A few years ago I remember I was scrolling through Instagram when something caught my eye. It was seemingly a video of a black and white paper negative being rocked in a tray of chemicals in broad daylight. Within seconds, the monochrome negative turned to a full-colour positive image before my eyes. I was astonished and set about discovering how this magic trick was done. I had discovered the strange world of RA4 reversal.
Many moons ago I was keen to try my hand with large format, as large as I could manage, 10 x 8 seeming a good choice. You can tell how long ago from my pinhole shot of the Humber Bridge in the UK which shows it under construction some 50 years ago! Since large format film was way beyond my means at the time I thought I would try enlarging paper to produce paper negatives which I would then contact print onto more enlarging paper to produce a positive image, just like Fox-Talbot.
I’ve written before about how important it is to me to see and experience my photographs in a printed form of some sort. Whether it’s a darkroom or giclee print, in a photobook or some other physical format, I’m simply not a great fan of looking at photographs (mine at least) on a screen.
A few years ago, I went to the Royal Academy Summer Show in London, something I now try and do every year, and was completely taken aback by a printing technique I’d never even heard of – polymer photogravure (or photopolymer gravure as it’s sometimes called).
Early last year I began making Bromoil prints, and I cannot recall why.
Many a time I’ve scoured my brain for any clues. Unsuccessful however (so far)… I can only assume that one fateful day, I was drawn enough to the ‘non-traditional’ qualities of certain alternative printing processes, often described as soft and painterly, knowing full well I cannot draw or paint for the life of me… but no matter, that is a trivia for another day.
I can say however that after countless hours, I’ve fortunately been successful in performing this method, but at a great cost – it has continually tested my patience that I naturally have very, very little of.
I think the city council and mayor would probably want to kill me if they read the title of this article. To be clear, Reno Nevada at large is not declining. It’s a thriving small city that continues to attract businesses and people as it spreads its mcmansion infused tentacles into the adjoining valleys. While …