Archaic printmaking processes - dissertation help needed.
As a part of my studies i am currently writing my dissertation, looking at the alternative printmaking processes (i'm calling them 'archaic processes' for obvious reasons). The focus of the dissertation is their fall from favour during the first part of the twentieth century and the ongoing revival in their use. I'm also looking at the contemporary context that these processes are used in.
Would anyone here be willing to be interviewed either on or off the forum? If anyone here is around the Plymouth area, would it be possible to meet you in person? (well - i can always hope!)
I'd like to ask about the reasons you use your particular process(es), and what they offer you over silver-gelatin or digital materials and techniques. Why do you go to the inconvenience of making enlarged negatives and using noxious chemicals when you could so easily just sit back and let the computer do the work?
Something else i'm currently researching is the links between Pictorialism and the archaic processes like gum-bichromate and bromoil. They seem intimately linked and thus the decline in one led to the decline in the other.
Any help on this would be appreciated. Thank you all very much for your time.
I'm a relatively new arrival at the "archaic processes" game, but I think I manage to make a fair print now and then, and I'd be happy to talk with you about it. Also, just as a side note, many of us alt-process folks don't make enlarged negatives - we shoot our original film that big. In some cases (wet-plate collodion, tintype, daguerrotype), we make our own "film" that big to boot. PM me if you'd like to have a more in-depth conversation.
Feel free to send me a PM or e-mail via my APUG profile.
I question if the word "archiac" is the best word to use. While some practioneers are using techniques and equipment that were used in the early in the relatively short history of photography, most are using a combination of the old and new. My carbon prints do harken back to the early days, but the negatives are on modern films and taken with modern opticis -- and my landscapes are more contemporary than of the 1800's. The chemicals I use are simpler, and less smelly, than those used to make silver prints. Others are using digital files to create large inkjet negatives for use with alt processes.
However, use whatever term you deem best. I can be contacted at
Good luck, vaughn
I wouldn't mind chatting or talking on this subject.
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You seem to have come to the right place, Kevs!
In a way, we're all involved with "archaic processes" here - although as a geologist my definition of "archaic" is somewhat different!
I won't mind an interview either, although I'm more of a dabbler-into than a practitioner-of the alternative processes. I might even find an excuse for a trip to Plymouth...
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Kevs, from what I've read, Ole is a pretty well-informed dabbler.
If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284
Kevin, I'm not a practicioner myself, but a beautifully interesting book about the recovery of the "alternative" processes is "Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes"
It contains some useful information on the demise of these processes as well as about their recovery. I have this book at home (I'm in uni right now), but PM if you want an ISBN number or some more info about the book.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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If I may be so bold, I would suggest the term "Historic Processes" instead, as many people still use these processes and your term implies that they have been abandon...
That said, feel free to email or PM me with questions and I would be happy to answer them for you.
Archaic: "marked by the characteristics of an earlier period; antiquated." That fits pretty well for my work, from salt prints to platinum to wet plates.
I have thought a great deal about why the earlier processes declined in popularity and why I use them today. If you want to talk, e-mail or PM.