I am always experimenting with ways to preserve the handmade quality of a photograph, from making the camera to creating the final print. I want to see clear evidence of the hand of the maker. Historical/Alternative processes offer me this.
Pinhole Camera - Basically a light tight container with a small hole to allow slight to form an image on the photograph paper or film inside. There is no lens to focus, no viewfinder to look through. Exposure times can vary from a few seconds to hours, days or even months. It can be as small as a match box or as large as a shipping container or an airplane hanger.
Photogram – A photographic image is made without a camera. Objects are placed on photographic paper and then exposed to enlarger light. William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the founding fathers of photography, created the first Photogram. It was made popular by Man Ray in the 1920’s.
Digital Photogram – A photographic image is made with a flatbed scanner. The resolution is higher than most digital cameras.
Lumen - A contact printing process uses black and white silver photographic paper and the sun. The paper turns different colors depending on the paper and length of exposure. The image may then be chemically fixed to preserve the image.
Solargram – A pinhole camera is left out for extended periods of time, weeks to many months. The photographic paper inside is exposed to the elements – heat, cold, water, and even insects. The camera is placed facing south and tracks the path of the sun across the sky. The paper is then scanned and a digital image is preserved.
Cyanotype – A photographic printing process makes a blue print. It was developed by Sir Herschel in 1842. It was mainly used for reproducing notes and diagrams, such as blueprints. Anna Atkins created a series of Cyanotype books documenting ferns and plant life. She is regarded as the first female photographer. A negative, plant materials or objects are placed on paper or fabric sensitized with iron salts. It is exposed to the sun to make a print. A darkroom is not required for this process.
Sabattier – A print is exposed to light during the development process, before fixing. This brief exposure to light has an effect on the highlights and density of the print. A graphic effect, called “Makie lines,” creates white rims around objects in the print.
Chromoskedasic-Sabattier - A unique darkroom process. In Greek it means, "color by light scattering". A print is freshly developed but not fixed. It is placed in two solutions, an activator and a stabilizer under room light. Color changes occur as well as some level of the Sabattier effect. Sometimes it creates a metallic silver print or adds a soft sheen to the surface of the print. Each print is unique and one of a kind. There are many variables - time, temperature, humidity, paper choice. The outcome is always unexpected.
Van Dyke Brown - Another contact printing process from the 1800's. It is a basic silver salt emulsion that produces a rich brown color. it is names after the painter Van Dyke. A simple process that does not require a darkroom.
Encaustic - A wax based process (composed of beeswax, resin and pigment), which is kept molten on a heated palette. It is applied to an absorbent surface and then reheated in order to fuse the layers, add dimension and preserving the image.
Wax Medium - A translucent compound of cold wax and resin used as a protective sealer.