The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes / Edition 1

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Photographic artists will gravitate to this full-color, comprehensive technical resource which explores every aspect of alternative photography. Written in a user-friendly, conversational style, each chapter introduces the history of a technique, presents an overview of the relevant alternative or non-silver photographic process, reviews its chemistry, and provides practical guidance in how to make it work. Traditional and digital contact negative production plus an array of processes such as cyanotype, Van Dyke, Kallitype, gum bichromate, platinum/palladium, Ziatype, Ambrotype and hand-applied emulsions are included. The book offers a wealth of visual inspirations and sophisticated techniques, and at the same time includes ample information to satisfy even the most demanding technician. When techniques presented in the book are practiced patiently, and with attention to detail, amateurs and professionals alike will delight in their ability to transform the science of photography into an art.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Christopher James displays in the third edition of this book all his knowledge on the so-called "alternative processes", and offers the reader historical data, formulas and visual examples, all explained with preciseness and clarity. The most interesting feature in this publication is that it opens perspectives for creative events, encourages the desire to explore techniques that are part of the history of photographic representation, and helps to articulate and to confer meaning on the desire of generating images in the present. In brief, his work allows us to visually explore existence and helps to understand the development of contemporary subjectivity."

What a wonderful book! Clear and concise, with all the secrets of the dark arts in one volume. Call it the King James."

"Christopher James' new edition has expanded right alongside the boom in interest in older techniques, as more and more contemporary artists reach backward to look forward. Covering processes from the first discoveries of the 1830's to the latest inventions and re-inventions, the book includes an astonishing breadth of work and a wide range of artists that show just how rich this field has become. If you need any proof that handmade photography is alive and well in the digital age, here it is, in spades."

"The 1st edition set the standard for alternative photo books. The 2nd, was a real knockout, totally unexpected, I thought the 2nd was the landmark edition, that Mr. James could sit back and enjoy life again. Then this happened, the 3rd edition. It's like meal in a Michelin 3-star restaurant, the courses keep coming getting better and better. It's a book not only for a photographer making photographs with these processes, but an essential book for anyone concerned with photography. It should be in a handy reach of every curator, photography dealer, art critic, and photo historian. And lastly, it's just a good read, sit back and enjoy."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780766820777
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 6/21/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 10.74 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher James is an internationally known artist and photographer whose photographs, paintings, and alternative process printmaking have been exhibited in galleries and museums in this country and abroad. His work has been published and shown extensively, including exhibitions in The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The George Eastman House, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first two editions of his book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes have received international critical acclaim and are universally recognized by artists, curators, historians, and educators as the definitive texts in the genre of alternative process photography and photographically integrated media and culture. Christopher, after 13 years at Harvard University, is presently University Professor and Director of the MFA in Photography program at The College of Art and Design - Lesley University. He is also a painter, graphic designer, and a professional scuba diver. His web site is
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Table of Contents

Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History: Conception & Connections
o The Thumbnail Principle
o A Little Science
o How To Make a Pin Hole Camera & Pinhole Construction
o Testing the Camera
o Finding the Correct Exposure & Making Pictures
Pinhole Recommendations, Resources, & Related Web Sites
Overview & Expectations
A Little History
Tiphaigne de la Roche's, Giphantie, (1760)
o An Appropriate Time to Explain Things
o What Negative Density Means
o Negative Production Options
o Commercial Labs, Copy Machine, Desk-Top Printers
o Acrylic Negatives from Printed Sources
o Polaroid Type 55 Positive / Negative Film
o Conventional Films
o The Cliché Verre & The Photogram
o Single Stage Negative to Negative Duplicating
o Multi-Stage Duplicating Films
o Exposure & Development Considerations
o Pyro
Soemarko's LC-1 & LC-1B Low Contrast Lith Formulas
Overview & Expectations
A Little History: The Digesting Duck to the Present
o My View: the Present State of the Digital Arts
o A Digital Caveat
o A Digital Negative: A Layman's Explanation
o Making CMYK Separation Negatives
Overview & Expectations
A Little History
o Toy Camera Philosophy & The Six Plastic Virtues
o Plastic Camera Hints, Tips, & Shutter Modification
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History
The Camera Lucida
o Chemistry and Formulas
o Gelatin, Sea Salt, & Starch Salting Formulas
o The Silver Nitrate Sensitizing Formula & Application
o Coating & Printing Salted Paper
o Pre Wash & Wash Considerations
o Toning Formulas for the Salted Paper Process
o Gold Borax, Gold-Thiocyanate, Gold-Acetate Toning
Platinum, Palladium, Gold 231, & Blue-Gray Toning
o Fixing the Salted Paper Print
o Contrast Control & Final Wash
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History
o How Cyanotype Works
o The Chemistry: Chemicals and Sensitizer Formula
o The Negative
o Paper, Fabric Surfaces & Sensitizing
The Hake Brush
o A Few Words About the Sun & Exposing the Cyanotype
o Development: Water or Acid Options
o Washing and Instant Gratification Oxidization
o Clearing Highlights
o Trouble-shooting & Formulas for Toning the Cyanotype
o Overview & Expectations
o Materials & Preparation of Fabrics
o Making Images: Chemistry & Formula
o Coating, Printing, & Development
o Post Development Options, Toning & Care
The New Cyanotype
o A Little History
o Five Shortcomings of the Classic Cyanotype Process
o Chemical Solutions for the First 3 Shortcomings
o Chemistry, Preparation, Coating & Drying
o Negatives, Exposure, Processing, & Clearing
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History
The Van Dyke process
o Van Dyke Chemistry: Sensitizing & Fixing
o Papers, Sizing, & Negatives
o Coating, Exposure, & Processing Steps for the Van Dyke
o Lead Acetate, Gold 231, Selenium, Blue, & Split Toning
The Blue-Van-Dyke Process (B-V-D)
The Kallitype Process
The Sensitizer
o A Little History
o The Process: Chemistry, Formula & Preparation
Brush & Glass Rod Coating and Preparing a Hake Brush
Exposing the Print
o Development Option #1: Black, Sepia, Brown, Gray-Blue Tones
o Development Option #2: Ammonium Citrate and Sodium Acetate
Alternative Toning Options for Kallitype
Contrast Control, Clearing, Fixing Formulas & Final Wash
The Brownprint Process
o Overview of Sensitizer: Chemistry & Preparation
o Exposure, Development, Fixing & Washing
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History
o The Process Explained & Supplies and Materials
o The Negative
o Papers & Sizing
o The Chemistry, Sensitizer, & Developers
o Developer Formulas: Ammonium Citrate & Potassium Oxalate
o Clearing Bath Formulas (EDTA) & an Emergency Clearing Bath
o The Sensitizer Formulas: Platinum & Palladium
o Platinum / Palladium Drop Chart
o Coating the Paper & Exposure
o Developing the Platinum / Palladium Image
Pre-Washing, Clearing, Final Wash & Trouble-shooting
Gum, Cyanotype, and Van Dyke with Pt / Pd
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History
o How it Works & the Process
o Abbreviation Symbols for Ziatype
o Ziatype Drop Count Formulas
o The Process: Mixing, Coating, & Exposure
o POP Observations, Contrast Control, & Process Considerations
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History
