A couple of weeks ago, Art Intersection hosted a Wet Plate Collodion Tintype Workshop and Open Studio! Students were led by David Emitt Adams and assisted by Claire A. Warden, both experts in this captivating 19th century process. Wet plate collodion was among the first widely-used photographic processes, used predominantly during the Civil War era. The nature of the process requires that collodion be hand-poured on a blackened metal plate, sensitized with silver nitrate, and exposed, then back into developing and fixing baths before the coating dries – hence the process’s name. During the workshop, students got individualized help with their coating, exposure, and processing. The following day, artists attended the open studio for a chance to try the process on their own; David and Claire were on hand to help as needed.
For a proper exposure, wet plate collodion requires either very bright light or a long exposure. David has rigged a special chair designed to help portrait sitters keep very still during the exposure time of 6-8 seconds, much like the chairs and props 19th century photographers used.
The following weekend, David and Claire returned to take wet plate collodion studio portraits! Couples, families, and individuals made appointments to have their picture taken, 19th-century-style.
This past Saturday, October 31 we were honored to have California artist Ryuijie teach the art of platinum/palladium printing to 11 members of the Art Intersection community. This 19th century process has long been revered for its tonal depth and archival qualities. Ryuijie demonstrated two different printing styles – the ABC and Na2 methods, both of which he uses in his artistic practice. Participants mixed their chemistry, hand-coated fine art paper, let it dry, and exposed their paper using a digital negative and UV light. It was inspiring to see the workshop participants quickly pick up a new technique which might have a lasting place in their artistic skill set! With a little experimenting and practice, the students used this luminous process to make some beautiful work.
Mario Sanchez holds up his freshly hand-coated paper
Jeff Welker coats his paper
Participants process their prints in developing and clearing baths
BK Skaggs assesses the exposure of his print
Finished platinum/palladium prints drying
Participants discuss their results at the end of the day
Last night, three ImageWorks photographers and about thirty guests joined us in the Photo Arts Lab to hear about their prints and the experiences of making these prints. All of the presented prints were originally captured on film using large format cameras.
Juan, Chris, and Brian of ImageWorks answered questions and explained their process of seeing, capturing, and then printing their beautiful images.
This is the first of a series of print sharing evenings. Join us in November for the next installment of Print Sharing at Art Intersection.
This past weekend of September 12 and 13 Art Intersection was bursting with color! Tri-color gum bichromate, that is. We had the great pleasure of hosting a two-day, immersive workshop in the process taught by Diana Bloomfield, a master gum printer especially known for her tri-color technique. Ten participants learned about this fascinating 19th-century process that includes mixing together gum arabic, potassium dichromate, and watercolor pigments, then hand-coating that mixture on paper, exposing their paper under a digital negative in UV light, and washing out the print in water to “develop” it.
Diana Bloomfield explains her technique for mixing the gum emulsion on Day 1.
Workshop participants look on as Diana coats a sheet of paper with the light-sensitive gum mixture she’s made.
Any color watercolor pigment can be used, but this tri-color process involves making three separate coating and exposure runs with cyan, magenta, and yellow pigments individually to get a full-color final print.
Armed with coffee, the participants listen as Diana explains the basics of color balancing for a natural-looking print at the start of Day 2. If a print does not initially look correct, more passes with various colors can be made to balance it.
In order for the image to remain sharp, the negative being used must be placed in exactly the same spot for every layer. Michael Puff carefully registers his negative to exactly match the previous layers he’s created.
Chris Palmer rinses out his print after exposing it to UV light. During the exposure, the areas of the gum emulsion blocked by the dark areas of the negative wash away in the water, creating highlights. Those underneath the light areas of the negative solidify and adhere to the paper, creating shadows.
BK Skaggs, Shari Trennert, and Maylee Noah rinse their prints while others hang to dry. These prints show the first pass with the cyan layer.
At the end of the workshop, all the participants show the results of their hard work by putting their favorite prints up on the critique board. Diana gives the class constructive feedback on their printing.
Finished prints by Maylee Noah showing one-color, two-color, and tri-color prints.
What a great summer for photography! In June and July high school students escaped the heat and came to Art Intersection to learn the basics of photography, expand their skills, and build portfolios. Each week teens from all over the valley worked with Art Intersection staff and volunteers to create finished works of art.
During the Exploring Photography camp, teens were introduced to the foundational elements of photography. Students experienced a hands-on approach to learning several different methods of image capture and printing using both digital and analog photographic practices.
