Our Introduction to Hand-Bookbinding for Photographers with Jace Graf was a stitch! Over the course of two days, each of our fourteen participants made a hand-sewn, multiple signature book and a tri-fold portfolio case for prints or documents. Instructor Jace Graf of Cloverleaf Studio in Austin, Tx led the class through the glueing, cutting, sewing, and folding, all while giving expert advice on how to design their own handmade books in the future. We look forward to seeing what our participants make with this hand-crafted approach to self-publishing!
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During our Daguerreotype Workshop with Jerry Spagnoli our participants got to try their hand at the first photographic process!
Daguerreotype is a means of making a photograph that involves sensitizing a highly polished silver plate with iodine vapors, exposing it in a large-format camera, developing and fixing the image, and applying a gilded coating to preserve the plate. Our participants performed all these steps assisted by their instructor. Spagnoli explained the various chemical reactions that took place throughout the process, leading to a better understanding of how light-sensitive materials operate. Through learning how to make Daguerreotypes, our workshop participants gained a historical perspective of how early photographs were made and brought that knowledge into the 21st century by making contemporary images.
Polishing the plate – we broke out the power tools for this workshop!
Sensitizing the plate
Metering for good exposure
Clearing the plate
Checking the plate in good lighting
Gilding the plate – in lieu of the traditional ring stand, we improvised with an old spring!
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We were so grateful to have Santa Fe-based artist Jennifer Schlesinger here with us two weeks ago to share her beautiful artwork and knowledge of the albumen process!
Jennifer gave a lecture on Friday evening, during which she discussed both her personal history with albumen as well as a brief history of the medium. She also shared unframed prints of hers, allowed each audience member to view first-hand the magic of albumen prints.
By Saturday morning, our Albumen Workshop was in full swing! After a more detailed print-viewing, including the standards for good print quality and common errors, the class got to work making their own batch of albumen.
This simple concoction of egg whites, acetic acid, distilled water and ammonium chloride forms a protein-packed binder that prevents the light-sensitive silver nitrate from soaking into the base paper, as well as providing a unique pearl sheen to the surface of the print. The egg whites must be separated from the yolks and strained several times through cheesecloth, which breaks down the stringy protein structures.
Once combined with the other necessary ingredients, the albumen must be beaten well to further denature the egg whites and ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed. The new albumen mixture must sit for at least two weeks to cure before use and never expires, although the rotten-egg smell that increases as it ages may render it unusable.
The albumen mixture is beaten to “soft peaks”
When the albumen has cured (in our workshop we used a pre-made batch), a flotation method is used to coat it onto paper for printing. Although this coating method requires great delicacy and skill, all of our participants did a wonderful job coating their papers!
Coated sheets left to dry overnight
Class participants Barbara, Shari, and Cesar gather ’round the light table to help Chris select a negative to use
On Sunday, the participants coated their albumen sheets with silver nitrate, again using the floatation method. Once coated with silver nitrate the paper is light-sensitive, so this step and all processing were executed under red safelights. The coated papers dried, and the participants printed in our three UV exposure units through digital negatives of their images that had been produced by Art Intersection prior to the workshop. The exposed sheets were run through a series of processing trays, washed, toned with selenium, and washed again.
Jennifer helps her students assess their exposure times while printing
Jennifer and Tom compare two prints made at different exposures
Participants tone and wash their finished prints
Led by the expert help of Jennifer Schlesinger, our participants made fantastic, handmade prints!
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Last week we held a Portfolio Sharing in the Art Intersection Galleries! Participating in a Portfolio Sharing event is a benefit of all member levels, and we hold about three per year. This pleasant mid-day event was attended by many familiar Art Intersection characters, but we were pleased to welcome some new faces as well. Participating members had the opportunity to share the work they’re currently making, receive feedback from a public audience and answer questions about their art.
Emily Matyas shows prints from her Coming to America series
Fred Ullrich shares contact-sized inkjet prints of his 5×7 landscape and studio work
Cesar Laure shares fascinating images of far-away objects and people amid the clouds
Visitors admire David Emitt Adams’ brand-new piece from his Power series
Brad Armstrong discusses his 8×10 silver gelatin landscapes
Peter Schrager shares the silver gelatin prints he’s made in the Photographic Arts Lab over the past week
It was fun for us to see what everyone’s been up to! Thanks to all that attended. Look out for our next Portfolio Sharing event in March 2017. If you are not currently a member and would like to participate, sign up here.
To celebrate our exhibition of (re)View: Abstract, Land, and the Narrative, we hosted a Walk and Talk in the Galleries with Philip V. Augustin, BK Skaggs, and Melanie Walker. Each of the artists spoke about the inspiration surrounding their artwork, how the exhibited pieces evolved, and the conceptual ideas they are interested in. We were grateful for the opportunity to hear their comments and gain some insight into the work of these three fascinating artists! Special thanks to Philip and Melanie who travelled from New Mexico and Colorado to be with us – we’re glad you could be here!
