Showing posts with label alternative photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alternative photography. Show all posts


Corinne Perry's Portfolio

Dear Readers,
It is incredible how many nuances a niche photographic discipline can accommodate. For example, the last featured portfolio was from Mathieu Noir. He makes some delightful hand-colored BW photos. Likewise, Corinne is also a master in this, almost forgotten, photographic technique. But her style is considerably different. I would say her photos are more »introverted« and »esoteric«, but that's just my own opinion. Fact is, Corinne uses the very minimum amount of coloring, but that's also the very aim of her technique; she only accentuates the aspects she wants to. Her biggest basis of inspiration were two of the greatest feminists of the past century: the photographer Francesca Woodman and the novelist Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
When I kindly asked her a brief description of her work etc., I received such a concise, self-confessing description, almost metaphysical, that I just could not make it any better in making a summary, only worse. Below is the summary, by her own words:

"My work resides within the tradition of self-portraiture, with the foundations of my practice originating from my fragile emotional state. My life and art have become inextricably intertwined, greatly influenced by my diary and the feelings it holds. To keep this emotional state consumed deep within would allow it to thrive, but through the honest self-portrayals of Misery, Delirium and Melancholia, I am offered a cathartic release and an opportunity to produce something beautiful from inner pain.The work is produced in my bedroom, with this room transcending into a mental space in which I am able to address, and act out my emotions in front of the camera. The places in which I photograph become my skin with me often layering paint on to a wall to convey the felt emotion that cannot be seen.

 Though my work is deeply personal the deliberate act of concealing my face disrupts the gaze between self and viewer, allowing personal identity to transcend into something which becomes more universal. With the vulnerability expressed in my work, being further emphasized by the small and intimate format of the photographs.Though taken in the present, my work exhibits influences of a past-era with the use of traditional photographic methods. This is greater complimented by the intimate hand colouring of each piece until the image is born."

Corinne’s work can be seen on her website

All photos copyright: Corinne Perry


Portfolio of the Week: Hans de Bruijn

Dear Readers,
Every week we feature an outstanding photographer, but Hans is also a particular one somehow else-he is entirely dedicated to gum bichromate printing. Hans is from Gouda, Netherlands. He's also been in the professional photo business for a while in his youth years, as he finished the Fotovakschool in The Hague in the 60's. Then, after a long carreer in the IT industry, the ancient photo techniques raised his interests in collecting vintage cameras and literature, and gum bichromate printing. After a course in gum printing, he was totally hooked on it. Being a perfectionist by nature, he really strives to bring the gum bichromate printing as close as possible to the original photo. Therefore, he sometimes has to bring up more than six layers of pigment to achieve his goal as close as possible. The artistic look of the photo is of secondary importance. But hey, how can we define what is artistic and what's not? Gum printing is definitely an art in itself. Anyone who has ever tried it will agree. These are just a few of the many beauties of gum printing-there are no rigid rules, there is a lot of freedom in choosing the color palette of your choice, the paper texture etc. And, as Hans states: “The making of gum bichromate prints, aside from working with beautiful materials, is so time consuming that it forces a person to de-hurry. And the result will always give satisfaction.”
In recent years (sadly for us), many of Hans' gum prints are derived from digital photos. But which is also a good proof of how gum printing can be also a nice linkage between traditional and contemporary photo techniques. But Hans was very kind to provide us with gum prints derived from film only. Hans is now happily enjoying his retirement by avidly making gum prints. He also gives gum printing workshops from time to time. You can find Hans' work and other info on his website and on Flickr. Enjoy his photos posted here, but I also openly invite you to visit his websites too!
Silver regards

All photos copyright: Hans de Bruijn


Monday Column: What is an Analogue Photography?

Simply, it is not a digital one. Right? But at its core a ccd or a cmos is an analogue device, transforming photons into electrical charge and only afterwards its converted in digital file. But we all agree that this kind of photography is so called “digital photography” and not analogue (or analog in American English) photography. But large amount of analogue photographs after all is converted into digital files by scanning negatives. At least for on line presentation.  It’s a little bit complicated.

But leave philosophical matter about analogue vs. digital for another column in the future. Analogue photography it’s whole universe of diversity at itself. But what it is real analogue photography? Some would say that real analogue photography is when it is taken on some light sensitized material and that aperture and time this material is exposed to light is manually controlled. Other would say give me some film and any camera it would take it. Then it will take film to develop and printing to the local Quick lab. This is also an analogue photography. But what would you say about alternative processes? There it’s not already prepared film in advance, but you must prepare your own light sensitive material, you must do developing and also printing (if it’s needed) at your own. Are those processes more analogue than previous one? What do you think about? What’s your way to be analogue?

p.s.: About last column and which camera I took to the hike. I chose Altix. More about this matter in the next column.


Monday Column: Analogue Photography as Escape from Digital World

What’s the reason to practice an analogue photography? It is because it’s better than digital? Or maybe it’s not better quality but better looking? Maybe it’s the reason the thrill of unknown, the so called chocolate box effect; that you never know what you will get until you develop the film? Or maybe it’s all about the feeling of operating the beautifully crafted mechanical photographic box?

