Cover image for Book of alternative photographic processes
Book of alternative photographic processes
James, Christopher (Christopher P.), 1947-
Publication Information:
Albany, N.Y. : Delmar/Thomson Learning, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiv, 386 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR350 .J35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Christopher James is Chair of the Photography Department at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This book's first edition received critical acclaim and became a standard in the field. James, an internationally recognized artist with paintings and photographs in America's leading museums, expands the text with information on newer digital methods and recent Internet resources. There is also a history of photographic techniques, including lensless cameras, calotype, salted paper, anthotype, cyanotype, argyrotype, chrysotype, kallitype, ambrotype, wet collodian and dry plate emulsions, and digital negative workflows. Extensive appendixes cover chemistry and safety, resources, supply lists, conversion tables, and historical and contemporary bibliographies. Highly recommended for large collections. For strictly modern alternative processes, see John G. Blair's Alternative Digital Photography. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xii
Introductionp. xiii
Chapter 1 The Pinhole
Overview and Expectationsp. 2
A Little History: Conception and Connectionsp. 2
The Conceptionp. 2
Connectionsp. 6
How a Daguerreotype Is Madep. 10
A Little Sciencep. 13
Pinhole Constructionp. 16
Testing the Camerap. 17
Finding the Correct Exposurep. 18
Making Picturesp. 19
Pinhole Recommendationsp. 20
Chapter 2 The Negative: Traditional and Alternative Options
Overview and Expectationsp. 24
A Little Historyp. 24
A Vision from 1760p. 26
An Appropriate Moment to Explain Thingsp. 32
Negative Production Optionsp. 34
Commercial Labsp. 34
The Copy Machinep. 34
The Desktop Printer and Film Recordersp. 34
Acrylic Films from Printed Sourcesp. 35
Polaroid Type 55 Positive/Negative Filmp. 38
A Quick Nod to Conventional Filmsp. 39
More Negative Options: The Cliche-Verrep. 40
Single Stage Negative-to-Negative Duplicating Filmsp. 42
A Few Multistage Duplicating Filmsp. 43
Exposure and Development: Average Negative Densitiesp. 44
Pyrop. 45
Dave Soemarko's Lc-1 and Lc-1B Low Contrast Developer Formulas for Lith Filmp. 45
Chapter 3 The Digital Options
Overview and Expectationsp. 48
A Little History: The Digesting Duck to the Presentp. 51
My View of the Present State of the Digital Artsp. 55
A Caveatp. 57
The Digital Negative: A Layman's Explanationp. 58
CMYK Separation Negatives: the Bare Essentialsp. 64
CMYK Separations in Photoshop: The Speedy, Non-Fussy Versionp. 66
CMYK Separations in Adobe Photoshop: The Longer Version (Photoshop 5.0 and 5.5)p. 67
CMYK Negative Separations in Adobe Illustratorp. 70
Photogenetics: An Imaging Alternativep. 70
Chapter 4 The Plastic Camera
Overview and Expectationsp. 72
A Little Historyp. 72
Toy Camera Philosophyp. 75
The Six Plastic Virtuesp. 76
Plastic Camera Hints and Tipsp. 79
Chapter 5 The Salted Paper Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 84
A Little Historyp. 84
Chemistry and Formulasp. 91
Coating Salted Paperp. 94
Printing Salted Paperp. 95
Prewash/Salt Washp. 96
Toning Formulas for the Salted Paper Processp. 96
Fixing the Salted Paper Printp. 99
Final Washp. 100
Contrast Controlp. 100
Chapter 6 The Cyanotype Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 102
A Little Historyp. 102
How Cyanotype Worksp. 107
The Chemistry: Chemicals and Sensitizer Formulap. 108
The Negativep. 110
Paper and Fabric Surfacesp. 110
A Few Words About the Sunp. 113
Exposing the Cyanotypep. 114
Development: Water or Acidp. 115
Washing and Oxidizationp. 115
Clearing Your Highlightsp. 116
Toning the Cyanotypep. 116
Chapter 7 Cyanotype Variations: Fabrics and the New Cyanotype
Overview and Expectationsp. 124
Materials You Will Needp. 124
Making the Image: Chemistryp. 128
Coating the Fabricp. 129
Printingp. 129
Developmentp. 131
Oxidizer: "Intensification"p. 132
Postprinting Washing Carep. 133
The New Cyanotypep. 133
A Little Historyp. 133
The Five Shortcomings of the Traditional Cyanotype Process, According to Dr. Warep. 134
