Instructions and recipes on how to work in alternative photographic processes and non-silver techniques. Instructions are provided by photographers and teachers working in the process, written with a practical approach, so; enjoy learning a new process. Have fun! If you are new a good starting point is the cyanotype process and if you want an environmentally friendly process start with anthotypes.
Replacing the salt print process by the 1840’s, albumen prints combine beaten egg whites with salt and potassium iodide for a higher definition photograph.
How-to do albumen prints
A fun and easy way to make images using juice from fruits, plants, flowers and vegetables as both sensitizer and pigment! Practiced by Sir William Herschel in the 1840’s, this method is very suited to photograms. Although anthotype prints are novel and unique, permanence of the image depends upon your choice of organic extract.
How-to do anthotypes
Bromoils & oil
Bromoils, oilprints, resinotypes and oleobroms: Early twentieth century processes which begins with a silver bromide print and ends with an oily or inked print of alluring elegance.
How-to print bromoil and oil
Cameraless can be combined with many of the other processes. It is the creation of an image without the use of a camera, such as a photogram, where an image is placed on a coated surface (with for example cyanotype or anthotype emulsion) instead of a negative, or a chemigram where chemicals are poured on the surface to create an image.
How-to create images cameraless
Carbon and carbro
Patented in 1846 by Joseph Swan, carbon prints typically utilize a pigmented tissue, potassium dichromate , and gelatin to create images of amazing beauty and longevity. Carbro printing follows much of the same procedure as carbon printing while utilizing a bromide paper.
How-to do carbon and carbro prints
Photographs are made by pouring or painting developing liquid onto photopaper, creating dreamlike images.
How-to create chemigrams
The image is created by blocking sunlight with a negative on a leaf or plant. The chlorophyll process is also called ‘nature prints’.
How-to make chlorophyll prints
Based upon Sir John Herschel’s gold printing process, Dr. Mike Ware will carefully guide you through a process of making prints which display hues from delicate reds and pinks to blues and blacks.
How-to do chrysotypes
The cyanotype, also known as a blueprint, is considered among the easiest of all the historical methods. Dating from 1842, this classic Prussian blue process is a great place for both beginners and accomplished artists alike to explore. Cyanotypes are economical, permanent, have few pitfalls, and are versatile in that a variety of toning effects are possible.
How-to do cyanotypes
Considered among the original of alternative processes, daguerreotypes possess a look, feel, and beauty unlike any other historical method. Not for the faint of heart or the ill-equipped, those desiring to explore the rewards of this endeavor must exercise a high level of responsibility and caution.
How-to do daguerrotypes
Gelatin silver prints
Gelatin silver prints, or gelatin dry-plate, appeared on the scene in the 1880’s, replacing the wet-plate process and revolutionizing the photographic industry. It has remained the standard for silver halide photography. Here we explore hand coated paper and look for ways to incorporate other alternative process with silver gelatin printing.
How-to create gelatin silver prints
Gum bichromate and casein pigment printing utilizing water-based colors are but two among several forms of dichromate techniques resulting in expressive monochrome and full-color imagery.
How-to do gum bichromates
As the name implies, gumoils transforms a gum print into an oil-based image through labor intensive rubbing, wiping, and etching. In most cases, a positive matrix takes the place of the usual negative employed by other processes.
How-to print with gumoil
Image transfers and lifts
Transfer is a term used for a myriad of ways to transfer a printed image from one medium (i.e. paper, metal, etc.) to another surface such as paper or fabric. The result of the transfer creates unique, ethereal imagery reminiscent of monotypes produced in traditional printmaking. A lift is where an image is lifted from one surface to another, for example utilizing Polaroid peel-apart films, an artist can lift or separate a developed print and join the image to another surface, such as paper. In a transfer, the artist takes the negative portion while still in development and, using a brayer, presses the image onto a desired surface.
