Woodburytype process, lectures and publications
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.
Thanks Umut, I have been reading up on those technologies that you mentioned and have been working with polymers etc.
Hello Pete and welcome,
Originally Posted by Peter McCallion
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
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
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.
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
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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.
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.
Why did Constantinople get the works?
It's nobody's business but the Turks.
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.
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.