Tag Archives: alternative processes

Intro to Platinum/Palladium Printing Sold Out and Waitlisted! May 5 & 12, 10am-4pm

OK- well, the title is a tad misleading – my class WAS sold-out with a wait list. I added additional slots to accommodate the wait list, and there is ONE additional spot left. If you’re interested, now’s the time to grab it before it’s gone. I will NOT expand the wait list again for this session. The class is my perennially popular Introduction to Platinum/Palladium Printing class, this time with an expanded digital negative how-to session. Based on the response, I’m also planning a fall Platinum/Palladium Printing Extended Project course that will provide a six-to-eight week guided seminar in printing.

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Pyramids, Teotihuacan, Mexico

The pyramids at Teotihuacan in Mexico was originally shot on a 2 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch roll film negative from my Lomo Belair X/6-12, then scanned and printed on Pictorico Premium OHP to make a 4 x 8 inch print.

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Stairs, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Ditto the above with this shot of the National Gallery of Art staircase in Washington DC.

Making a print is fun and easy.

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Potassium Oxalate Developer – 15 years old and going strong!

A frequently asked question: what about your developer chemistry? You mix up your Potassium Oxalate, replenish it as needed, and filter it periodically. But you keep on using the same batch of developer forever, unlike silver gelatin paper developers which have a finite lifespan, regardless of usage.

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Digitally enlarged negative

Here’s a digital negative printed on the Pictorico OHP transparency medium. Other printers will work, but the industry standard seems to be Epson Stylus Photo printers with Ultrachrome K3 inks (or newer). I’m using an Epson 3880 at the moment.

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Exposed, undeveloped print

Here’s an exposed print from the negative shown above. An exposed but undeveloped print will show a “ghost image” of the finished print. The development process happens VERY fast, as you can see in the video below.

And the finished print, washing in the final wash.

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Developed print in the wash

To register, click here Intro to Pt/Pd May 5&12

Alternative Process Revolution – Philip Jessup

Another artist interview from the Alt Process Revolution series – this one with Philip Jessup, another Canadian photographer. One of the great things about this touring show is that it brings greater visibility of Canadian photographers to the US audience – I think many US photographers are aware of many other photographers from their own country, but with the possible exception of Yusuf Karsh, most could not name a single Canadian photographer living or dead.

Philip Jessup

Tell us a bit about your photographic work:

  • How did you get interested in photography?

My landscape photography is an extension of my professional work over the years advocating solutions to climate change. Many of the effects of climate change—rising sea levels, warming global temperatures, increasingly erratic precipitation patterns—are placing wilderness and communities that depend on them under unbearable stress. Many of these areas are likely to vanish, like low-lying atolls in the Pacific. I see my job as documenting such areas, so that if they do vanish or change in some unrecognizable way, humankind will remember them.

  • Do you feel your work is influenced by other media/periods/genres? If so, which ones, and why?

I’ve been influenced stylistically by other landscape photographers whose work I love. Eliot Porter, who was the first landscape photographer to work extensively in color, has always inspired me, his ability to find the abstract in the real. Other photographers who work I admire include: Fay Godwin, Harry Callahan, Brett  Weston, Toshio Shibata, Wynn Bullock, and the Canadian Edward Burtynski, who has taught us to find beauty even in the devastation being inflicted on the environment.

  • What is your experience with analog photography? Digital photography?

All of my early work dating from 2003 was shot with medium format film, Fujifilm’s Velvia 50. I love its wide color gamut and detail. From the start, however, I had my reversal film images scanned at high resolution and then printed on a Lambda using Cibachrome and later Fujiflex media. Today I shoot with a digital camera, process the images myself, and print on my own Epson P7000. I’ve been able to achieve rich, long lasting color prints this way. I would go back to Cibachrome if the media were available. Today, I occasionally shoot using film just for the pleasure and self-discipline, but in Canada availability and processing is limited and quite expensive.

  • What brought you to participate in the APR show? 

I’m always interested in exploring new ways to create an image that deepens the experience of my work with the viewer. Multiple gum over palladium produces a highly subjective final print that feels to me like a memory or a remembrance of something that is past or lost. The theme of my own work, which is trying to capture the beauty of landscapes and communities that may vanish, is a good match for this process. I also like the extreme longevity of these images. Again, it is a good match for my own goal, which is to memorialize imperiled landscapes so future generations won’t forget.

