Woodburytype process, lectures and publications

Discussion in 'Workshops & Lectures' started by Peter McCallion, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    Hi all,
    I am a PhD researcher looking at continuous tone printing methodologies and I am very interested in the Woodburytype. I was unable to attend the APIS 2013 talks in October 2013 which was disappointing as I wanted to hear Barret Oliver talk about his collaboration in creating Woodburytypes with Chuck Close.

    What I was wondering was, was there a publication that accompanied the talks or were any of the talks recorded?

    I'd appreciate any help you could provide in this matter. I've read his (Barret Oliver's) book several times as well as many other historical and contemporary texts on the subject. I'm very keen to hear of recent attempts to re-introduce and revive the practice in all it's successes and failures.

    Many thanks,

    Pete
     
  2. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Peter,

    I am not expert on the subject but I think that with the advancement of 3D Rapid Prototyping , Manufacturing techniques, someone would be able to order his masters. I read at Holland , they are taking stereo close up images of van gogh paintings , make a 3d model at computer than print with canon prisma color 3d printers. If they would be able to change the printer inks with original paints and find a way to map the 3 d structural map of transparent painting layers , they will be able to replicate the original painting , may be in 5 ,10 years time.

    If you interest in new techniques , you can make a chapter in your thesis.

    best,

    Umut
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2014
  3. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    And by the way , they use silicone polymer to copy 3d structures of biological tissues and electronics, crystals. Someone can make a master without gelatin but with photopolymer or someone can replicate the woodbury masters with polymer , recast on copy with hard polymers and get a polymer master.
     
  4. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    Thanks Umut, I have been reading up on those technologies that you mentioned and have been working with polymers etc.
     
  5. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Hello Pete and welcome,

    I have a signed copy of a book coming in the mail on the Woodbury process by Berret Olive.


    "Signed copy. This book contains the history of the Woodburytype, the first successful photo-mechanical printing process. It also includes a biography of the inventor, Walter Bentley Woodbury, who was an important photographer in Australia and on the island of Java in the 1860s as well as in his native England."

    The Woodbury process is of particular interest to me because my BS included Printing and Publishing, Graphic Design, and Photography. Although I have heard of the process I have not practiced it. The book is supposed to be a gem on the subject. "The History of the Woodbury process" by Barret Oliver ISBN 978-1-887694-28-5
     

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  6. momus

    momus Member

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    As an artist, I wonder why anyone would copy a Van Gogh painting, other than by standing in front of and painting it themselves, as is a time honored tradition with students? Historical significance if the original work(or when the original work) deteriorates beyond recognition? If it falls apart, it falls apart. You can't be looking backwards, art has to look forward. A replicated painting has zero intrinsic value. Whatever worth it might have to the bourgeois is artificially constructed. There are plenty of good photographs of all the world's great works for historical interests. Remember, we're talking about an artist who couldn't give his work away during his life time.

    When somebody comes up w/ a way to faithfully replicate money, send me a PM.
     
  7. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    Thanks Curt, I have a copy of the Barret Oliver book which is very good and some publications from the Royal Photographic Society which go into alot detail on the subject. I've been trawling through the historical archives and reading the journals from 1864 onwards and Woodbury's patents which offer a real insight into the process.

    Momus regarding the replication of paintings, I'd say that the process would be of particular interest in creating mock-ups for practice restoration of pieces before attempting to restore the original etc.

    Has anyone here attended the talks by Barret Oliver in October or tried to re-introduce the process, how did you get on, where you successful?

    Thanks for the input so far :smile:

    Pete
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Pete,

    CNC Routing is an other way to make these kind of masters. China is using above technologies for their half transparent porcelain portraits. I had been opened a thread on woodburytype and if you dont want to replicate many copies , experienced people reported the result is exactly same with carbon process. If you need carbon process books or gravure books , I can email to you . Send me a pm.
     