How-to do transfers and lifts
Working with reflected light in the long, infrared wave range can produce images of unexpected results with surreal visual effects. Infrared photographs have a spectacular glow and luminance, where highlights are usually diffused and contrast can be pronounced.
How-to create infrared prints
Kallitypes & vandykes
Although both silver and iron are required for Kallitypes and Van Dykes, the former is a bit more expensive and labor intensive of the two siblings. Depending on paper and toning, images can run the range of black, sepia, and beautiful rich browns. Extra care must be taken to ensure permanence of the print.
How-to do kallitypes and vandykes
With a liquid silver emulsion applications can be made to a variety of surfaces such as tile, glass, pottery, wood, canvas, stainless steel and coated metals. Brushing, dipping, and spraying are among the techniques employed for applying the emulsion to three-dimensional surfaces.
How-to create liquid emulsion prints
Using a lith developer, this delightful technique generally overexposes a silver print which is then developed in the diluted developer. Lith photographs display a wonderful luminance. Success with lith printing can depend upon your choice of paper, the handling of the negative, and several other key factors.
How-to do lith prints
Using a UV source, such as the sun, make delicate contact photographs and photograms using old or fogged silver gelatin paper. No development required! Just fix, tone, and enjoy!
How-to create lumen prints
This section is reserved for brand new processes, undocumented practices, unique techniques, and other creative alternative approaches not addressed elsewhere.
How-to instructions for other processes
Also known as etch-bleach process, this rare and slightly esoteric process physically manipulates the silver gelatin print through acid bleaching, rubbing, and lifts. Images appear dreamlike, far removed from reality.
How-to create mordancages
Predating the bromoil method, oil printers rely upon enlarged negatives which are placed in contact with paper coated with dichromate and gelatin. Some oil printers express a bit more ease to this approach over the related and more common bromoil technique. Oil printing is also known as the Rawlins’ process.
How-to create oil prints
Copper photogravures, solarplates, photo intagio, polymer gravures and heliogravures are all printmaking techniques, where a photograph is set in a plate, the plate inked and the image transferred to a paper.
How-to print photogravures
A technique developed in the mid 19th century, by which images are photographically transferred to a matrix (either an aluminum plate or, less frequently, a stone), and printed by hand. A classic combination of photography and printmaking employing a variety of skills.
How-to do photolithography
No photo paper? No worries. Just go and find some leaves! Learn how to contact print onto flat plant or vegetable matter using a positive intermediate. Let your creativity soar!
How-to do photosynthesis
The expressive world of lens-less photography allows for dreamy and magical photographs. A camera, usually handmade out of a box or can, allows light to pass through a small aperture onto photo paper or film. Images created with a pinhole camera can also be incorporated into other alternative processes.
How-to create pinhole photographs and negatives
Platinum and palladiums
Becoming a practical printing method by 1873, platinum, and the less expensive palladium process has a rich heritage of which marvelous works abound from scores of well known artists. Although sensitive to paper choices, platinum/palladium images are highly stable, producing exquisite warm tones.
How-to print with platinum and palladium
Polaroid SX-70 manipulations
Referring to either or both the Polaroid SX-70 camera manufactured throughout the 1970’s and the celebrated SX-70 Integral films, beautiful image manipulations can be achieved through the use of this engaging camera/film technology.
How-to do SX-70 manipulations
Salt printing, originally developed by Fox Talbot and typically practiced until the 1850’s, combines salt, silver nitrate, and a UV light source to produce delightful reddish brown images.
How-to print saltprints
Eggs, ammonium bichromate, and a variety of pigments including acrylics come together for an exercise of multiple printing under a UV light. Created by the late Peter Frederick, this process is suitable for printing on synthetic materials such as Yupo.
How-to create temperaprints
Wetplate, or wet collodion process dates from 1851 through the work of Frederick Archer. A glass plate is coated with cellulose nitrate, an iodide, and silver nitrate. The plate is then exposed and processed while still wet. The tintype is a version of wetplate which utilizes a sheet of black painted metal.