  • Do you see a continuing role in your photography practice for alternative processes?

I’m keen to explore the potential of alt processes to emotionally charge the images I place in front of the viewer. The exhibit at Glen Echo is the first step.

Alternative Photo Revolution – Alan Dunlop

Alan Dunlop

I sent interview questions out to a number of the Alt Process Revolution artists. Artists, being artists, don’t always respond in exactly the way you expect 🙂 So I didn’t get answers to my questions in a literal, 1:1 response, but here is the photo of Alan Dunlop and his bio/response.

My name is Alan Dunlop. I currently live in Toronto, Ontario.

Photography has always been a part of my life. I remember my dad taking photographs with his Rolleiflex and watching him develop prints in the closet of our tiny apartment. I wasn’t hooked, however, until I was studying advertising art and one of my teachers handed me a camera to experiment with. I eventually became a news photographer and worked for a number of local papers for more than two decades.

In my personal work, I always like to push the limits of photography and explore new perspectives and alternative realities. Over the past decade, my focus has been on collaged images. My work is influenced by my background in technical illustration and advertising art. I am also inspired by the works of contemporary artists David Hockney and Robert Birmelin. I am especially fascinated by how these two artists blend multiple images together to elicit a sense of movement and space to convey the myriad complexities of a single moment in time.

The image I submitted to the APR show is from a series of self-portraits shot over several months exploring reflections. It was created in camera, not Photoshop.

I grew up with film and spent many hours in the darkroom. The move to digital photography was an exciting one which I embraced wholeheartedly. I now work only in digital and do my own printing. The immediacy of digital allows me to explore and create images in a way that film never could and gives me more control over the final results.

After becoming familiar with Bob Carnie’s approach to alternative processes, I was curious to learn more. I am drawn to the richness of the images created using this method. I have spent time with Bob processing a number of images, including some of my own, using alternative processes.  The results were quite intriguing. The alternative process prints have a uniqueness of their own and have a very tactile feeling about them. I am curious to see how this will work with more of my own photos.

Rendering The Spirit: Interview with Eddie Hirschfield

Could you tell me your name?
Ed Hirschfield

Where are you from?
New Jersey, but have been in the DC area since 1975.

How did you get into photography as an art medium (as opposed to casual or professional use)?
My degree is in Photography (The George Washington University), and I’ve always been interested in it as art medium.

Which alternative processes do you practice?
Hand coated emulsions, Cyanotypes, Cliché Verre

What attracted you to alternative processes in general?
The potential for unique images. 

What drew you to the specific media you practice?
The introduction of serendipity into the creation of the images.

How does the choice of media influence your choice of subject matter (or vice versa)?
For the images accepted in this show, I was going for a painterly effect, and the nude lends itself to this.

In today’s mobile, electronic world of instant communication and virtual sharing of images, how important is it to you to create hand-made images? 
Extremely important. There’s a fleeting aspect to the new way to share photographs. A physical image has more staying power.

Is your choice to practice alternative, hand-made photography a reaction to, a complement to, or not influenced by the world of digital media? 
To a degree, it is a reaction, for the reasons stated above. However, without being influenced by the fleeting nature, and “perfection”/repeatability of digital, I’m not sure if I would have been as open to creating work which is so prone to flaws, chance, and experimentation. I’d like to think I would, but I have noticed a change in my work, since the advent of digital. 

Do you incorporate digital media into your alternative process work? 
No.

If so, how do you incorporate it? Is it limited to mechanical reproduction technique, or does it inform/shape/influence the content of your work?
N/A

What role do you see for hand-made/alternative process work in the art world of today? Where do you see yourself in that world?
I think this is a great time for photographers pursuing alternative processes. In a world obsessed with instant gratification, the time, and passion, required to create unique images is a great antidote. I also see a greater appreciation, among the public, for the craftsmanship inherent in alternative processes. As for my place in this world, it’s not something I think about. I just want to continue my work, and continue to create photographs.

Eddie Hirschfield
Eddie Hirschfield

Rendering The Spirit: Interview with Ian Leake

Venus Rising - Ian Leake
Venus Rising – Ian Leake

Could you tell me your name?

Ian Leake

Where are you from?

Nowadays I live in Switzerland, but I am originally from England.

How did you get into photography as an art medium (as opposed to casual or professional use)?

