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HomeContentsThemes > Alternative process movement

Contents

883.01   Terry King: Sixteen Different Alternative Processes from One Negative
883.02   Contemporary daguerreotypes
883.03   Irving Pobboravsky: Contemporary Daguerreotypes
883.04   Gregory Popovitch: Contemporary Daguerreotypes
883.05   Mike Robinson: Contemporary Daguerreotypes
883.06   Jerry Spagnoli: Contemporary Daguerreotypes
883.07   Ellen Susan: Soldier Portraits
883.08   Contemporary bromoil prints
883.09   The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain - Centenary 2007
883.10   Elizabeth Opalenik: Mordançage
883.11   Fabricated Cameras and Contemporary Pinhole Photography
883.12   Afghan Box Camera Project
883.13   Contemporary dark tents and dark boxes
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated.
 
  
883.01   Alternative process movement >  Terry King: Sixteen Different Alternative Processes from One Negative 
  
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Reference sets showing the same negative being used as the basis for multiple alternate process are surprisingly rare. This set was prepared by Terry King (Hands-On Pictures) who gives workshops on alternate processes in the UK and is included here with thanks.
 
Practical experience of alternative photography makes it clear that :
  1. it is necessary to see the original print itself to appreciate its beauty as reproductions will only show the qualities of the reproduction.
  2. there is only one way to learn about a process and that is to do it.
  3. manuals often reflect research without experience.
Here are a series of prints using different processes but the same negative as a guide to the qualities of each process. The subject is the south aisle of Chichester cathedral. The subject has a wide ranger of tone and fine gradation. The negative was made on Ilford FP4 film exposed at ISO 32 to give a negative with a density range of 2.0 suitable for contact printing.
 
The negative was prepared with a salt print in mind. Neither the density of the negative nor the subject matter may be ideal for other processes. 
  
883.02   Alternative process movement >  Contemporary daguerreotypes 
  
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   Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
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883.03   Alternative process movement >  Irving Pobboravsky: Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
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   Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
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883.04   Alternative process movement >  Gregory Popovitch: Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
  
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883.05   Alternative process movement >  Mike Robinson: Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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   Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
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883.06   Alternative process movement >  Jerry Spagnoli: Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
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   Contemporary Daguerreotypes 
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883.07   Alternative process movement >  Ellen Susan: Soldier Portraits 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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The wet collodion process was the primary photographic method from the 1850s through the 1880s, encompassing the dates of the American Civil War. The men and women photographed for the Soldier Portraits project are members of the U.S. Army based in Southeast Georgia. Most have deployed to Iraq one to three times since 2003. Many are in Iraq now.
 
The necessarily long exposures of this process often result in an intensity of gaze, and the grainless, highly detailed surface brings out minute details of each individual. These attributes, combined with the historical military associations made me feel that the process could be a meaningful way to photograph contemporary soldiers to provide a counterpoint to the anonymous representations seen in newspapers and on television. I wanted to produce physically enduring, visually arresting images of people who are being sent repeatedly into a war zone.
 
Ellen Susan (2008) 
  
   Ellen  Susan 
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883.08   Alternative process movement >  Contemporary bromoil prints 
  
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Bromoil is derived of the oil process, which was invented by E.J. Wall of Great Britain and later perfected by Welborne Piper. The Bromoil process was popular from about 1910 through 1949, with some workers continuing into the early 1960s. It was invented so that an artist could make oil prints without having a large negative. Bromoil, bromoil transfers and oil prints are made in ink, creating the impression of an etching or a hand-made print. Any negative that prints well in silver can be used for this process. A significant advantage to the bromoil process is that original negatives can be used in an enlarger to make prints, eliminating the need for large negatives or contact prints, a frequent requirement of other alternative processes. Bromoil emerged from necessity and evolved into a well-loved process with broad creative applications.
 
Many of the artists who worked with what are now considered "alternative processes" turned to these techniques to achieve the characteristic soft, painterly expressive images of a fine artist. After World War II, trends in photography changed dramatically. In contrast to the pictorialists, photographers, such as the F64 group, with their sharp, detailed imagery became preferred and softer aesthetics fell out of favor. Demand for the supplies required to produce Bromoil prints diminished causing them to virtually disappear from the marketplace. This served to further dissipate the use of the process.
 
Today, there is a bromoil revival. Artists have returned to the past to find methods of expression that spark their imagination and provide new outlets for their creativity. The bromoil process affords one potential to achieve these things. No longer limited to the romantic realm of the pictorialists, the tone and significance of bromoil prints varies widely. An artist is able to control subject matter, style, texture and color of inking, resulting in images as diverse and unique as each individual print maker.
 