Chemical Solutions for the First Three Problemsp. 134
The Sensitizerp. 135
Preparation of Sensitizerp. 135
Coating Techniquesp. 136
Drying the Coatingp. 136
Negativesp. 136
Exposure and Developmentp. 137
Chapter 8 The Kallitypes: Van Dyke, B-V-D, and Kallitype
Overview and Expectationsp. 138
A Little Historyp. 140
The Van Dyke Processp. 142
Van Dyke Sensitizing Chemistryp. 142
The Paperp. 143
Sizingp. 144
The Negativep. 145
Coating the Paperp. 146
Exposurep. 146
Processing the Imagep. 147
Toning the Van Dyke Imagep. 149
The Blue-Van-Dyke (B-V-D) Processp. 151
The Kallitype Processp. 154
The Kallitype Sensitizerp. 154
Coating the Paperp. 156
Exposing the Printp. 156
Developing the Printp. 157
Development Method #1p. 157
Development Methods #2p. 158
A Toning Process for Kallitypep. 159
Controlling Contrast with Potassium Dichromatep. 160
Fixing the Printp. 160
Final Washp. 161
The Brownprint Processp. 161
The Brownprint Sensitizerp. 162
Exposurep. 163
Developmentp. 163
Fixing the Printp. 163
Final Washp. 163
Chapter 9 The Platinum/Palladium Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 164
A Little Historyp. 164
The Process Explainedp. 168
Supplies and Materialsp. 170
The Negativep. 172
Papers and Sizingp. 173
The Chemistryp. 174
Two Pt/Pd Developer Formulasp. 175
The Clearing Bathsp. 175
Formula for EDTA Clearing Bathp. 175
The Sensitizer Formulap. 176
Preparing the Formula and Coating the Paperp. 178
Exposurep. 180
Best Advicep. 180
Developing the Platinum/Palladium Imagep. 181
Prewashing and Clearingp. 181
Some Points to Consider: Trouble-shootingp. 183
Cyanotype, Gum, and Van Dyke with Pt/Pdp. 185
Chapter 10 The Ziatype Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 188
A Little Historyp. 188
A Little Chemistryp. 192
How It Worksp. 193
The Working Processp. 194
Additional Considerationsp. 198
End Thoughtsp. 199
Chapter 11 The Anthotype Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 200
A Little Historyp. 200
Anthotype Materialsp. 202
The Working Processp. 202
Chapter 12 Paper: History, Preparation, Shrinking, Sizing, and Hardening
Overview and Expectationsp. 206
A Few Words About Paper and Its Historyp. 206
Shrinkingp. 211
Sizing and Hardeningp. 212
Gelatin Sizing and Hardening Processesp. 212
Gelatin Sizingp. 212
Materials You Will Needp. 212
Gelatin Sizing: Step 1p. 213
Gelatin Hardening: Step 2p. 213
Formalin Hardening Bath and Process: A Step 2 Optionp. 213
Glyoxal Hardening Bath and Process: A Step 2 Alternativep. 215
Glyoxal-Gelatin Single-Coating Optionp. 215
Arrowroot Sizingp. 215
Gesso-Acrylic Medium Sizingp. 216
Gloss Polyurethane Sizingp. 217
Gum Arabic-Dichromate Sizingp. 218
Chapter 13 The Gum Bichromate Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 220
A Little Historyp. 223
How Gum Bichromate Worksp. 226
A Few Words Before We Beginp. 226
The Gum Negativep. 227
Registrationp. 229
The Ammonium/Potassium Dichromate Sensitizerp. 230
Watercolorsp. 231
Gum Arabicp. 232
A Traditional Gum Bichromate Sensitizing Formula (Ammonium Dichromate)p. 232
Another Sensitizer Formula (Potassium Dichromate)p. 233
An Alternative Sensitizing Formula: "The 5-10-10"p. 233
Sensitizing the Paperp. 233
A Few Words Regarding Conventional Gum Wisdom and Stainingp. 234
Coatingp. 235
Exposing the Negativep. 235
Printing a Single Color Gum with a Single Negativep. 236
Development: Clearingp. 237
Other Miscellaneous Trouble-Shooting Notes and Suggestionsp. 238
Chapter 14 Dichromate Options: 3-D Gum, Alternative Surfaces for Gum, the Dusting-On Process, the Ferro-Tannic Process, and the Ferro-Gallate Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 244
3-D Gum Bichromate Processp. 244
How 3-D Worksp. 246
The Negativesp. 246
The Processp. 246
Gum Bichromate on Alternative Surfacesp. 249
The Basic Premisep. 249
Toothp. 249
Coating, Exposure, and Developmentp. 250
The Dusting-On Processp. 251
A Little Historyp. 251
Contemporary Dusting-On Processp. 252
Working on Glassp. 254
The Traditional Dusting-On Formulap. 255
Materials Needed for Dusting-On Processp. 255
The Process for Paperp. 255
Hot and Humid Image Developmentp. 256
Dusting-On Glass: Transfer Optionp. 257
The Ferro-Tannic and Ferro-Gallic Processesp. 257
A Little Historyp. 257
The Chemistryp. 258
