Tag: salt print

New Books

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.

orotone(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.

Down to the Wire

I feel like I’m in school again. I’ve got a show application deadline coming up soon and I’m in the home stretch of finally having work I want to submit. Because this has all been more experimental than anything I have been afraid that I would end up with nothing worth looking at. I still have some work to do once the wax sets but so far I like what’s going on.


 Toning the prints face down in gold toner.


Drying the printed blocks.


Adding wire to the backs of the blocks.


Waxed and waiting to set so they can be polished.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the update. Hopefully I’ll have some finished products in the next couple of days so I can get them photographed.

Wax On, Wax Off

Sorry about the title. I couldn’t help myself 🙂 I’m sure I’m about the 100th person to make that joke in reference to encaustic.

I am lucky enough to know many talented people in the Austin area. Christine Terrell of adaptive reuse and Tincaustics was sweet enough to show me the basics of encaustics so I could proceed on my current project. Here are some shots from our play date.


Christine’s wax pot, heated up and ready to go.


The color palette on an electric griddle.


Raw beeswax and resin.


An example of Christine’s beautiful work.


Hard to tell but I waxed the back of the watercolor paper to make it translucent. You can see the shadows from my fingers on the left hand side.


Fresh wax over the salt print on wood.


Salt print on wood after the wax was set and lightly buffed.

I will be posting up more salt prints on wood as soon as I figure out which images will benefit from this technique. I also hope to experiment with color and texture soon.

New Orleans, New Negative

I’ve been playing with a new negative. This is one of the street performers I met while in New Orleans last year. I’m sure many people photographed him while he was there but I hope I’m one of the few using these old methods to make interesting pieces with his likeness. Meet Scarlet Ray Watt:

nola tissue 2

 The image has been printed to rice paper for a future encaustic experiment.

nola tissue

 Another view so you can see the translucency.

nola pretone

 Salt print, pre-toned, with an improperly printed negative. I forgot to reverse the image. Oops.

nola finished

 Salt print post-tone. Much nicer color in my opinion.

nola wood

 Salt print on wood. I searched and searched but couldn’t find anyone else who had tried this so I just double coated with the salt solution, one coat of the silver and processed as normal. Seems to have worked.

These are experimental. I’ve been taking old negatives and digital files and using those to come up with techniques I may want to pursue in the future.  I took this photo with a Holga. I have another shot I took with my digital that I like better so that one may get a more careful treatment. I’ll be learning some basic encaustic techniques soon so hopefully I’ll have some interesting things to show you in the next post or two.