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June 23, 2004

More Original Pinhole Visions, and Tea Stained Memories

As it appears likely that another alternative processes class I signed up for will not have adequate enrollment, it looks like I'll try, as John suggested, to learn some of this stuff myself. I'll still hold out hope for taking a shorter workshop sometime later this summer, or in the fall. In the meantime, I'll be fooling around with some of the more "basic" ways to get the alt-process vibe -- pinhole photography, and a continuation of experimentation I did last summer with various types of toning in the darkroom.

Along those lines, here are a few of the photographers whose work has intrigued me recently:

* Joao Ribeiro is a Brazilian commercial photographer who dabbles extensively with alternative processes (gum bichromate, Van Dyck, bromoil), but some of his most interesting work is with a 35mm zone plate pinhole camera with an effective aperture of f64. Zone plate images often strike me as too much of a good/not so good thing, given that many pinhole images are already fuzzy (and zone plates dial up the softness quotient), but Ribeiro uses the effect in color with some interesting results.


Joao Ribeiro 35mm zoneplate image

* Walter Crump uses a variety of pinhole cameras (most notably cylindrical pinhole cameras), along with extensive darkroom work with bleaches and toners to create highly moody and dreamily distorted work. I especially love Crump's anamorphic images (1, 2, 3). More images and links to other galleries of work can be found on his website.


"Northern Avenue Bridge II" Walter Crump pinhole image

* Gina Glover uses color and the pinhole to create waterscapes and beachscapes (among the most overphotographed of subjects) with considerable beauty and delicacy in her gallery, Outside Time. (A few more images and a short bio can be found here).


Gina Glover pinhole image

* James Reeder uses tea toning to imbue his still lifes and collages with considerable graphic power and dreamy intensity...the cliched alt-process still life "look" (sepia toned/warm-toned pictures of insects/butterflies/skeletons/flowers with messy borders) gains freshness in Reeder's portfolio of tea-stained images and photograms. I especially like his project, Clue -- the lightness of the tea toning and the delicate construction of the collages give the images a glow uncommon to more conventionally toned work of this sort. (I only wish the images on his website could be a little bigger)


"Dark Star Torso" James Reeder image from "Clue" series

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Posted by: Peter Gasser at Jun 23, 2004 2:36:11 PM

clare uses pinhole

Posted by: martin callanan at Jun 24, 2004 11:04:20 AM

Slap a pinhole mounted in a matboard lensboard on your LF camera and you're in business. That will also give you a nice big negative for trying some of the simpler alt-process printing techniques. Cyanotype's about as eay as they come and the Van Dyke process isn't much harder. Best of luck to you and I'm looking forward to seeing the results of your first experimentations here soon.

Posted by: john at Jul 1, 2004 1:47:52 PM

I recently found a couple of good books on alternative processes. The most useful was titled "The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes" by Christopher James.

Nice links. Thanks.

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