Monday, July 12, 2010
The Bromoil Process was an early photographic process that was very popular with the Pictorialists during the first half of the twentieth century. The soft, paint-like qualities of the prints are very typical for this genre, and have recently led to some art photographers using the process again.
The bromoil process was based on the oil print, whose origins go back to the mid-nineteenth century. A drawback of oil prints was that the gelatin used was too slow to permit an enlarger to be used, so that negatives had to be the same dimensions as the positives. After G.E.H. Rawlins published a 1904 article on the oil print process, E.J. Wall in 1907 described theoretically how it should be possible to use a smaller negative in an enlarger to produce a silver bromide positive, which should then be bleached and hardened, to be inked afterwards as in the oil process. C Welborne Piper then executed this theory in practice, and so the bromoil process was born.