We live in a frenzy world. The photographic technologies are developing too fast for my taste. They are excelling and superior at first sight. But like fast food tasteless and fatting (your mind). Photographically I’m a digital child. So I often catch myself just shooting (with my digital camera) at my photographic subject/object without thinking about it. And when I’m not satisfied with the results I just shoot more. But when I’m shooting with a vintage camera loaded with film I just switch the mind. I’m suddenly aware of my subject/object, I think about it, how to capture it without ruing my film. I’d had a success ratio about 25-30 frames of 36. How many do you think I had at same time shooting digital? Ok. I’m improving and I’m trying harder with my digital camera. So I’m improving my digital success ratio. But without analogue photography I would remain without experience that only shooting film gives you. Its calmness, some kind of therapy how to heal of digital frenzy that surrounds us every moment of our lives. And that’s just one reason why a photographer should practice an analogue photography.

I think that every photographer it has his own reason. Or reasons?  What’s mine? I’m not really sure. Analogue photography exists officially from 1839 when Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre presented to French Academy of Sciences the first photographic process in the world. So the analogue photography has at least 170 (or more) years of history. How many photographic processes, techniques, cameras and films were developed and worth to try out in that time? I’m interested in many of processes, techniques, cameras and films and in some not so much. In contrast digital photography exists only a decade or so (at least when majority of photographic professionals migrated to digital). Maybe in the future our grandchildren will find technology of today relaxing and interesting? Who knows?


Cottage Tip: Densitometry Simplified

Densitometry and optical density seem to be a very abstract topic to too many photographers, but they're not. Optical density is in fact a very handy way to express the loss of light through a medium; in our case photographic film or paper. It is a valuable tool for image analysis.
Optical density is defined as:
OD = Log10(Io / I), where Io is the non-attenuated light intensity (e.g. light reflection from blank paper base) and I is the attenuated light intensity (e.g. light reflection from an image area of the same paper)
In case when Io / I = 2 (the light intensity halves, i.e. is reduced by one stop), the density value equals to 0.30 which is a very handy number to deal with.
Very unfortunately, dedicated densitometers are quite expensive devices, even used ones. A new one can easily cost you about 1000 € or even more. If you're lucky, you can find a used one for a few 100 €. (And you still spend the same amount of money as for a SLR in good condition). Here I show an example how to make densitometric measurements of reflected light (i.e. from prints). Everyone who has ever dealt with alternative printing techniques has noticed the expression »image density«, be it for a cyanotype, platinum printing, and of course gum bichromate printing. Or any other technique. You can easily live without densitometry, but for getting consistent and predictable results in your printing, it is better to use it, especially in color or multi-layer printing. And you don't even need a densitometer. For densitometric measurements of acceptable precision, you need just a decent SLR or DSLR with spot metering capability-it is better to have a camera with 1/3 stop setting increments, but you can get along with a camera with 1/2 stop settings (like mine). For total (visual) densitometry, this is all you need. But for measuring the density of all three image-forming colors in color printing (yellow, magenta, cyan), you will also need a set of RGB filters. They need not to be the expensive optical quality filters-a set of RGB lighting filter gels (like Lee) are just right for the job, provided they faithfully represent the three primary colors (red, green, blue). You can buy a set of them online for a few €. I cut them in 75x75 mm squares and I hold them in front of the lens when I take the measurements.
The measurements were made with my Canon EOS 5, set in Av and spot mode. Aperture f/2.8 and ISO 100. Illuminated by window light.
Measuring is easy, just set your camera in aperture-priority mode at the aperture and ISO setting at your convenience, set the spot-metering mode, and place you print on an evenly illuminated surface. And you don't even need to have a focused image (actually it is better not to). First take the reading of the paper base (in secs) and then on the spot on the image you want to measure.
Say, you got these two readings for paper base and your spot of interest, 1/45 s and 1/15 s, respectively. Now you calculate the logarithm of their inverse values (actually their camera readings):
OD = Log10(45 /15)= 0.48
This value tells you that the reflected light on that spot is attenuated by about 1.6 stop.
For the sake of illustration, I prepared a sheet of drawing paper (see above) with spots of different colors approximating the black and the complementary colors (yellow, magenta and cyan) differing in intensity (density). They are made with pastels and are by far not ideal, but they show the basic principle anyway.
When you want to measure the density of the yellow color, you measure it with the blue filter in front of the lens, since blue is complementary to yellow. For magenta, you use the green filter. And for cyan, the red filter. This is because you want to block the other two colors during your readings. Write down your readings and the calculate the logarithm values. These are the densities of selected image spots. Easy, isn't it?
Of course, these measurements are not super-precise, but they can help you a lot when you engage yourself in alternative printing.
The tools I used to measure the densities: my trusty SLR, and for YMC colors, the 3 Lee filter gels-red, green and blue. Pocket calculator not shown :)