbon prints can be made in any color. and the fluid tonality possible with the process is extraordinary. The key to making carbon prints is a sheet of pigmented gelatin called a “tissue.” These can be purchased, but are expensive and limited to only a handful of colors. 

Process historian Mark Osterman teaches participants to make carbon tissues from scratch in their own homes using common materials and easy-to-make equipment. Exposure, development, and transfer of the carbon image onto fine art papers will also be covered. Vintage carbon prints from the George Eastman House collection will be shown and discussed, and a lecture on the evolution of pigment printing will be featured.

Full instructions and formulas will be included in the selected readings.

Limited to 10 participants.

Tuition: $450 members, $475 non-members, plus $60 materials fee; extra-day option: $150.

Cancellation Policy: Withdrawal from the workshop two weeks before the session start date will receive a refund, minus a $50 processing fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations made less than two weeks before a workshop start date. If the workshop is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, the entire class will be fully refunded. The Eastman House is not responsible for airline ticket cancellation costs or fees. The Eastman House may take and use images, still or video, for educational and promotional purposes. 

Location and Scheduling: Daily sessions begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Unless otherwise stated, the workshops are held at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. Directions can be found at our website at www.eastmanhouse.org/visit/location.php.  

Lodging: Lodging is not included in the cost of the workshop. Participants must make their own arrangements. The host hotel for workshops held at George Eastman House is the East Avenue Inn & Suites, www.eastaveinn.com. This hotel is within walking distance of the museum. Room rates begin at $99 per night. The East Avenue Inn & Suites also provides transportation to and from the airport. Reservations can be made by calling (800) 559-8039. When calling to make a reservation, please mention you are taking a workshop at George Eastman House to get this special rate.




Location: 900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607 · More Information · RTS Routes 17, 18/19, 21, and 22

Hours: Tue - Sat : 10am - 5pm . Sun : 11am - 5pm. · More Information · Buy Tickets

Admission : Adults $12, Seniors (65+) $10, Students (with ID) $5, Children 12 and Under Free · Members Free

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