Does the world need an Anthotype Day? Now we know, thanks to the 87 people who very kindly filled out our Anthotype day survey. Read on and you will know too!
First a little background: Since the publication of Anthotypes – Explore the darkroom in your garden and make photographs using plants, the demand for more information has been apparent. We wanted to find out if an Anthotype day could:
- Support artists currently working in Anthotypes to find more information
- Promote a willingness to share findings and inspire others
- Be an event to get novices started
(If you don’t know yet what an Anthotype is, do check out this article on Anthotypes or learn more in the book below.)
Here are the results from the anthotype day survey – and thank you again to all of you who took the time to fill it out!
Do you have any experience with the Anthotype process?
Most people who took part in the survey seem to have experience in the anthotype process, even though 5 commented “A little”, so the responses seem to be mainly from experienced Anthotypers, but also from some novices and some who are curious to learn.
Which country are you from, AND Which months of the year is it possible to print where you are using natural sunlight? i.e. which months would be suitable for an Anthotype day?
Of course, this question is very important, since the process is very dependent on strong sunlight and we want this to be a global event. Would it be possible to find a date when the entire world can participate?
From the answers, it seems like the months June, July and August cover most respondents, though artists from Argentina, Chile and New Zealand have responded those months are not the best.
Judging from this we think that late August would be covering most areas and allowing most people to take part. Since anthotypes have such long exposure time, there will be a long time from the announcement of the theme to the actual day, giving everyone as much time as possible to take part.
Apart from the inspiration from other artists’ work, what would an Anthotype day bring to you in terms of learning? Can you think of anything that would increase your learning?
The day would, of course, take place in the same spirit as AlternativePhotography.com. We wanted to hear what you thought an Anthotype Day could bring in terms of learning, connecting, and finding inspiration. You have A LOT of ideas, way more than we could possibly do in a day…
Survey respondents’ comments and suggestions focused on the following topics (see notes at the bottom for the full comments):
- Learning – including instructions, process, methodology, how to create and use different emulsions, preserving the print, recipes, exposure times, and the history.
- Experimenting with plants and the process – including varieties of plants, finding new ways of using plants, mixing emulsions and colours to use.
- Finding inspiration and motivation – having deadlines to get to work, finding new plants, sharing tips, stepping out of the comfort zone, seeing others’ ideas and experimenting more.
- Connecting with other artists – discussions, workshops, get to know artists, share ideas, art challenges, and view others’ work.
If/when there is an Anthotype day, how would you like to take part?
We’re happy to see that most of the participants would be active in taking part, sending in work, but also enjoying looking at other people’s contributions. Only 2 would not take part. There were also other suggestions in the comments on how artists would join in:
- I’d take part sometimes, and I’d look at some of the work, I’d also use the day to promote my workshops as I do with the other “days”
- Ideally, if COVID isn’t an issue, I would like to run a small workshop on the safe and ethical harvesting of materials and printing. Otherwise, I would submit my own works.
- Introducing the technique in schools
- Organizing exhibitions in botanical gardens and workshops in schools
- Running a workshop (in person or online)
If you would take part and send in your work, would you be prepared to document your process when you send your entry so that others can learn? For example, by filling out information of which plant was used, how you made the emulsion, exposure time, and 5-10 more facts?
We were also curious to see if artists would be willing to document their process in a structured way, so we can use the information for a database of emulsions. We are happy to see there is so much willingness to share! A few had doubts and one said no.
“I would do the best I could to answer questions about materials, etc. I don’t keep very good records – maybe this would inspire me to do better in that department!”
In the future, we may collect entries and publish an “Encyclopedia of anthotype emulsions”. Would it be interesting to you to have your work in it?
We thought it would be great to have all the collective research in an encyclopedia, but of course, wanted your take on it. As it turned out most would be happy to share their work both online and in a book.
“Yes, but I’d want really consistent information presented across all the artists and submissions. Too often the replies aren’t specific or helpful. Exposure: slow. What does that mean? Also wouldn’t want inclusions that say x doesn’t work I’ve gone out of my way to try the ones people say don’t work. I have a carrot anthotype.”
Conclusion of the Anthotype day survey – will there be an Anthotype day?
