Jan 18 2010

Gus & Gus

This is my latest effort with the Van Dyke brown printing process. It is Van Dyke over pigment and is accomplished by coating and contact printing the Van Dyke over colors laid down by my Epson printer. I chose a very challenging subject for this first print. Not only was I working with two negatives at the same time, but by choosing to add colors to the sign lettering, I had to insure perfect registration between the negatives and the pigment coloring underneath.

Jan 15 2010

Phil-Moor Cottages

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to make many photographs of these wonderful structures while they sat in this field on Route 9 near Georgetown, Delaware. They began their life in downtown Rehoboth Beach as small rental cottages before being sold at auction in the name of “development”. They spent about 2 years in this field before being purchased by someone else who has since resold many of them individually. I know of at two that have been restored back to living condition and I can only hope that the other three will also find good homes with loving owners.

I made photographs of these structures in every season while they stood here. This image was made in the fall, when the trees had nice color (which gives them a variegated look in black and white) and the foreground was full of soybeans that were dried and ready to be harvested.

This is my most recent effort in the Van Dyke process and is one of my best alt process prints to date. I don’t think the scan does it justice. The actual image is 4″x9″ on Arches Platine paper. It will be toned in selenium to improve archival qualities which will also alter the tone and color a little bit.

Jan 13 2010

Lifeguard Portrait in Van Dyke Brown

I’ve been working pretty regularly on this process for the last few weeks. For those who aren’t familiar with Van Dyke brownprints, they are produced by hand coating paper (I’m currently working with a nice hot-pressed cotton rag paper called Arches Platine) with an sensitized solution of iron salts. The paper is then contact printed with a negative under UV light. The sun was the earliest source of this light, but I am using a bank of UV florescent bulbs, lent to me by a friend. This produces a very warm toned image on a heavy matte finish paper. The finished print has a wonderful rich quality about it.

Jan 11 2010


Another alternative printing process I have been experimenting with is cyanotype. This is one of the oldest photographic printing processes, and remains virtually unchanged from it’s invention by Sir John Herschel in 1842. The Prussian Blue color of the cyanotype doesn’t work for a lot of images, and I had to search hard to find photographs from my library which would be appropriate. This is one of my early attempts at contact printing and I think that it’s mildly successful. Since making this print, I have been concentrating most of my effort on perfecting the Van Dyke process because I feel it offers more potential across a wider range of image types. However, I have no doubt that I will soon return to the cyanotype process once I have fine tuned my technique.

Also, take note of the really poor coating technique on this print. The coating is almost as important to the aesthetics of the finished print as the image itself. Contrast this with the coating of of the Van Dyke print I shared a few days ago. There is about two weeks worth of learning separating these two prints.

Jan 8 2010

Van Dyke Brownprint

My first, full size Van Dyke brownprint.  The image is 6″x9″ on Arches Platine paper.  I was a little disappointed with the darkest tones in this print and am headed back to the drawing board.  I think my coating technique still needs some work.