PROCESSES


I have always been interested in printing processes. While it could be argued that the essence of photography is the stable recording of an image by light (with or withjout a camera), the dominant form of the medium, first established as Fox Talbot's calotype process, rather than Daguerre's one-of-a-kind process, has always involved the printing of a negative to a positive. Over the years, a wide variety of these printing processes have been invented, discarded and reinvented again. While the modernist mainstream tended to view this as an evolutionary trend towards a continuous improvement (a sort of photographic version of the 'Whig view of history') with the concomitant disparagement of any who didn't fall in to line, it has always seemed to me that each process should be seen on it own terms with its own strength and weaknesses. This is perhaps even more relevant today as we move from an era of wet chemistry to the era of the digital print.


The craft skills of the wet darkroom and its processes still have a powerful hold over me, though sadly I now seem to spend less time there than I would like. Looking back over my work, it is clear than the alchemical skills of the darkroom continue in a long line from the kitchen chemistry set which I first discovered at school. Digital processes lack that direct, hands-on, familiarity. Not that one mustn't move with the times...


For a few notes on each of the processes and to see the works which use them, please select a menu item from the left.


For more information, including practical instructions, follow the appropriate links on the BOOKSHELF and the LINKS pages.