Saturday, August 9, 2008

Alternative Processes

Earlier this week I played around with a new (to me) process of making a photographic print. My friend Judy invited a few of us over to teach some of the basics of Van Dyke printing. This is something I have been wanting to explore for awhile and was very excited when Judy invited me to join the small group at her house.

Van Dyke printing is actually an early photographic process that uses UV light to expose the negative. What I found very intriguing is this early process is being combined with digital technology by creating the large format negatives in the computer and printing them out on transparency film.

After the negatives are made, the watercolor paper is coated with a chemical solution that becomes the emulsion on the paper. We used a brush to apply the solution which gives the edges a unique look.

The next step is to place the paper and the negative in a glass frame and take it outside where the "magic" happens. The sun was the UV light source we used that day. Once the paper has been exposed, it is fixed and washed just like we use to do in the darkroom.

Every piece created is a one of a kind image and it takes a lot of practice, patience and skill to perfect making a photograph this way. It is always rewarding to learn new techniques that may further your own form of expression. Besides, you can't beat a day spent with good friends, making art and being creative.

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