The response was overwhelmingly positive so YES! There will be an Anthotype day, and it will be more than just a day of posting images, to start with it will:
- Be in late August
- Be announced early, so that everyone will have time to participate, even those with long exposure times and those geographical areas where august is not optimal
- Be a gallery that is also the start of a database of emulsions
- Be a book and/or reference guide of emulsions
We will start the first year with the above, and then there are so many suggestions for more things to do. Of course we will as usual welcome others to do events, workshops or other initiatives on the day. The theme will be announced. We just need to get organized and do some planning, but will, of course, keep you posted here on the website, in our Insta, Facebook page and Twitter. Thank you. Again.
Footnotes and full answers from the survey
Full answers on the questions of which content you wish:
- Instructions on how to do an anthotype
- Awareness of the process. workshops, in person and/or on-line
- Descriptions of methodology, of the substrates, used, effect of multiple layers to give a two-toned effect… 🙂
- I would be very interested to learn about people’s favorite ‘best practices’: what, how, practicalities, images, inspiration, combinations, patience 🙂
- Making natural emulsions and how to best preserve the Anthotype print when exposed
- Learning a new process
- Videos with interesting techniques; articles with artists’ profiles and reflection on their processes
- Learn about emulsion optimization depending on the choice of plant
- What works: plants, paper, emulsion preparation, exposure
- New way to obtain emulsions
- Consistent ways of reporting printing methods – specifics regarding exposure that are consistent: eg time of day, date, uv from same source (uv app) weather conditions, cardinal direction, how many coats, what kind of treatment to get that emulsion
- Just really specific input which was consistent. It’s a huge issue with people weighing in on the experience with the subjective or inconsistent language and reporting
- How to preserve anthotypes
- If the participants provide some info about their process (maybe a fill-in-the-blanks on the entry form indicating what material they used, how long exposed, etc) – so the learning would come after the results are submitted
- Make me more aware of what is possible without chemicals. What I could grow myself
- Anthotype over different mediums
- Detailed recipes for anthotype plant/species, scientifically measured sunlight, notes on technique.
- More experimental techniques in anthotype
- To know other materials to work with using sustainable materials for photographic progress
- I would love to learn more about the history
- Selecting and creating emulsions
- More sharing of information about these techniques
- It is always helpful to hear the process they used to create their image
- Anthotype contributes to the learning of botany and greater awareness of the ephemeral
Experimenting with plants and the process
- Playing with plant juices
- Variety for plants to use
- Interesting to see how different ingredients work and the results obtained
- I’ve mostly experimented, so ideas of what works well
- The different plants and their parts which can be used to make prints
- New ways anthotype is being used, more experiments, combining anthotype with other processes
- Different mixtures of coating
- Pigments and tips for better techniques
- Seeing the different types of emulsions that can be used
- Special plants to try, working on any kind of preservation/fixing technique
- A list of possible botanicals with ratings of speed vs. longevity
- Different types of emulsion experimentation
- Which plants are the best for emulsion and which plants give a variety of colours
- To learn about different plants which work best for anthotypes, tips to improve the process.
Finding inspiration or motivation
- It would motivate me to work on a project with a deadline, and I would love to see others’ work.
- New ways of creating images that can reveal the world in new ways
- Provide interest to learn the process
- Just need to get out there and do more of it
- More time to work on it. 🙂
- An Anthotype day would be an incentive for me to work more with anthotypes. I have read the methodologies and it looks possible to make nice prints.
- It would be a good moment to share fresh thoughts about plants, techniques etc., and seeing more of anthotypes would be very inspiring and make me want to learn more
- I like having these days in the year as they give me a reason to actively participate in activities that I do not undertake regularly but do enjoy doing.
- It can be very inspiring to see different compositions and different herbal juices by other artists.
- Besides just being fun, increased awareness for a sustainable way to make photographic images
- Appreciate the nature (flora) by knowing the type of plants, effects of light on it, even although the understanding of how light works in photography, the appreciation of patience and waiting of process that actually modern technology doesn’t, because everything it’s almost immediately, especially for new generations and children
- It is always helpful to have a deadline to carry out the work which otherwise gets postponed.
- Spending more time trying Anthotype and sharing tips
- This would push me to step outside of my comfort zone and have reasons to get into the field. I’m working with toned cyanotypes, printing anthotypes, and likely combination prints as well. I would be looking at the use of plants within walking distance of my house.