o Materials: Flowers, Berries & Alcohol
o The Working Process
o Overview & Expectations
A Few Words About the History of Paper
o Shrinking, Sizing, & Hardening
o Formalin & Glyoxal
o Materials You Will Need
o The Sizing Process
o Formalin & Glyoxal Hardening Baths & Processes
The Gelatin-Glyoxal Single Step Solution
o Arrowroot, Gesso-Acrylic, Polyurethane, & Gum Sizing
Overview & Expectations
A Little History
Collotype, Calotype, Woodburytype, & The Fish-Glue Process
o How Gum Bichromate Works
o A Few Words Before Beginning
o The Gum Negative & Registration
o Ammonium Dichromate Sensitizer
o Watercolors, Gum Arabic, & Glue
o Traditional Sensitizer Formulas
o Sensitizing the Paper & Staining
o Coating & Exposure
o Printing with a Single Color and One Negative
o Development & Clearing the Print
o Multiple Negative Printing
o Trouble-shooting & Resources
3-D Gum, Gum Bichromate on Alternative Surfaces, The Dusting-On Process & The Ferro-Tannic Iron & Ferro-Gallic Processes
Overview & Expectations
o The 3-D Gum Bichromate Process
How 3-D Works, Negatives, & Process
Gum Bichromate on Alternative Surfaces
The Basic Premise
The Tooth, Coating, Exposure & Processing
The Dusting-On process
o A Little History
o The Process: Contemporary
Working on Glass
o Traditional Materials, Chemistry & Formulas
o Hot & Humid Image Development
o The Transfer Option & Herschel's Breath Printing Process
The Ferro-Tannic / Ferro-Gallic Iron Processes
o A Little History
o Chemistry, Sensitizing, Intensifying, & Toning Processes
Overview & Expectations
o A Little History
o How the Albumen Process Works
o Method #1: Traditional Raw Egg Method
o Method #2: The Powdered Albumen Method
Method #3: The Instant Gratification Method
o Coating & Floating the Paper: Glossy or Matte Coating
Hardening & Sensitizing Paper: Silver to Salt Ratio
The Effects of Silver Albumenate
o Exposure, Processing, Toning & Fixing the Albumen Print
A Simple Test for Residual Silver & Washing the Albumen Print
Overview & Expectations
A Little History
POP Formulas and Process
Pre-Coated POP Papers & Process
Gold-Thiocyanate & Gold-Alkaline Toners
Replenishment of Gold Toners
Platinum, Gold-Platinum, Split Toning, & Gold-Borax Toning
Fixing and Final Wash for POP
HAND APPLIED EMULSIONS: Photo-Etching & Resists, Paint, The Contemporary Tintype, The Wet Collodion & Ambrotype Processes.
o Overview & Expectations
Varieties of Liquid Emulsions and Hardening Liquid Emulsions
o Emulsions on Glass, Ceramics and Metal: Materials & Process
o Solarplates, Photo-Resists, Simple Resists, Formulas & Etching
Contemporary Tintype Process:
o A Little History
o The Dry Plate Process
o Coating, Exposure, Development, & Trouble-shooting
Wet Collodion & Ambrotype Process
A Little History
The Ambrotype Process
Salted Collodion Emulsion, Developer, & Fixer
Mounting, Varnishing, & the Presentation of Ambrotypes
o Overview & Expectations
o Materials & Process
o Re-development & Depouillment (gelatin removal)
o Oxidation & Final Steps
IMAGE TRANSFER PROCESSES: Color Lazer, Heat Transfer, Lazertran System, Polaroid Transfers & Emulsion Lifts & Ink Jet Water Transfer
o Overview & Expectations
How a Color Laser Copier Works
Copyright and Post-Modernism
o At the Copy Store & Materials
o Color Laser Solvent Transfer, Varneytype, Blender Pens
o Water & Dry Mount Process
Fabrics, Transfers & Non-Silver
Lazertran Transfer Systems
o Transfer Processes for Paper, Glass, Metal, Wood, & Plaster
Lazertran Silk & Fabric Transfer
Lazertran Etch
Polaroid Emulsion Transfers & Emulsion Lifts
What is Polaroid Film & How it Works?
o Materials & Processes for Transfers & Emulsion Lifts
o Exposing Type 59 in an Enlarger
Ink Jet Water Transfer Process
MSDS and Lab Safety Web Sites
Simple Definitions: pH, Acid, Alkali
Working With Chemicals: Always & Never Rules
CAS Numbers
Chemicals and Definitions
o Dry and Liquid Measures Conversions (small volume)
Temperature Conversions
Percentages: Description & Calculation
o Overview, Materials and How to Make One
o Materials and Set Up for the Working Space
o Chemicals, Lab Gear & Kits
o Lab Materials & Art Supplies
o Film & Photographic Supplies
o Scans, Digital Printing, Books, Postcards, Portfolios
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