Following the Walk and Talk was an Artist Reception for both (re)View and Imprint, our sculptural exhibition featuring Alexandra Bowers and Mary Meyer, who both had additional pieces available for our Holiday Sale. Thank you to everyone who came out, enjoyed the artwork, and provided thoughtful conversation!
Philip V. Augustin speaks about his work in (re)View
Philip V. Augustin
(re)View artist Melanie Walker shares some valuable insight to her artistic inspiration
BK Skaggs gives an attentive audience the backstory to his works in (re)View
Wood-burned pieces by Alexandra Bowers for the Imprint Artists’ Holiday Sale
Works by Mary Meyer featured in the Imprint Artists’ Holiday Sale
Jace Graf shows Dan Winters’ book in The Physical Photograph exhibition at Art Intersection
When I flip through Kate Breakey’s Las Sombras photobook, I am reminded of the beautiful and glowing photograms I encountered on my first day interning at Art Intersection. I remember being fascinated with the pieces as we laid out Breakey’s massive installation of life-size prints of desert animals, exhibited in ornate vintage frames. The work was so striking and amazing that I fell in love with it right away. As a young collector, I couldn’t buy one of her original pieces, but I was thrilled to find her book of the series just a few years later in the MOPA bookstore in San Diego. It’s my favorite photobook I own and a way to now appreciate that entire body of work anytime I want.
Books often become special objects that are phenomenal works of art, while also engaging the viewer with something more tangible. Touching the pages, flipping each sheet to pace viewing, seeing the ink on paper, all of these things create an intimate experience completely unique from looking at framed prints on a gallery wall or zipping through digital files on a screen.
Book of Palladium prints by Kelsey Vance from Home Bound exhibition at Art Intersection
This year during PhotoTapas Day at Art Intersection, I had the pleasure of moderating the Photobooks After Funding Panel Discussion with artists and book designers in an open forum about why we make art books to share and express our work. Artist William W. Fuller shared his entire process of crowdfunding, designing, and publishing his first monograph The City. Through discussions, education, and the Photographic Arts Lab, Art Intersection serves to provide resources for print-on-demand publishing, handmade art books, and traditional publishing.
Whether an artist, collector, or admirer of work, art books can be appreciated as an alternative to standard ways of collecting, exhibiting, and sharing images. In the New Year we will be offering more opportunities at Art Intersection to engage with the bookmaking medium and I am excited to begin creating my own photography book of my current work!
Late last month we had the pleasure of hosting a Platinum/Palladium workshop in our Photographic Arts Lab led by San Francisco-based artist Michael T. Puff! A master of this luminous, tonally-rich process, Michael led our eleven participants in making gorgeous prints of their own images.
Platinum/Palladium printing, a photographic process invented in the 19th century, has long been a favorite of alternative process photographers for its highly archival nature and infinite variations of gray tones as highlights shift to shadows. In the process Michael uses, ferric oxalate, palladium, and sodium chloroplatinate are mixed together, hand-brushed onto 100% cotton rag paper, exposed to UV light through a digital negative, and then processed with potassium oxalate and sodium thiosulfate. The end result is a handcrafted print that is estimated to retain its appearance for a thousand years!
Thank you to all of our wonderful participants, and of course to Michael for traveling to us to share his expertise!
Michael instructs the class on mixing the chemicals and coating their paper
The participants mark where the image portion of their digital negatives will be centered on their paper
After exposing a coated piece of paper to UV light, Michael demonstrates developing the print
Participants process their exposed prints
Cyd looks at the class’s finished work at the end of the day
Gorgeous work produced by the students pinned up on the critique board
Michael talks about successes and things to work on with the students
Beautiful work by Lloyd Matthews
Luminous prints by Deb Alberty
A delicate, icy print by our very own Business Manager, Debra Wilson!
Have you ever held a platinum print of a beautiful image? It’s amazing how printing in a handmade process turns a that image into an object of art that can be seen by many and handed down to future generations. I first experienced this excitement many years ago when I held in my own hands a 1934 platinum print hand-printed by Edward Weston, and I have been hooked ever since.
From the initial concept of Art Intersection through today, I have been determined to design and create a space for learning, creating, and exhibiting physical pieces. I know first-hand how viewing a print brings a more powerful and positive experience to the viewer than seeing a facsimile on the computer or tablet screen.
Digital negatives on our light table
The community of artists working in Art Intersection’s Photographic Arts Lab have access to three centuries of imaging technologies from darkroom to digital, including the new use of digital negatives to take our digital files from the phone or DSLR into the darkroom to create gelatin silver, platinum, cyanotype, tintype, or photogravure prints. I’m excited we can provide all the toolsto create contemporary work in almost any current or historical process.
News flash, we’ve added a new tool in the Photographic Arts Lab to bridge past centuries of photography (we build bridges, not walls). Last week an M.M. Kelton and Sons 1870 intaglio press arrived in the lab to create photogravure prints! See a press just like ours in action here.
Michael T. Puff discusses finished prints
If you are excited to make a print from your digital or film image, come by and see what’s available to help you realize your vision. Watching people create prints at Art Intersection allows me to continue enjoying, seeing, and maybe holding, beautiful prints from our image making community (eat your heart out Edward Weston).