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Alternate Processes

It's been awhile since I've added a blog post to my site. Unfortunately that doesn't mean I haven't had anything to share. I've just been bad at sharing it. So with this post I'll start with the most recent fun I've been having and work back and forth catching up in later posts with all the great stuff that's been going on in my world of photography.

For the first eight weeks of the year I was in a Darkroom class called "Alternative Processes" and we learned so much about the history of photography and all of the (now) non-traditional ways to create images. We developed negatives as Cyanotypes, VanDyke prints, and Salt prints. The last half of the class (four weeks) was designed for us to focus on something we wanted to do and dive right in.

For my last four weeks I wanted to build my own pinhole camera and take images inspired by Jan Kapoor. I would eventually like to create images similar to her Grotto Series, #1. As you can probably tell by that statement the images I created did not turn out the way I wanted them to, but that's OK. We need to experiment and fail from time to time in order to learn what works and what doesn't. I had issues with my negatives being too "thin". With darkroom processes in general being new to me I wasn't sure what this meant, but essentially there wasn't enough contrast in the negatives. Any images I developed from them wouldn't have the desired range of tones from light to dark. The class ran out of time before I could really narrow down how to make better negatives with the pinhole camera, but if there's one thing I learned from my first experience in the darkroom it's that I'll be going back for more!

I did successfully build a pinhole camera out of a large oatmeal box, but if I want to create images similar to Jan Kapoor's my camera will have to be much bigger. So it'll be back to the drawing board eventually. Right now my next darkroom-esque class has just begun so my focus must shift. How it is shifting for this class will be another post!

Below are some of the better images from the series. All are Salt Prints. Some were coated, exposed, and developed separately while others had both negatives down at the same time. Different effects, but I like elements of both. In each pair of images there is the finished print on the left and then a print on the right that was photographed and enhanced in Lightroom. The prints on the right still aren't perfect, but there is more contrast and you can see more details.

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