We got experimental in the lab this weekend during our Mordançage workshop with Jace Becker! This free-form, intuitive process process physically lifts the darkest parts of a silver gelatin emulsion, forming delicate veils. The veils can be manipulated or removed, allowing for endless creative opportunities. Our participants played around with a variety of techniques, achieving one-of-a-kind results with each print.
Jace demonstrated processing silver gelatin prints in mordançage solution, water rinsing baths, and developer. The mordançage chemistry bleaches the prints as it’s lifting the emulsion, requiring the print to be re-developed to bring back the image.
After the print has been washed, the lifted gelatin emulsion can be manipulated to add visual interest, motion, or abstract shapes to the image. We used cotton balls, hypodermic needles filled with water, compressed air, and hairdryers to place the veils exactly where we wanted them to go.
This print is slowly being re-developed – the tan parts of the print were originally black!
Cesar Laure had some interesting results with this half-mordançaged photogram – the altered portion of the print is on the right.
Beautiful print by Susan Berger
Prints by Suzanne Fallender displaying a range of different colors achieved by placing developing prints out in the sunlight.
We can’t wait to see what our students make with this process!
, black and white
, alternative processes
, silver gelatin
, bleach etch
, emulsion lift
, jace becker
, darkroom workshop
, historic processes
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This course provides a hands-on introduction to the fascinating 19th century bleach/etch process of Mordançage. Each student will be instructed concerning the history, process, and various techniques in which to produce engaging imagery within the medium. Mordançage produces wonderfully evocative imagery, and the possibilities for experimentation are nearly endless. The knowledge and skills acquired in this class will equip you in the development of self-expression and provide an opportunity for intuitive applications in your own artistic practice. All students must be prepared to experiment, be creative, but most importantly to have fun!
The course is intended for intermediate to advanced photographers only, as each student must possess a foundation in the fundamentals of gelatin silver darkroom printing techniques prior to enrollment. If you are new to darkroom printing or would like a refresher course, check out our 1-on-1 Tutorials.
Though there will be time to make new prints during the workshop, students will benefit from bringing at least 20 finished gelatin silver prints and a large range of negatives to experiment with this process. More details will be provided upon registration.
Mordançage is a mystifyingly beautiful method of altering gelatin silver prints or negatives with endless opportunities for experimentation and creative application. Mordançage chemistry physically lifts the darkest parts of the photographic emulsion from the rest of the image, allowing it to be manipulated into veils or removed completely. This rare 19th century process was largely forgotten, but fortunately was revived by 20th and 21st century practitioners Jean-Pierre Sudre and Elizabeth Opalenik. Try it yourself and prepare to be amazed at the possibilities this process will introduce to your artistic practice!
Jace Becker earned degrees in photography and anthropology from Montana State University, and is currently a 3rd year MFA candidate in Photography at Arizona State. His work focuses on the cultural landscape, specifically social and self-exploration, issues of identity, vulnerability, and the darker sides of introspection. His area of emphasis is in alternative processes. When he is not hiding from the Arizona sun in his darkroom, he is an avid rock climber, surfer, and lover of sailing.
Join us Friday, September 29 for an Artist Lecture with Phoenix-based artist Jace Becker! Jace will speak about his growth as an artist and how his artistic journey led him to the process of Mordançage, as well as the history of the process and others who have contributed to its evolution. This lecture is free and open to the public.
To try Mordançage for yourself, sign up for our Mordançage Workshop with Jace Becker on Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8! Click here for more details and to register.
Jace earned degrees in photography and anthropology from Montana State University, and is currently a 3rd year MFA candidate in Photography at Arizona State. His work focuses on the cultural landscape, specifically social and self-exploration, issues of identity, vulnerability, and the darker sides of introspection. His area of emphasis is in alternative processes. When he is not hiding from the Arizona sun in his darkroom, he is an avid rock climber, surfer, and lover of sailing.
God’s Vengeance Falls Like Mist, Jace Becker