Photography has reached a level of refinement, which allows the skilled artisan to apply their creative talents by varying technique and combining processes to create images of rare beauty. Today’s artists are using the alternative processes to compliment and contrast otherwise modern images. In comparison to the first half of the twentieth century where the pictorialists popularized bromoil as a favorite and often used process, largely for portraits and landscapes, modern photographers are adding a range of subject matter to what was traditionally considered appropriate content for bromoil.
 
Bromoil is a bromide silver gelatin print that has been bleached and tanned to remove the silver so that it can be replaced with a greasy pigment such as lithographic ink. The print is then bleached to remove the silver and fixed to complete the tanning or hardening of the gelatin. It is now called a matrix. After a soaking in water it is carefully surface dried to remove the water droplets. It is now inked with the greasy pigment; which causes the image to immerge.
 
F.G. Mortimer, Harold Cazneau. William Mortensen, Dr. Emil Mayer, Arthur Kales, and Frantisek Drtikol, are just a few of the expert bromoil workers that have added to the history of pictorial photography.
 
© Joy Goldkind (2006) – Used with permission 
  
  Contemporary Bromoil 
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TheBromoilCircleOfGreatBritain 
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883.09   Alternative process movement >  The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain - Centenary 2007 
  
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Slideshow (Be patient as this has 91 slides to load.) 
  
A Short Past and Present History
of
The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain
 
Maija McDougal
 
The Bromoil Circle Postal Club, was formed by the late A.C.Weller, alias Sam Weller, of Pinner, London, in 1931, later renamed as above. It took place during the period when Pigment Printing processes had become popular amongst photographers.
 
The nature of the Bromoil process and its intrinsic qualities lent themselves admirably to the prevailing ideals in pictorial photography during the first half of the 20th century. Because of its popularity, it could not have been difficult for Sam Weller to gather under one roof a group of like minded practitioners. As they were scattered all over the country, the only way to achieve this was by forming a postal club. The aims of the Society were stipulated to facilitate the exchange of technical information, of individual working methods and ideas as well as the viewing and appraising of each others images.
 
Sam Weller’s first entry in "The Bromoil Circle Postal Club" accounts, "The Ledger and Cash Book", dated April 1931, records the names of 18 bromoilists. On the same page it shows also the annual subscription fee as being 5 shillings.
 
A system of 3 circulating boxes was adopted. With this number a membership to a maximum of 20 could be accommodated. Up to the mid 1980s, membership was mainly gained by recommendation and invitation. Aspiring to maintain the highest possible standards within the group, mostly experienced and established bromoilists seem to have been approached to become members of the Circle. Thus it does not come as a surprise to find that many of the outstanding bromoilists of the day had been recruited over the years. Amongst them were L.G.Hawkins, the author of "Pigment Printing", A.E.Brookes, the first President of Sutton Coldfield Photographic Society, Georgia Proctor-Gregg and A.Barraclough, to mention but a few.
 
From the start, the running of the Circle must have been entrusted to a committee of 3, headed, no doubt, by Sam Weller. A brief reference to it can be found amongst the Circle’s archival letters. A constitution must also have been formulated. Unfortunately both documentations have been lost. However, this has never impeded the uninterrupted activities of the Circle.
 
During the first 3 decades of the 20th century, Bromoil was to become one of the most popular of all the Pigment printing processes. Its extensive use lasted well into the 1960s and beyond. The evidence of the latter can be seen in an exhibition catalogue found, once again, in the Circle’s archive. This was held in the Lewis Textile Museum and Art Gallery at Blackburn during February-March 1961. It records that in all 190 images were displayed by 63 artists. Of these 40 were bromoilists and amongst them no less than 20 were members of the Bromoil Circle. A commendable record for the Society.
 
Sam Weller’s presidency lasted for over 30 years, to be precise, a full 32 years. Today his work can be found in the Permanent Collection, owned by the Circle, and amongst The Royal Photographic Society’s collections. The latter are housed at the National Media Museum, Bradford. Sadly, in November 1963, due to ill health, Sam Weller had to relinquish the post he had held for so long and was forced to retire from active participation in the Circle.
 
The Presidents to follow Sam Weller were: Godfrey Phillips 1964-1974, Frank Williams 1974-1981, Trevor Jones 1981-1987 and Gilbert Hooper 1987-2000, all outstanding bromoilists and as influential in the affairs of the Circle as Sam Weller had been.
 
