Monday, August 3, 2009

The Back Story

Why picturesbyhand, you ask? Well, I like making stuff. As far back as I can remember, I've liked making stuff. Woodworking, metal shop, cast plastics, cars... and photographs. When I was 12 my dad made room in the basement for a simple darkroom. Throughout my teen years I worked in my dad's tool and die shop and spent my spare time wrenching on a 1968 Buick and then my beloved 1967 Camaro convertible.

The Camaro was a complete re-build - motor, trans, interior, etc. I even painted it red and replaced the convertible top myself. These are the things you do when you're young and have more time than money and are in love with your car.

So, when I became more interested in photography in the late '80's, I started fiddling with platinum/palladium printing. This is way before the WWW kids, so information was hard to come by. It took me a few years of fiddling to finally get good at the process. Around 2001 I was introduced to gum bichromate by my friend Stuart Melvin. Since then, gum over platinum has been my primary medium on paper.

In 2004 I began working with wet plate collodion and soon became obsessed with that process. These days I often combine all three of these processes to make my work. I make the original image using wet plate, usually on aluminum, then scan the plate, make a digital negative and then print in gum over platinum. Collodion, platinum, gum and digital negatives. My prints span 3 centuries of photographic technology. And it's fun! Here's an example:


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blah, blah, blahg...

OK, just what the internet needs is another blogger. There are times when thoughts fly around in my head that I want share and I want to put somewhere... I've never in my life kept a journal. OK, maybe when I was 12 and in love for the first time, but no one wants to read that adolescent drivel.

These days, I'm thinking a journal may be a way for me to remember stuff. At 49, remembering is much harder than it used to be. So, we'll see where, if anywhere, this little corner of the 'net goes. For now, have a look at this new picture:

It is a cyanotype over palladium print of a lightening storm in Condon, Montana. A week or so ago I was there teaching a gum over platinum workshop for the Photographer's Formulary and had my daughter Sarah with me as an assistant. The lightening started about midnight and we stood out on the deck for a while enjoying the show and trying to catch an image. I made this with my Canon 5D. The print is roughly 7x10. I haven't made a cyanotype in over a decade, but Sarah got into cyanos during the workshop because one of the students brought along some chemistry. So, thanks to Sarah, I have another medium to work with.

I long been a fan of Kenro Izu's work and I have a wonderful book of cyan/platinum prints by Kenro called Blue.

So there you have it, my first official blog posting. Will it be my last?