I discovered Charlie Waite’s landscapes. These showed me that photography could be a personal statement as much as a documentary record. Charlie opened my eyes and changed my life.

Which alternative processes do you practice?

Platinum/palladium printing. I occasionally dabble with other alt processes, but not for serious work.

What attracted you to alternative processes in general?

As an artist I feel it is important to be involved throughout the creative process. I want what I make to be my creation. You can only truly achieve this when working by hand.

What drew you to the specific media you practice?

I made my first platinum/palladium print in 2005: a close-up of some flowers on a slate embankment. I still have it somewhere. I had seen pictures of platinum/palladium prints online, but the first one I saw in the real-world was that first print I made. It was an epiphany, and I very quickly realised that there was nothing else I wanted to make. Platinum/palladium allows me a depth of emotional engagement that I don’t have with traditional silver gelatin or digital machine-made prints. This emotional engagement is really important. I want what I feel in my studio when working with the model to be conveyed in my finished work. Platinum/palladium allows this.

How does the choice of media influence your choice of subject matter (or vice versa)?

I find platinum/palladium to be the perfect medium for nudes. It renders soft, graceful and beautiful images that are far more subtle than the shouty, high contrast stuff we are routinely bombarded with.

In today’s mobile, electronic world of instant communication and virtual sharing of images, how important is it to you to create hand-made images?

I can’t really see the point in churning out machine-made images. Anyone can do this.

Is your choice to practice alternative, hand-made photography a reaction to, a complement to, or not influenced by the world of digital media?

I was making platinum/palladium before the digital revolution really took off. I use digital cameras, of course, but not for serious work. The workflow is so different and feels so shallow to me.

Do you incorporate digital media into your alternative process work?

In general, I would say no. I do use digital negatives from time to time, but this isn’t a significant part of my creative life.

What role do you see for hand-made/alternative process work in the art world of today? Where do you see yourself in that world?

Most photography collectors want distinctive, exclusive and personal artwork. Small limited editions of hand-made prints made using the finest of materials by a master of the creative process all contribute to this. And of course the enormous lifespan of platinum/palladium prints ensures that these photographs will pass the test of time. A well made platinum/palladium print will last as long as the paper it is printed upon. Many collectors like the fact that their investments will be there to be enjoyed by their grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Ian Leake’s work can also be found at IanLeake.com

Rendering The Spirit: Interview with Leena Jayaswal

Indian Bride Barbie 3 - Leena Jayaswal
Indian Bride Barbie 3 – Leena Jayaswal

Could you tell me your name?
Leena Jayaswal

Where are you from?
Hard to answer this question. I was born in England, I am Indian, grew up in Ohio but have lived in the DC area for the past 26 years. I currently live in Silver Spring, MD

How did you get into photography as an art medium (as opposed to casual or professional use)?
Since I was in third grade I knew I wanted to have a career in photography. I do all kinds of photography minus commercial work. I am the director of the photography program at American University and one of the classes I have been teaching for the past decade or so has been Fine Art Photography. This class was transformative to me when I was a student and got me interested in alternative processes.

Which alternative processes do you practice?
I work in many alternative processes, Polaroid Transfers/Fuji Transfers, Photograms, Lumen, Liquid Emulsion, Cyanotypes.

What attracted you to alternative processes in general?
It is the unknown that attracts me to these processes. Each piece is unique and the nature of small subtle changes from one exposure to another. You never know what you are going to get and I learn patience from these processes. It reminds me that even though photography is known for its reproducibility, alternative processes allow for diversions from an otherwise known outcome.

What drew you to the specific media you practice?
For this series, I tried using photograms and I wasn’t able to get the details on the Indian Barbie’s sari. While I didn’t want the image to be recognizable as a Barbie doll, that carried too much weight as an Icon, I did want the doll to be seen. I loved the colors that were produced with a six-hour exposure in the UV light box. These pastel pinks and purples are reminiscent of Indian wedding colors which are bright and vivid.

How does the choice of media influence your choice of subject matter (or vice versa)?
I often have an idea and will try many approaches or I will re-appropriate my own work into various mediums when a new theme comes into my head. Often I work with issues of race, identity, gender and diaspora, so the work I do can flow from one series to another, with changes.

