Since the move I’m still adjusting to my new work space. I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with all the windows in every room. I never thought I’d miss having an interior closet of a bathroom. Speaking of, even my closet has windows! I am starting to think that my only truly light-proof solution is to work at night. I’m a natural night owl anyway but I prefer not to exacerbate my tendency to stay up until all hours. But I’m getting to the point that if I don’t start creating something soon I’ll go a little nuts.
In the meantime my solution is to buy new books. Looking at other people working helps to get my juices flowing and motivates me to figure out how to make this space work for the fiddly printing methods I enjoy.
My first purchase this year was long overdue. I finally bought the bible of alternative processes: The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition by Christopher James. The new edition has a brand new, huge section on wet plate collodion. It has been a trendy technique for a few years now. Despite that, it’s a cool process. If a nice lens ever makes its way into my life I may build a camera and play with wet plate but I have also been playing with a combo technique marrying digital manipulations with alternative printing methods to give me what I like about wet plate without all the chemicals and large format camera. I’m still playing but I think I’m close to something worth continuing. Anyway, this book touches on so many techniques that there will be something in it that sets your brain on fire. Half of the methods in the book were unknown to me until I read through it. It was nice to see Mr. James mention Luis González Palma (his official website is down as of this entry but hopefully it’ll pop back up soon). It is impossible to look at his work without some sort of reaction.
If you are interested in historical and alternative processes, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes is invaluable.
My next purchase was Salt Print by Peter Mrhar. I adore salt printing. It has such a dreamy quality even if I’m using negatives made from my digital images. Because it’s printed on water color paper you can do so many surface techniques to it. I know albumen tightens it up a bit but until we start our next flock of chickens I think I’ll stick with plain ‘ol salt printing. This book caught my eye because of the mention of orotones.
(this image came from a website dedicated to orotones.)
The book has very clear directions for salt printing on glass to facilitate the creation of orotones. And I do love shiny things. We just discovered a pile of glass sheets in one of our sheds at the new house. Gotta love 100+ old houses and the weird stuff you have popping up when you poke around. The rest of the book has some valuable information about technique but I mainly bought it for printing on things other than paper and the various varnish formulas.
Photographic Possibilities by Robert Hirsch is the latest book to make it into my collection. I got it this afternoon as an early anniversary present. My husband is good at picking books for me. So far I can see that this book will be good at breaking any creative block concerning photography. I love the section on creative process and working through an idea. It also touches on numerous historical processes with well laid out chapters that include all the formulas you will need plus techniques. The book also goes into non-traditional techniques like chemigrams, hand-coloring with a variety of mediums, and transfer techniques. I need to spend more time with the book but so far it looks interesting.