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Lith printing uses an enchanting and creative technique which involves heavily over-exposing a black-and-white or colour, negative onto a suitable black-and-white paper. This is then only partially developed in a dilute lith developer to produce an uniquely colourful monochrome print. The resulting image exhibits special characteristics in terms of tonal distribution and its response to toners.

The basic technique is not particularly difficult to grasp, but learning to control it properly requires some experience. It should not be confused with lith negatives, as any standard type of negative can be used to create quite different images. Indeed, with a little experience, practitioners soon find themselves interpreting and using their images in more interesting and artistic ways. The results can range from graphic all the way to extremely delicate.

Lith developer is required and is of course required, and normal black-and-white dish-type development is used. Slot processors should be avoided. A darkroom torch is helpful but not essential. Any subject can be adapted to lith printing and any film-base is usable. Colour negative film works well because of its fine grain and somewhat different tonal distribution, and infrared negatives work particularly well. The choice of paper depends upon the effect required.

Disadvantages of lith printing include the difficulty of repeating successful prints, the relative expense of materials and unwanted chemical reactions. The process is also time consuming.

Refer to http://www.lithprint.com for further details.

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