  9. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    Hi Umut, thanks for replying, I've seen results from and tried using CNC subtractive methods myself. I've been reading up on attempts to re-introduce the process. Several attempts (many) have failed however not all fall on the same hurdle. Some fail by using epoxys which warps the gelatine master, others are unable to shellac the paper substrate so that the printing gelatine adheres to it, others simply cannot get enough pressure in the hydraulic press to generate the metal intaglio plate, and so on.

    I'm keen to hear people's problems with the process, what difficulties they have been able to overcome, what difficulties they couldn't. There was more than one variation of the process, so if people did try to resurrect the process, which variation did they try?

    Barret Oliver does use a hydraulic press in the generation of the metal intaglios, but he also uses the Stannotype variation which a laminate of metal foil is placed over the gelatine relief, so I know that he uses more than one method to generate the prints. I'm interested in hearing all of these things, it's kind of a reverse engineered question, I know how the process is supposed to work and did work, but I want to hear if people here were successful or unsuccessful in their attempts.

    I would have loved to have gone to Barret's talk as I had many questions I'd love to have asked.

    Many thanks to anyone who takes the time to post. :smile:
     
  10. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    You can get real chance on e mail list on alternative processes. Alternative process mecca is there. I bet there you can find least 5 people who attented to that talk.

    Subscribe via that page :http://altphotolist.org/

    Umut
     
  11. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    to alternative
    Umut,

    I wasn't at APIS but about a year ago I was doing quite a bit of research
    on contemporary approaches to the Woodburytype process. In the end, I
    decided to go with another process for my project but I was able to put
    together some interesting information on some of the contemporary
    approaches to the process.

    Some people to look up might be Nicolai Klimko and Andrew Atkinson. Nicolai
    has come up with a contemporary woodburytype process that makes use of cnc
    carved plates in place of lead plates made under the pressure of the press.
    Nicolai was very helpful to me when I was researching some of my options.
    Andrew was a part of a research project that investigated the use of
    photopolymer plates in place of lead plates made under pressure. I tried
    contacting Andrew through a Montclaie.edu email address I found for him but
    I was not able to reach him so a working email might need to be tracked
    down if he's to be reached.

    Best,
    Francesco
    www.francescofragomeni.com
     
  12. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Hello Peter again , I opened a thread at alternative processes list and Here are 3 posts

    Post A:
    The APIS presentation on Woodburytype was by James Hajicek, now retired from ASU in Tempe, AZ. One of his graduate students, Joey Rheaume, was also involved. I have an email address for Joey, but I think it is from an old job. He now works at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, and can probably be contacted there. James can best be reached through Art Intersection.

    Post B:
    At this year's 2013 APIS, the woodburytype talk was given by Barret Oliver here: http://www.twopalms.us/artists/chuck-close/woodburytypes/10 
    Barret printed woodburytypes for Chuck Close and is the author of the book on the process.

    Post C:
    I believe James is also a member of this list although posts infrequently.
    He posses an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and would be an excellent
    resource to tap if you can reach him.


    Umut
     
  13. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Not quite the answer but a snoop and search around Sydney Powerhouse Museum site might find something useful. I have seen Woodburytypes from their collection and, as someone posted, Woodbury has an Australian connection. Sydney CBD had at one time a city wide high pressure system and I wonder whether he utilised this for the presses which I understand are used.
    http://www.powerhousemuseum.com
     
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  15. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Why did Constantinople get the works?
    It's nobody's business but the Turks.
     
  16. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Woodburytype has been commercially revived using traditional lead plate intaglio in NYC. It's don't know how they got around the hazmat and
    safety issues, but must have some kind of excellent fume extraction. It would be impossible to do this legally around here. I did discuss doing it
    on epoxy with laser etching, with those who specialize in customized laser photographic processes, but again, the hazards of working with this
    kind of chemistry is a bit unrealistic also. CNC sounds way too crude to me to replicate the exquisite subtlety of the original process. These
    particular folks also do a lot of Chuck Close's commissioned pieces, so it would be interesting to visually compare the results some day.
     
