A Sabattier print is made by re-exposing a partially
developed print to light during the processing. This gives a print both
positve and negative qualities and adds "halo" like Mackie lines
between adjacent highlight and shadow areas. The technique is commonly
known as solarization, although, strictly speaking, solarization (which
looks similar) takes place only when film is massively overexposed. The
correct name for the phenomenon described here is the sabbattier effect.
The unusual appearance of a Sabbattier print results
from a combination of effects. When the print is re-exposed to light during
processing, there is little effect on the dark areas of the print because
most of the crystals there have already been exposed and reduced to black
silver by the developing process. The bright areas, however, still contain
many sensitive crystals that can respond to light and development. The
bright areas thererfore turn gray but usually remain lighter than the shadows.
Between the light and dark areas, by-products remaining from the first
development retard further development; these border refions remain light,
forming the mackie lines.
There are several ways to produce a Sabattier
print. The simplest way, but the most difficult to control, is simply to
turn on a light briefly while the print is in the developer. A procedure
that gives much more control is found at the end of this text file.
Printing from a negative will give a positive
image plus negative effects from the second exposure. You can also print
from a positive color slide, which will give a negative image plus some
positive effects. Black-and-white printing paper responds differently to
colors in the slide: blue prints as black, yellow as white.
Materials needed. A negarive of normal
to high contrast.
Normal print processing chemicals. High contrast
or Multicontrast paper with a 31/2 to 4 filter.
First exposure. Put negative in enlarger
Expose a test print with a slightly lighter that
series of test exposures.
First development. Develop for the recommended
for your developer.
Rinse. Wash in water for 30 secs to remove
developer. Do not use an acid stop bath. Remove
excess water from the front and back of the print
squeegee or soft paper towels. Handle gently
scratching the fragile surface of the wet print.
Second exposure. Remove the negative from
enlarger. Stop down (decrease the light) about
stops. Re-expose the test print in stripts at
a right angles
to the first exposures.
Second development. Develop once again
the recommended time for your developer.
Treat print with stop bath and fixer;
wash and dry as usual.
Final print. Examine the test print and
square that gives the desired effect
Set the enlarger slightly out of focus. This
broaden the Mackie lines without making the
image noticeably out of focus. The Mackie
will also be broader with a less contrasty negative.
Develop for less than the standard time. Remove
the print quickly from the developer when the
effect is visible.
Develop in a more dilute developer (if the normal
dillution is 1:2 try 1:4, or even greater dillutions
produce greater shifts).
Develop in two different developers. A cold tone
developer for one development and a warm-tone
developer for the other. This will produce
Some photographers report better results if the
is aged at this point in a dark place ( a photo
book works well). aging times very from 15 minutes
to a week.
Dodging or burning in during the first and second
exposure will give different results. The
Lines can be lightened by bleaching. The
formula given by Ansel Adams in his book The
is recommended. You can also try a local reduction
or immersion in farmer's reducer (dilluted 1:10).