Chapter 15 The Albumen Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 260
A Little Historyp. 260
How the Albumen Process Worksp. 264
Method 1 The Traditional Raw Egg Methodp. 265
Method 2 The Powdered Albumen Methodp. 266
Method 3 The Instant Gratification Methodp. 266
Coating the Paper with the Albumen Solutionp. 266
Hardening Options If You Double Coatp. 267
Sensitizing the Paperp. 268
Exposure: Contrast Control and What to Look Forp. 269
Silver Albumenate and Highlight Yellowingp. 269
Processing: First Bathp. 269
Optional Toningp. 269
Fixing the Toned Printp. 271
Final Washp. 271
Chapter 16 POP: Printing-Out Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 272
A Little Historyp. 272
POP Overviewp. 274
A Traditional POP Emulsionp. 275
Formulas and Process for Precoated POP Paperp. 276
Gold-Thiocyanate Tonerp. 276
Gold-Alkaline Toners (Gray Silver-Sepia to Pink)p. 277
Sodium Bicarbonate Formulap. 278
Replenishment for Gold Tonersp. 279
Platinum Toner: Traditional Formulap. 279
POP Platinum Toner (Neutral Black-Sepia)p. 279
Gold-Platinum POP Split Tonerp. 280
Gold-Platinum-Selenium POP Split Tonerp. 280
Fixing the POP Printp. 281
Final Washp. 281
Chapter 17 Hand-Applied Emulsions: Liquid Emulsions, Photo-Etching, Paint, Photo-resists, Contemporary Tintypes, Wet Collodion, and Ambrotype Processes
Overview and Expectationsp. 282
Liquid Emulsionsp. 284
The Working Process for Hand-Applied Emulsionsp. 286
Emulsions on Glass, Ceramic, and Similar Surfacesp. 288
Emulsions on Metalp. 290
Solarplatesp. 293
Photo-Resistsp. 296
Contemporary Tintype Processp. 300
A Little Historyp. 300
The Dry Plate Processp. 302
Coatingp. 303
Exposurep. 303
Developmentp. 303
The Wet Collodion and Ambrotype Processp. 304
A Little Historyp. 304
The Ambrotype Processp. 306
Salted Collodion Emulsionp. 307
Prefix Wash: Developer Removalp. 309
Fixing the Platep. 309
Dryingp. 311
Varnishingp. 311
Mounting and Presentation of a Wet Collodion Positivep. 312
Chapter 18 The Mordancage Process
Overview and Expectationsp. 314
Redevelopmentp. 317
Depouillment (Gelatin Removal)p. 317
Oxidationp. 317
Chapter 19 Image Transfer Processes: Color Laser, Lazertran System, Polaroid Transfer and Emulsion Lift Processes, Ink Jet Water Transfer
Overview and Expectationsp. 318
How a Color Laser Copier Worksp. 320
At the Copy Storep. 321
Materials You Will Needp. 322
Solvent Transfer Techniquep. 322
The Varneytype Transfer Processp. 324
Water/Dry Mount Processp. 324
Transfers to Fabricp. 324
The Lazertran Transfer Processp. 325
Lazertran Transfer Papers for Artistsp. 325
Fixing a Lazertran Transfer to Glass, Ceramic, Perspex, and Metalp. 328
Fixing a Lazertran Transfer to Paper, Wood, Stone, and Plastic with Turpentinep. 329
Lazertran Silk Transferp. 329
Lazertran on Heavy Fabricsp. 329
Lazertran Etch: Printmaking Press Transfersp. 330
Polaroid Transfers and Emulsion Liftsp. 330
What Is Polaroid Film and How Does It Work?p. 331
Materials Needed for These Processesp. 332
The Wet Transfer Processp. 332
The Dry Transfer Processp. 335
Polaroid Emulsion Liftsp. 335
The Processp. 335
Exposing Type 59 4" x 5" Film in an Enlargerp. 336
Ink-Jet Water Transfer Processp. 338
Appendix A Safety Considerations and Data for Chemicals Used in This Book
Excellent Sources for Chemical, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) and Lab Safetyp. 342
A Few Simple Chemistry Definitionsp. 342
Chemistry and Safetyp. 344
Chemical Abstract Service Registry (CAS)p. 345
Appendix B Small Volume Conversion Table
Dry measurep. 356
Liquid measurep. 356
Temperaturep. 357
Percentagesp. 357
Appendix C A Simple Ultraviolet Exposure Unit
Materials Neededp. 358
How to Make Itp. 359
Appendix D A Working Inventory Check Sheet: For an Alternative Process Curriculum, Workshop, or Studiop. 360
Appendix E A Modest List of Resources: Chemicals, Lab Gear, and Kitsp. 366
Lab materials and art suppliesp. 368
Films and Photographic Suppliesp. 369
Negative Scans, Digital Resources, Books, Postcards, and Portfoliosp. 371
Appendix F Alternative Processes on the Internetp. 373
Appendix G An Alternative Process Working Spacep. 375
Appendix H Selected Bibliography: Contemporary and Traditional Alternative Processes
Contemporaryp. 376
Early and Historicalp. 378
Indexp. 381