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February 11, 2004

Another Alternative Process, and Dance Photography

I am just starting to learn about the mechanics of various alternative processes in photography, even though I have been enjoying the work of numerous practitioners that fall under this broad catch-all category of photography for a while now. I don't think I will really "get" how to do a lot of it until I have some of those huge negatives to play with, but I am enjoying the early learning about the history behind various processes such as cyanotypes, collodion, platinum, gum bichromate, etc.

One of the processes that I'm not likely to pursue, but find intriguing when done well by others, is bromoil printing...as this article indicates, it requires a fair degree of patience and attention to detail. I came across the work of Joy Goldkind, whose bromoil work evokes Sarah Moon, a long time favorite of mine:

goldkind_clown_head.jpg

Goldkind uses 4x5 Polaroid film and has a more overtly classical style than Moon...whereas Moon likes to play with the conventions of pictorialism in her photographs and has a light touch (thanks to her open mind and fashion background), Goldkind seems more heavily immersed in the tradition. She explains her methods here.

One of the personal projects I have started recently is inspired by dance and movement, though I am not attempting dance photographs in the commonly understood sense of the term i.e. straight photographs of ballet dancers, tap dancers, hip hop etc...even though I have experience photographing these varied types of dance. Straight documentary approaches to dance photography are highly problematic, as is much photography of any stage performance generally, because the visual record of the performance is inevitably a poor stand-in for the art and emotions that arise from witnessing the performance live...anyone who's taken concert photographs knows how the vast majority of live captures make fine mementos but less than great art.

I've immersed myself in quite a bit of dance photography published over the last fifty years, and the vast majority of it appears to focus on form and (highly controlled) motion. Some of the most creative results have been achieved by Lois Greenfield through the active use of dancers and movement in the photographic frame, though it is a studio based approach (which is common because strobes are needed to freeze movement). My personal preferences, though, lie away from the studio, and in the direction of motion and low light, and even a little bit of narrative. Perhaps not as romantic as Andy Stewart's approach with ballroom dancers, but the mood I'm pursuing has some similarities.

9_126_Andy_Stewart_Ballroom_8.jpg

Andy Stewart ballroom dancing image

I'm still exploring, and in the end, it may not be even dance that is central to what I'm pursuing, but some other themes and narratives. But I've started to upload a few images into my latest album, and have also been spending time printing in the color, B&W, and digital darkrooms...I hope to make progress over the next year in documenting and sharing some of these efforts.

evening_ballerina1_framed.jpg

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Comments

I have this book on alternative processes, and i recomend it:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0811818942/qid=1076539482/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-3518216-1129613?v=glance&s=books

Posted by: Mário at Feb 11, 2004 5:45:02 PM