The Advanced Photography students explored a wide variety of specialized techniques such as large format photography, gelatin silver print toning, stop-motion animation, and lumen printing. By the end of the week these teens were armed with an arsenal of new media to expand their photographic repertoire.
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On Sunday, April 26, the Arizona Railway Museum open the gates for pinhole photographers to make images for worldwide pinhole day. About 10 photographers took advantage of the cool weather and access to many of the train cars on exhibit at the museum.
Images were captured on a variety of media, from 35mm to 4×5 to 5×7 film, digital, and paper negatives. Another great Arizona day to make unique pinhole images. Be sure to visit the Worldwide Pinhole Photography website and the Art Intersection Gallery for more information and to visit their galleries of images.
Taken with a Deardorff 4×5 View camera and a .3mm pinhole at the Arizona Railway Park in Chandler, Arizona.” “This is the first of 12 photos taken by a 60 year old Deardorff once owned by Cole Weston. A .3mm pinhole was fitted to a standard lensboard and a simple hinged shutter installed on the front.” Copyright 2015 Robert Rice All rights reserved.
“Image was captured at the Arizona Railway Museum”. “I used 5×7 pinhole @ F-325 for 2.5 minutes to capture this image.” Copyright 2015 C. Burns All rights reserved.
“The engine that could.” “Taken with pinhole on lens cap with digital camera of steam locomotive.” Copyright 2015 Bob Estrin All rights reserved.
Bob Estrin shooting his pinhole DSLR
Christopher Burns with the happiest pinhole camera we’ve ever seen!
Deardorff 4×5 pinhole camera, with homemade shutter, once owned by Cole Weston, now owned by Bob Rice.
Shari Trennert was shooting paper negatives with her beautiful homemade ceramic pinhole camera!
Brett and Christopher with their pinhole cameras.
Images by Gina DeGideo unless otherwise noted.
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Local Photographer Travels to Romania, Lives Daily Life of Peasant Ancestors
For 25 years, local photographer Emily Matyas captured the Mexican spirit and heritage on film while living in Sonora, Mexico. In October, she decided it was time to catalogue her own heritage, a journey that would take her to the distant peasant villages of Romania.
Image “Morning in the Beautiful Room” by Emily Matyas
For Tempe photographer Emily Matyas, her deceased father’s Romanian heritage was always a mystery, a missing piece in the puzzle of her sense of self. In Oct. 2013, she decided it was time to fill in the blanks.
With friend and fellow photographer Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin, an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Emily made her way to the Romanian village of Sarbi, where she would spend 10 days taking self-portraits as she lived the life of her peasant ancestors — wearing the traditional garb, helping with the exhausting chores, and interacting with the locals.
“I decided to photograph myself as if I were my grandmother, as if I had lived there all my life,” Emily said. “You can hear all the stories you want about your relatives, but when you actually go and experience their lives, it is a totally different level of understanding.”
Though Emily admits she often felt like a fish out of water living in a village of outhouses, haystacks and ancient customs, she said the trip helped her understand her identity more fully.
“This experience had to do with belonging,” said Matyas. “I had to find out where I belonged and this trip made me feel complete. If people have questions about their heritage or identity, then these photos may represent a way to find what they are looking for.”
People will have the chance to view Emily’s photographs, along with seven other up-and-coming photographers, during “Home Bound,” an art exhibition Jan. 17 to Feb. 28 at Gilbert’s Art Intersection (207 North Gilbert Road, Suite 201, Gilbert).
“The exhibition looks at the main differences of perspective on what we think of as home,” said “Home Bound” Curator Carol Panaro-Smith. “The work is full of beauty, but also makes us think about our home, experience and heritage.”
Other photographers featured will include LA-based artist Kristin Bedford, whose images of the “Father Divine” religious sect were recently featured in the New York Times, and Daniel Coburn, a Kansas-based photographer whose first book “The Hereditary Estate” is due for release April 14.
“People are bound to home, for better or for worse,” said Matyas. “I would hope that the viewers can take away different meanings of home that support and guide them in their lives.”
Ambrotype images, a collodion process on glass, have a unique and beautiful aesthetics that makes this a very exciting in-camera, alternative photographic process.
Claire A. Warden led us through the history and technology of this process during a 3-day workshop that began with a lecture and ended with an open studio where the workshop students created their own Ambrotypes.