1. 1.a pattern or arrangement of interlacing lines resembling a net.

Reticulation is a net-like pattern, arrangement, or structure. … A coloration patternof some animals (e.g. the reticulated giraffe) An arrangement of veins in a leaf, with the veins interconnected like a network. The endoplasmic reticulum within a cell, often resembling a net.

In photography reticulation is a series of ridges and valleys in the surface of a photographic emulsion caused by the swelling and subsequent subtraction of the gelatin of the emulsion during processing.

Reticulation is seen as a technique that can be used in developing the photographic image to get an effect in relation to the surface of a film.

Reticulation also acts as a focal point in showing that photography is simply an organic process and something that isn’t separate from other active material. From this it can be seen that analogue film has the potential beyond being considered in terms of traditional conventions of film processing.


Bacteria Grown on Milk Emulsion on thin Agar Layer

A4 light box that has a sheet of clear acetate on it on the surface of the acetate is a film of agar hydrogel emulsion. Milk has been poured onto this agar from which bacteria has grown. Over a short period of time a pattern or arrangement of interlacing lines resembling a net has appeared on the surface of the milk. Bacteria has swarmed in these gaps feeding and reproducing and thereby highlighting the reticulation process of the milk emulsion.

Often in terms of photography and film it gets mentioned about the silver sheen which is credited to the silver halide crystals in photochemical emulsion. The following images evidence that the sheen and certain look is much about the emulsion as it is about silver halide crystals and that emulsion can achieve this whatever the material gelatine, agar or milk.


Photographic Examples of Reticulation

The three images below are examples of reticulation in photographic film emulsion.

The images are from the Film Lab ‘Process Reversal’ and Kevin Rice based in Boulder, Colorado


Milk Reticulation