Gum Portraits on BFK Rives: A Paper to Embrace

Peter J. Blackburn once again gives face time to the gum-printing virtues of unmodified BFK Rives. Give it a try? Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn So, here I am again, touting the amazing and bedazzling BFK Rives printmaking paper for gum prints. This time, I present you with five portraits printed in different styles on unaltered, unshrunk, right-out-of-the-package BFK Rives. If you missed my first article exploring gum … Read more

BFK Rives for Gum Printing? Seeing is Believing

Peter J. Blackburn has found his favorite gum bichromate paper. One that he used to shun. And one that needs no sizing. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn Gum printing for me began in 1988. From the beginning, I ignored the advice of many gum experts to use toxic sizing by searching for ways to print bright, crisp gum prints on unaltered paper. “BFK Rives was the very first … Read more

Two Prints in Process, 2023  This pair of gum prints (still in process) have already received three layers of color with more to come. No added sizing. I am using only a 3% potassium dichromate solution. Colors include PY151, PO62, PG18, PV19, PR254, PB29 and PBr7. Notice the clean whites.

The Gum Printing Papers – synthetic sizing

Peter J. Blackburn begins a two-part informal “white paper” discussing synthetic sizing while reviewing two papers that use sizing and one that doesn’t! Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn Once again, the time has come to write about some wonderful watercolor papers currently available, which I find to work quite well for gum and casein bichromate printing. Those who have read my introductory gum printing articles know that applying … Read more

Hand Colored Gum Prints: When Art and Economics Collide

Whether to save money, time, or to explore creative options in your art, hand colored gum bichromate prints might just be the answer. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn I have always loved film. My first roll was purchased back in 1970. To this very day, almost all of my gum and casein prints begin as a film captured image. And I love film cameras, especially those which require … Read more

A Gum Printer’s Nightmare: Paper Potholes

Peter J. Blackburn wrestles with the constant quality changes of art papers and discovers a surprise choice for gum printing. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn “They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream.” —Ernest Dowson After more than thirty years of gum printing, I am still dumbfounded by the perpetually … Read more

Your Alt Images: They Can’t All Be Good

Peter J. Blackburn gives tips on how to edit your work before showing it to the world. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn All right, gather them up. Begin by sliding out the drawers and spill the contents on the floor. Drag out the piles from under your bed and then very slowly open that hall closet so it all cascades gently to the floor. Check the garage, the … Read more

When Alt Met Lomo

Peter J. Blackburn tells the classic tale of when boy meets toy, of gossamer wings, and love at first sight. It was just one of those things. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn You see, it all started at the now and then camera show held in Dallas several weeks ago. I hadn’t been to one in years. Being quite satisfied with my current working assemblage, the accumulation of … Read more

One – Singular Sensation in Every Image You Make

Peter J. Blackburn deviates from the beaten path to briefly affirm the conceptual potential of the single, solitary image. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn In a few weeks, I will have the pleasure of addressing a conference of educators on the topic of creativity in the classroom. It will come from the perspective of an artist, from my experience of creating art for thirty years. Creativity has been … Read more

Rainy Day Activities for the Sun Printer

What’s a sun printer to do when the clouds march in? Peter J. Blackburn provides a few ideas. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn As a gum printer who depends upon cloudless sunny days to expose negatives, I am so thankful to live in Texas. More often than not, the sun is readily available here and I can print all year round. Of course, outdoor exposures tend to be … Read more

Tweaks and Twists: An Update Report to My Gum Printing, Part 1 of 2

Peter J. Blackburn updates us on his progress with gum printing  and his struggles with papers. Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn In the five or so years since I wrote an essay for Alternative Photography describing my own personal working methods for gum printing, it would be fair to surmise that significant aspects have changed. And, not surprisingly, many of those changes have come as a response to … Read more

Sunflower

Making practice your praxis

Peter J. Blackburn argues the case for doing a bit of casual printing in-between more serious alternative process work.

A nice gum paper from an unexpected source!

Peter J. Blackburn gives a quick evaluation of an inexpensive art paper found at your local “big box” retailer! Writer and photography / Peter J. Blackburn Will wonders never cease? A few weeks ago as I made a quick foray into my nearby Walmart, I chanced to wander by the rather quaint art supply section located across from the sewing notions. Stopping to take quick inventory of what the “big … Read more