In today’s mobile, electronic world of instant communication and virtual sharing of images, how important is it to you to create hand-made images? 
Hand-made work is vital to my photography practice. While I do a lot of work on the computer, it is this work that seems more personal to me, BECAUSE it is done by my own hand. It becomes personal and when you are doing themes surrounding your identity, it seems to go hand in hand.

Is your choice to practice alternative, hand-made photography a reaction to, a complement to, or not influenced by the world of digital media? 
To me the ideas come and I test them in a variety of ways. I’m not wedded to any process, I think the work warrants the process. So often I will test things out before I decide what is working. I often tell my students they need a viable reason for choosing the medium they work in. The image has to warrant the process or why do it that way.

Do you incorporate digital media into your alternative process work? 
Yes, I have a series of Polaroid transfers that I have scanned and blown up to 40 x 50”. With Polaroid going under and the Impossible project not being able to take over creating pull apart film, digital is the only way to do this process now. As of last week Fuji announced they are no longer making their pull apart film, so unless some company takes over there will no longer any film that will allow for emulsion transfers or emulsion lifts.

If so, how do you incorporate it? Is it limited to mechanical reproduction technique, or does it inform/shape/influence the content of your work?
I use it to enhance the work and to reproduce it at larger sizes.

What role do you see for hand-made/alternative process work in the art world of today? Where do you see yourself in that world?
I feel that there will always be a place for alternative processes, and new ones will come up that will combine digital. I find it to be a great time to be making work because there are no rules on how to make work that is shown in galleries. I do see my students becoming more attracted to these older processes because of they are learning something new.

Reminder – Deadline for Submissions February 21 for Rendering The Spirit

This is a reminder that the submission deadline for Rendering The Spirit: The Personal Image in Alternative Media is less than a week away, on February 21.

Photoworks is a non-profit photographic arts and education center in Glen Echo, Maryland. Last year was their 40th anniversary, and as part of the ongoing celebrations and future vision for Photoworks, we are launching a new program to provide visibility and accessibility to historic/alternative processes and artists working in these media. Rendering The Spirit is the kickoff event to highlight this programming.

More of the Good Stuff
More of the Good Stuff
© 2008 Scott Davis
Gum Over Palladium

Submissions:

Works to be considered must be made using an alternative/historic process, including but not limited to lumen prints, daguerreotypes, gum bichromate, tintypes/ambrotypes/melainotypes, platinum/palladium, kallitypes, Van Dyke Brown, cyanotypes, carbon prints, calotypes, salt prints, albumen prints, bromoil, gumoil or some combination of the above. Silver Gelatin prints on machine-made commercial papers are not accepted. Original capture of the image can be from in-camera negatives or digital capture or some combination thereof, but the final image must be a physical object made using one or more historical processes.

Also include an artists statement, brief bio and an explanation of the work(s). All required documents (JPEGS, Artist statement/bio/explanation of works) should be emailed to photoworks.gallery@gmail.com no later than February 21st. Notifications will be sent by email to all selected artists by March 1. Works must be received by March 14. The opening reception will be held on March 26.

Render (v): to distill, to cook down to its essence, to translate, to represent.

Rendering: an act of bringing into being, of distillation, of translation, of representation.

By aiming our gaze at works created using “alternative” processes, we aim to show the diversity of work being created at this nexus of the 19th and 21st centuries and engage in a dialog about what it means to create work using anachronistic techniques.

Call for Entries: Rendering The Spirit

Curators: Scott Davis and Malcolm Cosgrove-Davies

Scott Davis is a faculty member at Photoworks where he teaches alternative processes, portraiture and studio lighting. He received formal training at Maryland Institute, College of Art. His specialty is platinum/palladium printing, and he is an avid collector of 19th century photography. He has exhibited his personal work locally, nationally and internationally, and has served as curator at the former Art Reactor Gallery in Hyattsville.

Malcolm Cosgrove-Davies is a self-taught photographer who since 1978 has been practicing historic photographic processes including gum bichromate, cyanotype, VanDyke, palladium, and carbon printing. Mac’s images derive from his extensive travel to developing countries as well as everyday life. Using antique and hand-made film cameras in various large & panoramic formats he seeks to match the image to the beauty and elegance of the selected photographic process. In addition to building the occasional camera, printing frame or other useful photographic gadget, he also creates books and presentation portfolios for his prints. He is represented in various collections such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Library of Congress, Maier Museum, and Lehigh University Art Galleries.