- Publications on the Internet, films on youtube
- To see the full range of possibilities through other artists and their ideas
- Just more experimentation. Most of my successful work with anthotypes came from using turmeric and also beet juice. If I had a goal in mind– like an Anthotype Day– I would probably experiment more.
- It would give me a reason to make – and experiment – more! It would make me curious to see and discuss work with other “anthotographers”.
Connecting with other artists
- People discussing in some kind of specific and consistent detail their print times and exposures around the world, new fugitives
- I’d run a workshop but it would have to be august as we only get decent sun then in UK
- Sharing our work with other people and organizing small workshops to the general public
- A better way to know artists, share ideas, introduce the general public to the technique
- We can start an online art challenge just like Inktober
- Always interested in seeing the work of others, connecting with other practitioners of alternate process work and providing space to share current practice in alternate photo processes
- It would make me curious to see and discuss work with other “anthotographers”.
- I would certainly be interested to share information and have access to the database of international information about plant types, geographical locations, time of day, quality of light/UV level, length of exposures, results, etc.
Additional thoughts and comments from the comment field
- Great project!
- Good to go!
- Great idea…:)
- What a great idea to give such an Anthotype Day more substance, going further than just sharing photos online.
- I would like to experiment in combining the Anthotype process with the Cyanotype process.
- An annual meeting to know colleagues, experiment and share ideas. Once in a while to organize webinars about the subject to keep people updated about what everyone is doing.
- Anthotype day would be a fun thing to have and depending a little on the timing, we could even arrange a workshop around the theme sometime before the actual day.
- I love Malin’s book, and have used it as a main source when experimenting with anthotype. Because I’m more involved with cyanotype and lumens, I have not done anthotypes in quite a while. But I’m really interested in whether it’s possible to combine processes. Lumen and anthotype seem to be natural partners as both are fleeting, temporary images. Conceptually there is a space that experiments in this could be really interesting for the Alt community. Thank you, Malin! (Editors note: You’re welcome!)
- It’s a very good idea – I’m sure that others will say the same 🙂
- Is there a calendar/diary available that has all the ‘world’ days associated with alt photography? I already have cyanotype day and pinhole but not sure if there are others (though they probably are on Google and i haven’t fully explored your website) (Editors comment: Yes, there is, take a look in the Events listings)
- I think this is a great idea.
- There’s an anthotype exhibition coming up at the RI Center for photographic arts in Providence RI between March and April of this year and curated by Jesseca Ferguson.
- We are running a curated Anthotype exhibition in March 2022 to share and promote current practice in Anthotype at RIPhotoArts
- Thank you for your book! A great inspiration!! (Editors note: Referring to Anthotypes – Explore the darkroom in your garden and make photographs using plants)
- I started experimenting several years ago and your book was a wonderful guide. I have exhibited anthotypes in USA and here in Sweden. I recently published a book of anthotypes. It would be fun to celebrate anthotypes with a day of its own!
- I think the world is ready for this!
- Other thoughts: I’m working on a seaweed emulsion series based on and around where I live in Chichester Harbour and I am very interested in being a part of an encyclopedia of anthotypes. Excellent idea. I am also working on mushroom/mycological prints cyclically, making mushroom paper and printing mushroom images in this, and I am botanically staining Cyanotypes. I’m a big fan of your website and activities.
- Having a board to post work as it comes in with the newest posted getting a larger space for the new post.
- Sounds great. Good luck!
- Very excited to see anthotype getting bigger.
- I think it would be cool to have a Photogram day and include Sun Printing, Chlorophyll Printing, and such. I’m very interested in chlorophyll printing and would love to learn more.
- I want an actual human, or group of human beings, who do not know me to look at my prints and comment on my processes. I’m tired of the parade of images across a screen. The reflected light is not the same as the light emitted via an LED or other projector. The colors and textures on paper cannot be rendered as an 8-bit jpeg or a 12-bit tiff.
- I think anthotypes requires a day, its an underrated technique with great potential.
- I am about to experiment with four different types of wine flour – flour made from the skin and seeds of wines – which is usually thrown away or composted by the ton.
- Jesseca Fergusson: I am co-curating an international anthotypes show with Mary Kocol, and we have invited Malin Fabbri (on the alternative.photography.com website) to be part of a Zoom panel, along with Edd Carr and Karen Haas, a curator of photographs at a museum.