As already been mentioned, 3 postal boxes were used to circulate images and information. Members would receive the boxes at 8 week intervals. The prints, always mounted, were presented in folders. On these the author would enter technical data, the fellow members their comments and appraisals. Additionally a complimentary note book, "The Folio", was provided where further information, pertaining to the process and personal correspondence, could be entered. This enabled the members to form closer partnerships and friendships Every submission would make 2 round so that the members could acquaint themselves with all the entries following their own. On these lines the Circle was jointly run by the serving President and the Hon. Secretary until 1998.
 
The post WW2 years saw great advancements and many changes in the photographic industry. An abundance of new materials and with it working techniques were introduced. Inevitably the materials which had been produced and used by bromoilists for many years were gradually withdrawn from the market. Bromoilists were losing one by one the most suitable and well tested papers, the specially prepared printing inks and some of the implements such as the traditional stag foot brushes.
 
Confronted with the losses and forced changes, alternatives had to be found and working techniques adapted accordingly. The Circle members were obliged to find and work with new materials. Their research and experimentations played an invaluable part in assuring the Art and Craft of bromoiling would survive and be passed on to future generations. As before, all new discoveries were passed on from member to member in the most generous manner via the circulating boxes.
 
During the 1970s the Circle experienced considerable fluctuation in membership numbers due to the difficulties arising from the changes in the industry. At times the membership fell to a mere dozen, sometimes even below. Thus grew the need to introduce and present the process to a wider audience if only to show it had not been abandoned completely and that it could still offer contemporary photographers a beautiful and unique medium for self expression. As well as being the custodians of the old, the members of the Circle became also the disseminators of all that was new.
 
To popularise the process the organising of demonstrations and workshops was intensified. These were offered and took place at photographic clubs, fairs and some colleges throughout the country. It proved to be most successful attracting newcomers to the process.. With it the demand for comprehensive technical information increased noticeably.
 
In 1998, in response to the demand, the Circle published a manual "An Introduction to Bromoil", compiled by the late Gilbert R.Hooper FRPS, Maija McDougal FRPS and Dennis Atherton FRPS. Soon afterwards a "Beginners‘ Kit" was made available by courtesy of Don Whitely ARPS of Eurolux, Shipley, North Yorkshire. The kit contained the most essential materials: suitable photographic paper, a brush, the chemicals for bleaching and tanning the bromide prints, etc.. It also included instructions, a copy of the above mentioned manual. The kit enabled anyone interested to explore the process without incurring great expenses.
 
Well before 1998 it was felt a regular "Members’ Meeting" should be introduced. The first had already been held at Shrewsbury in 1995. Since then these meetings have taken place annually at Shrewsbury, Shipley in North Yorkshire and Worcester. The meetings considerably widened the activities of the Circle. The face to face gatherings opened opportunities for live discussions, the presentation of personal portfolios and practical demonstrations. The latter have been conducted not only by the members, but also by a number of visiting artists, including the distinguished bromoilist, Gene Laughter, from the United States. Thus, by spreading its wings, the Society has become more than just a postal club.
 
One of the major undertakings for the Circle was the decision to stage exhibitions, always including a selection of images by the Society’s past Presidents and members which are held in the Circle’s Permanent Collection. The first of its kind took place at the Museum and Art Gallery of Falkirk in 1997. Further two exhibitions followed, one in 2000 and the next in 2002, both at the "Design Exchange Gallery", Little Germany, Bradford. In 2007 the "Art of Bromoil - Centenary Exhibition" was shown at Worcester, Halifax and Smethwick, with Nottingham and Banbury to follow.
 
With the general growth of interest in the Alternative Printing processes during the last 2 decades, many Bromoil images by the members of the Circle have been presented in various publications, "Photo Art International", The Royal Photographic Society, Pictorial Group magazine "Vision", and "The Amateur Photographer", amongst them.
 
Soon followed another innovation. A "Mentor’s Scheme" was introduced offering a one to one partnership between an aspiring bromoilist and some of the most experienced members of the Circle. This facility was stipulated to last up to 12 months during which information and advice would be passed on by the Mentor to the enrolled participant with encouragement and general assessment on his or her submitted images. A little later it was also decided that the Mentor’s Scheme should replace the earlier mentioned conditions in gaining membership.
 
Due to all the above mentioned innovations, a pressing necessity presented itself, that is, for the Circle to form again an official body entrusted with the running of the expanding activities of the Society. In 1998 a new Constitution was formulated and a Management Committee established. The latter would embrace : 1) The President, 2) The Past President, 3) The Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, 4) The Exhibition and Publicity Officer and 5) 2 Members without Portfolio.
 