  17. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    Thanks Drew, where in NYC has it been commercially revived, it would be interesting to contact them, is it the Two Palms Press?
    Not too sure about the fume extraction, if the lead was bough commercially planed and smooth - say for instance the type used for roofing you wouldn't need to melt it, I'm assuming it's only small runs so the about of effort needed to recycle the lead into a new plate would not be efficient. For something as novel as a small run of WBT prints the plate would be kept as a keepsake? The exhibitions on Chuck Close's work had the plates framed and hanging beside the prints.

    If you used epoxy and laser would it no longer be a continuous tone image?
    The laser would not be able to provide smooth contone as it's hitting a point pixel by pixel and not on a continuous curve.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Try emailing the folks at Bostick & Sullivan - they are the ones who organize APIS. If anyone has videos/transcripts of the presentations, they would.
     
  19. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    Thanks TheFlyingCamera

    Pete
     
  20. Barrie B.

    Barrie B. Subscriber

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    Greetings Pete , You may wish to correspond with Alan Elliot, Archivist of The Melbourne Camera Club , Melbourne , Australia ; he has researched 'Woodbury' in Australia'
    his email is :- alanelli@optusnet.com.au and tell him Barrie Bunning gave you his address.
    ... he is a wealth of knowledge , good luck. ..... Barrie B.
     
  21. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Laser etching is actually far more precise for contone results, but I'm referring to some very expensive proprietary devices.
     
  22. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    How would the laser be driven? Would it be working of a greyscale image on a pixel by pixel basis? Would that not limit greyscale range too?
     
  23. Peter McCallion

    Peter McCallion Member

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    Thanks Barrie B. I've been reading some of Alan's work in a book published by the Royal Photographic Society. I was able to get my hands on a copy of "Walter Woodbury, A Victorian Study" when I visited them in Bath last year. It's a very good book about Woodbury's life in Australia before he returned to England. The RPS Victorian Chapter then attempt to recreate the Woodburytype.

    The details are below if any of you are interested in it.

    Walter Woodbury, A Victorian Study
    The Royal Photographic Society, Victorian Chapter
    Melbourne Australia
    2008
    ISBN 978-0-646-49567-5
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Peter - laser sculpting has actually be done at a miscropcopic level. But the public can purchase very precise miniature works nowadays, just
    to give you an idea of how precise it can be. But I don't know the exact workflow involved in the specific case I was referring to, with respect to Woodbury. I do know the people and that they do very expensive work that often involves proprietary equipment as well as software. They're hired guns who are always itchy for some new angle, and asked for ideas, and we tossed around the modernization of Woodbury a couple of times, but the latest instance, basically ceded it to someone in NYC who is not subject to the same level of environmental controls as here (and frankly, due their own health concerns, having had some "near misses" in that category with alt processes already). They already specialize in laser etching photographic images, and recently did some big granite slabs for Chuck Close.
    This neighborhood has already spent billions in hazmat expense cleaning up all the lead and cadmium from both old military installations and
    a lot of past industrial paint factories. The last thing they want is someone working with lead in any form, and that seems to be the ticket
    to doing Woodbury at the moment.
     
  25. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Hi Drew,

    Heating lead with laser beams is horrific for health. But Peter was referring to use cast lead and press it. There is no fume involved. Does it have a impact to health ? Is cast lead illegal to manufacture or buy ?

    Umut
     
  26. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Yes, lead and laser would be a very bad mix. That's why we were looking at epoxy substitutes. But that potentially has real health issues too,
    as would be tricky to make behave properly for the process itself. Shaving lead via CNC etc generates a lot of hazardous dust, which can in
    fact be contained and recycled, but only a serious equipment expense. And around here, the permits would be impossible to acquire. Working
    with lead sheet is sometimes done in peripheral cities. I know a guy who specializes in seam-welding lead sheeting for nuclear reactor liners.
    Needless to say, he has biceps and a neck the size of tree trunks. He heat-welded my long darkroom sink, but using thick polypropylene sheeting. But are high-frequency carving application of lead is something else entirely. I've certainly witnessed more than my share of lead
    poisoning, mostly older artists and house painters, or those who carelessly sand old house paint (now illegal without proper extraction gear).