The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes

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9780766820777: The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes
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Photographic artists will gravitate to this full-color, comprehensive technical resource which explores every aspect of alternative photography. Written in a user-friendly, conversational style, each chapter introduces the history of a technique, presents an overview of the relevant alternative or non-silver photographic process, reviews its chemistry, and provides practical guidance in how to make it work. Traditional and digital contact negative production plus an array of processes such as cyanotype, Van Dyke, Kallitype, gum bichromate, platinum/palladium, Ziatype, Ambrotype and hand-applied emulsions are included. The book offers a wealth of visual inspirations and sophisticated techniques, and at the same time includes ample information to satisfy even the most demanding technician. When techniques presented in the book are practiced patiently, and with attention to detail, amateurs and professionals alike will delight in their ability to transform the science of photography into an art.

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Pssst, wanna make a weird photograph? How about a moody blue cyanotype or a Kallitype? Or maybe a ziatype, anthotype, or Ambrotype? Or perhaps you'd just like to know more about image transfer processes or how to make a pinhole camera. Imagine knowing a really cool guy who casually tells you lots of valuable stuff about the history and science of photography while you're working in his experimental darkroom, and you've got the essence of the unusual and delightful Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. Christopher James, a photographer and former Harvard University professor, leads you carefully through the chemistry and use of materials for each process. He offers numerous ways to make negatives and prepare the printing paper, and he coaches you in understanding and accepting the enormously variable effects of each method. Seven useful appendices deal with such topics as safety considerations and resources on the Web. Unlike the narrowly task-oriented approach of average how-to guide, this one points you to a much bigger world. Even the illustrations include a generous assortment of contemporary prints--among them James's own inventive images--as well as work by 19th- and early-20th-century photographers. They were the ones who pioneered most of the techniques that are now considered "alternative."

The fun of this book--even for someone unlikely ever to set foot in a darkroom--lies in the author's fascinating excursions into the wide world of knowledge, from the workings of 3-D to Charles Babbage's steam-driven punch-card systems. Equally compelling are the author's sense of humor and his utter lack of dogmatism. "In gum printing," he writes, "there are very few absolutely correct ways to do anything." --Cathy Curtis

About the Author:

Christopher James is an internationally known artist and photographer whose photographs, paintings, and alternative process printmaking have been exhibited in galleries and museums in this country and abroad. His work has been published and shown extensively, including exhibitions in The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The George Eastman House, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first two editions of his book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes have received international critical acclaim and are universally recognized by artists, curators, historians, and educators as the definitive texts in the genre of alternative process photography and photographically integrated media and culture. Christopher, after 13 years at Harvard University, is presently University Professor and Director of the MFA in Photography program at The College of Art and Design - Lesley University. He is also a painter, graphic designer, and a professional scuba diver. His web site is www.christopherjames-studio.com

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