Regular readers of my blog will probably remember the notice I posted last year about Katherine Thayer’s passing. Katherine was a tremendous gum bichromate printer and an extremely generous teacher of the process. Lightbox gallery in Astoria, Oregon is organizing a commemorative exhibit and has put out a call for entries for the show (link above).
To reprint the notice on the LightBox web page,
LIGHTBOX PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY CALL FOR ENTRIES
Two Friends Who Never Met
An Exhibit of Gum Bichromate Prints
In Memory and in Honor of Katharine Thayer
featuring the work of Katharine Thayer and Diana Bloomfield
with a juried exhibit of Gum Bichromate Prints
Juror – Diana Bloomfield
We welcome you to share in the beauty of the hand-made print, and specifically, the gum bichromate print,
with a juried exhibit as part of this memoriam for Katherine.
This exhibit serves to illuminate Katharine’s artistry— her admiration for, dedication to, and mastery of gum printing.
This exhibit also celebrates her legacy and her years-long friendship with Diana.
I had a mental picture of the kind of photograph I wanted to make. I had never seen any photographs like them, but I was determined to find a way to make them, these pictures I saw in my head. Their colors were soft and relatively unsaturated, but with a kind of glow about them . . . I set out first to teach myself to print in gum, then to adapt the method to produce the kinds of pictures I wanted to make, and have been making them ever since – Katharine Thayer – katharinethayer.com
Katherine Thayer was a long-time resident of Oregon and a masterful gum bichromate printer. She was also a generous teacher to those who struggled to learn this ultimately rewarding, yet often challenging, 19th century printing process. In Katharine’s words, “learning gum printing involves some trial and error, and there’s no short cut to mastery; a person successful in mastering the process will have some staying power and possess a sense of humor and some tolerance for failure.”
Katharine was also a decades-long member of “The List” , an Alternative Process listserv— a free and open online discussion list related to all things ‘alternative’ in the photographic printing world. For Katharine, of course, this meant gum printing. Currently, over 600 people world-wide are members of this List, and this is where Diana Bloomfield, a native North Carolinian, photographer and printer, first met Katharine. In the middle of teaching herself to make gum prints, Diana gleaned invaluable bits of information from those on the List, but she learned the most from Katharine and from her website (KatharineThayer.com). In the midst of all the questions, and in-between Katharine’s tireless mentoring, the two became good friends. They corresponded via email almost daily, and they were once in a group pinhole exhibit together in the Seattle area. Diana was also in a group exhibit at LightBox, where Katharine was a frequent visitor. Still, they never met.