Steichen advice!

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by macclad, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. macclad

    macclad Member

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    Hey there.

    I've been experimenting with gum over (platinum toned) kallitype and gum over cyanotype, and at the moment after the initial exposure (either cyano or kallitype) I am putting a layer of gum over and then exposing it under a different colour seperation negative eg a yellow layer or red etc.

    I have been researching into steichens prints particularly his famous pond moonrise print. And I'm guessing in this instance he Layered his gum on top without a negative? Would i be right? Can anyone give me more of an insight into his methods?

    Thanks

    matt
     
  2. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Take it as a guess, nothing else:

    I don't know exactly how Steichen worked but the gum layers on top of the print would have to have been done with a registered negative in place. Without the negative, the layer would be a undifferentiated blob of colour. The layer was then manipulated in various ways in the water bath after exposure. Here is some more information that might be of interest: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=147230&postcount=6.
     
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  3. phritz phantom

    phritz phantom Member

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  4. macclad

    macclad Member

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    thanks for that info guys
     
  5. Katharine Thayer

    Katharine Thayer Member

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    Hi macclad, I hope you were able to find the information you were looking for in that alt-photo discussion; it went off in several different directions, as I recall, but just in case you didn't, the quick answer to your question is that Steichen most probably used a positive rather than a negative to print the cyanotype layer, in order to get that deep cyan between the trees, and that he most probably colored in the moon by hand (note there's no corresponding moon reflected in the water).

    Happy experimenting,
    Katharine
     
  6. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Katharine, maybe that's how the scene genuinely looked like. I mean it's possible that the moon wasn't visible from the level of the water; the camera's placement seems to be considerably higher than water, plus, the water isn't in-line with the proper horizon. (Kind of parallax error? If you like.)

    Anyway...

     
  7. Katharine Thayer

    Katharine Thayer Member

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    Umm, well, that seems rather doubtful to me, that the scene looked just as he depicted it; after all that's the wonder of this image, that he made something magical out of it. I meant to say to mac earlier that it depends which print you are talking about, since there are three of them still in existence, each made differently, in case he hadn't seen the link I'd posted in that alt-photo discussion last year, to a page that has jpegs of reproductions of the three prints:

    http://www.pacifier.com/~kthayer/html/Steichenpond.html

    I was thinking particularly of the MOMA print (at the bottom of the page) when I said that there was no moon reflection in the pond; in the Met print that was auctioned off a few years ago the moon is shown both in the sky and in the pond. The print in the middle, the one the Met still owns, is probably more of a faithful representation of the original negative than either of the other two, and you can see that rather than a definite round moon, it's more diffuse, both in the sky and in the water.
     
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  8. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Ok, thanks for the elaboration. I still think it's possible to see the some of the moon directly where the reflection doesn't show it. The print in the middle is printed pretty lightly compared to the others, therefore it's hard to judge if the moon was clearly visible indeed; the highlights are blown out.

    Regards,
    Loris.