Sabatier Effect

The most succinct definition of the Sabatier Effect is that provided by D.A. Spencer in The Focal Dictionary of Photographic Technologies as quoted in Wikipedia:  "Partial image reversal produced by brief exposure to white light of a partly developed silver halide image." 

The effect was first described by H. de la Blanchere in 1859 in L’Art du Photographe.  It has since been rediscovered numerous times, most often by photographers absent- mindedly flipping on the room light while printing in the darkroom.  Its most famous practitioner in the twentieth century was Man Ray, although it was actually Lee Miller, his studio assistant at the time, who brought the process to his attention.

In the photos shown here, I chose to solarize the negatives rather than the prints.  The obvious advantage was that I could make as many identical prints as I wanted from a single solarized negative.  If I'd instead solarized the print, I'd have had difficulty replicating the same effect each time.

The procedure I used was this:  I'd first shoot an image on Afga Scala, long discontinued, and have it reversed processed in order to obtain a 35mm or 120 positive, rather than a negative, which I could then enlarge onto an 8x10 sheet of Arista lith film.  After having properly exposed the sheet film under the enlarger light, I would place it into a tray 0f Solarol developer solution and then flash the overhead light during the development process.  Note: the earlier the film is exposed to light during development, the more pronounced the effect will be.  When printing, I'd use the highest contrast paper available, in this case Seagull grade #4 fiber based paper.