Tag Archives: alternative processes

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.

Call For Entries- Rendering the Spirit: The Personal Image in Alternative Media

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.

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.

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, tintypes/ambrotypes/melainotypes, daguerreotypes, gum bichromate, 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 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. For a submission fee of $40, each artist may submit up to five examples. Send jpegs at 72dpi, 1000 pixels on the long axis. JPEGs should be named ArtistName_number (i.e. JohnBrown_1 ).

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.

Explanation:

The explanation should enumerate the title of the work, the file name of the associated JPEG, the size of the piece (including frame dimensions), the year it was made, and any pertinent details about the creation of the work.

Example:

Image Title: File Name: Size: Year Created: Explanation:
Joseph JohnBrown_1.jpg 8”X10” 2016 Hand-colored quarter-plate daguerreotype, distressed with fingerprints and acid etching.

All works accepted must be framed/mounted and ready to hang. Outside dimensions should be no greater than 24 inches on the long axis. All works must be available for sale – Photoworks takes a 35% commission on any sales. Artists are 100% responsible for shipping to and from Photoworks.

PHOTOWORKS
7300 MacArthur Blvd.
Glen Echo, MD 20812 ( 1st floor Arcade Bldg.)

You must include a pre-paid return shipping label with your work; any work shipped without a return label will be considered a donation to Photoworks, and will not be returned to the artist. Artists are responsible for insuring their work – while Photoworks endeavors to take every precaution to protect and care for works while on display, they will not be liable for any loss or damage.

Artists Statement:

Please send us a one paragraph statement about your work, and in particular describe why you are using the alternative process(es) you are using; what do they mean to you, to the work, how they shape meaning, their aesthetic impact.

Artists Bio:

Please send a one paragraph biography.

photoworks40years

Forty years ago, in a derelict building hidden among the abandoned amusement park rides of Glen Echo Park, four young photographers founded Photoworks with little more than a shared passion for the daily work of seeing, shooting, and printing images of lasting beauty and artistic integrity. The day-to-day collaboration, creative dialogue, and informal mentoring that led those artists to successful careers as fine art and commercial photographers established the values of experimentation and collegiality that define Photoworks today. Offering a diverse combination of educational programs, gallery exhibitions, and community initiatives, Photoworks is a vibrant and unique resource for student and professional photographers – an arts community in the very best sense of the word.

For more information about Photoworks, visit their homepage: Glen Echo Photoworks

New batch of Rives BFK arrived today!

I got a new batch of 100 sheets of Rives BFK from my favorite supplier, Bostick & Sullivan, today. I’ll be having a sizing marathon this weekend getting all that paper ready for gum printing. I’ve not tried a lot of other papers yet, to keep the variables down, but I’ve been quite happy with the Rives BFK so far. It’s a 90# watercolor paper with good wet strength, and I’ve been able to coat up to five layers so far without having to re-size. After I get through this lot, I’ll have to try the Lana Aquarelle I have sitting around. I’m also going to try using an alum-based hardener in the sizing instead of glyoxal because it’s not exactly practical to try and size paper outdoors in this weather, and my basement darkroom doesn’t have good ventilation.