Experimentation: Alternative Photographic Processes Workshop

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I recently attended a workshop about alternative photographic processes.  The workshop covered three different techniques: making/using a pinhole camera, lumen printing and anthotypes.

Making the pinhole camera was really good fun.  I had never used one before and I was not aware that pinhole cameras had such an extreme angle of view or depth of field.  This presents some very interesting possibilities that I may want to experiment with in the future.

The lumen printing was also pretty entertaining.  Here flat objects or photographs (printed onto acetate) were placed on top of black and white photographic paper and then exposed to the sun to create a colour image.  What I loved about this technique, was the instantaneousness of it; you took your contact-printing frame out into the sun, and watched the colours change in literally minutes.  I also found it intriguing that by applying water to your paper/objects (either before or after the UV exposure) you could alter the affects of the colour change.

Perhaps my favourite technique though, was the anthotype printing.  We created pigments from spinach leaves and cooked beetroot, which were then painted onto watercolour paper.  Both pigments required several layers to get a deep enough colour to work with (the deeper the starting colour, the higher the contrast of your final images).  We then brought our prepared paper home, in order to finish our anthotypes in our own time (because the beetroot will probably require about a week out in the sun to get a good exposure!).

I enjoyed this workshop so much that I have already booked myself onto another one: next time, cyanotypes (again) and Van Dyke printing.

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