The Alternative Processes

I became interested in “Alternative” photography pretty early on in my photographic journey. I began with manipulating glossy photo kiosk prints, soaking them in water and scratching patterns in the emulsion. Some of my prints soaked in warm aquarium water for weeks as the emulsion slowly peeled away, revealing layers of color and form. When I began using a computer and discovered the wonders of Photoshop manipulation, I was finally able to easily and quickly deconstruct my photographs. But the ease and disposability inherent in digital processes began to lose some of its appeal, and I turned back to hands on techniques, discovering Polaroid Transfer and Cyanotype.

Part of my attraction to these alternatives is that I really enjoy the look and feel of many of the processes. The rough and ill-defined edges, the wonderfully extravagant watercolor papers, and the fact that these are one of a kind unrepeatable works of art all appeal to me.

The other part, I think, has to do with the idea that the image never ends. The shutter is pressed and the original negative is made. At this point, the image takes on a life of it’s own; appearing in one form now, and evolving to appear in another form several years later, and possibly even being combined with other photographs to create new and unforeseen works. The fact that a 180 year old printing processes can be used to give new life and direction to modern digital imagery is quite interesting.