While teaching a Santa Fe Workshop last week, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Verve Gallery in downtown Santa Fe and viewing a terrific exhibition about photographer’s processes. The show features the work of eight image makers, each using a different technique to create their photographs. Accompanying the work are process images that allow the viewer to understand the how each photographer approaches their art. Today, I will feature three of those artists, and each day this week, I will feature another photographer and technique. The exhibition opened on February 24th and will run though April 14th, 2012. Do Process is a celebration of 21st century approaches to 19th and 20th century photographic processes. All the work in the exhibition was produced especially for this show. Feel free to click on the process images to make them larger.
Some of the images in the exhibition are made using contemporary processes, while others use alternative processes. Still others are made using both modern digital tools and old proven techniques. These techniques are characterized as “alternative processes” to distinguish the final print from the more ubiquitous gelatin silver print or contemporary digital print. The work in this exhibition ranges from 19th century print making practices, such as, hand-painted Gelatin Silver prints, Gum Dichromate, Bromoil, Mordançage, Photogravure and Albumen printing to more modern digitally composed and mixed media Photomontage prints. The exhibition showcases the history of some of the photographic techniques used over the last three centuries.
Since 1997, Maggie Taylor has created surrealistic imagery using computers, flatbed scanners and small digital cameras. She sees the scanner as a type of light-sensitive device, not much different than a digital camera. In both instances the scanner and camera capture a slice of time. In addition to placing small objects directly on the scanner, the artist also scans daguerreotypes and tintypes that she collects in antique shops and purchases online. The subjects in her images become the cast of characters that shape the artist’s pictorial stage. Once Maggie has finished her creations, she prints them in her studio on an inkjet printer. As is the case with all her creative work, Maggie runs through many test prints, image revisions and adjustments before getting the results she wants.
Kamil Vojnar is showing photomontages on paper and canvas from his ongoing series, Flying Blind. Kamil’s work focuses on the contradictory world in which we live, metaphorically focusing on the place where beauty and suffering meet. He mixes elements from dreams in his work and lets intuition and the materials he uses to guide him to his final image. Kamil often revisits his images repeatedly to place them in different contexts, creating variations of one image several times.
Kamilr’s unique approach to his work layers images from many different photographs and textures. Sometimes his work is layered on canvas creating one-of-a-kind pieces, and other times he layers on fine art paper, creating a small edition. In both instances he varnishes with oil and wax, sometimes painting on further with oil paints.
Joy Goldkind’s Bromoil prints are from her Adagio series. The images are abstractions of dancers created by a double exposure and slow shutter speed so as to deliberately capture the blur of moving figures. The silver gelatin prints are then converted using Joy’s Bromoil technique. She also has her new work in this exhibition where she uses mirrors so as to create images that distort the human figure. Once again, Joy uses the Bromoil process to alter the traditional photograph and thus create a “unique painterly print.”
As the digital world advances and film options decline, Joy finds it necessary to combine the earlier photographic processes with modern world technologies. She creates her negatives using a digital camera and a computer. She then makes prints using a traditional darkroom to create a typical silver gelatin print that she then converts to a Bromoil print. The Bromoil process was introduced in 1907 by E.J. Wall and eventually replaced the Gum Dichromate process. Once an enlargement is made on silver gelatin bromide paper, it is then bleached in a solution of potassium bichromate to remove the black silver image on the print. Then using special brushes, Joy applies the greasy inks to pigment the gelatin surface of the print.