Partially due to the Mentor’s Scheme, applications for membership increased noticeably. At any time during the 12 months trial period the Mentor could submit a recommendation to the Management Committee for the Mentee to be offered membership. Alas, soon a shortage of vacancies arose. Not wanting to turn away those who had kindly taken to the process, the Circle was obliged to find a solution to this unexpected but welcomed situation. Without making drastic changes to the established traditions, the only way out was to increase the number of circulating boxes, eventually to 5. With the new arrangements the membership could grow to a maximum of 30, which it did. The only disadvantage was the long wait before a print would complete the two rounds and could be retrieved by the owner.
 
It may be of interest to the reader to present here just two paragraphs from the Society‘s Constitution. Paragraph 2: ...that it ( the Circle ) should exist for the furtherance of the Bromoil and related processes and function as a Postal Club. In addition it should endeavour to conserve and expand its Archive and Document Collection. Paragraph 3: ...it ( the Circle ) should aim to encourage the interchange of ideas, technical information, support education amongst bromoilists, historians and other researchers and the general public by suitable means.
 
As can be seen, the Society’s main aims have remained identical to those intended by Sam Weller at its conception. At this point, the presented short history of The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain has made a full circle. The need to preserve this beautiful photographic printing process for posterity, however, has become much more acute today. That the process is not lost to future generations, the Circle is convinced, one of the surest way to achieve it is by presenting to the public an informative and generously illustrated Centenary Book.
 
Maija McDougal FRPS
President
The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain
 
[This text was included in "The Art of Bromoil Centenary 2007" (The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain, 2007) ISBN: 978-0-9557199-0-5 printed by Aldine Press Ltd, Malvern, WR14 3NB, UK.] 
  
   TheBromoilCircleOfGreatBritain 
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883.10   Alternative process movement >  Elizabeth Opalenik: Mordançage 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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883.11   Alternative process movement >  Fabricated Cameras and Contemporary Pinhole Photography 
  
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883.12   Alternative process movement >  Afghan Box Camera Project 
  
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   Afghan Box Camera Project 
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883.13   Alternative process movement >  Contemporary dark tents and dark boxes 
  
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alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  

HomeContents > Further research

 
  
General reading 
  
Barnier, John (ed.), 2000, Coming into Focus: A Step-by-Step Guide to Alternative Photographic Printing Processes, (San Francisco: Chronicle Books) [Δ
  
Greene, Alan, 2002, Primitive Photography: A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses, and Calotypes, (Woburn: Focal Press) [Δ
  
James, Christopher, 2002, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, (Albany: Delmar) [Δ
  
Persinger, Tom (ed.), 2014, Photography Beyond Technique: Essays from F295 on the Informed Use of Alternative and Historical Photographic Processes, (Focal Press) [Δ
  
 
  
 
  
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com 
  
HomeTechniques > Alternative process movement 
A wider gazeA closer lookRelated topics 
  
Chemigrams 
Experimental and manipulated photography 
Pinhole cameras 
Polaroids 
 
  

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Alternative process movement

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
ThumbnailAfghan Box Camera Project 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (February 1, 2012)
ThumbnailContemporary Bromoil prints 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (October 11, 2006) Special thanks to all the Bromoilists from around the world who have assisted with this exhibition.
ThumbnailContemporary Daguerreotypes 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Improved (October 9, 2006)
ThumbnailContemporary Noble processes 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (June 18, 2006) To coincide with the "Noble Processes, in a Digital Age: New Works in Hand-Crafted Rare Media" exhibition at the John Stevenson Gallery (N.Y., May 3 - June 24, 2006)
ThumbnailContemporary Photogravure 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (May 2, 2007)
ThumbnailContemporary Tintypes 
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Released (January 17, 2011) This is a starting point and it will expand over the next month.
ThumbnailElizabeth Opalenik: Poetic Grace 
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Released (September 6, 2007) Verve Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe (NM, USA) has an exhibition of this series (Aug 31 - Oct 27, 2007)
ThumbnailEllen Susan: Soldier Portraits 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (August 6, 2008)
ThumbnailFabricated Cameras and Contemporary Pinhole Photography 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (January 7, 2012) If you use an innovative pinhole camera please get in touch.
ThumbnailThe Bromoil Circle of Great Britain - Centenary 2007 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (August 6, 2008)
 
  

HomeVisual indexes > Alternative process movement

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Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
   Photographer 
  
ThumbnailTerry King: Sixteen Different Alternative Processes from One Negative 
 
 
  
Refreshed: 05 November 2014, 14:19
 
  
 
  
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