Please join us for the opening night, Wednesday 28th June 2017
ABOUT THE PROCESSES: Since the first days of photography there have been alternatives to silver for print-making. In 1842 Sir John Herschel discovered that light-sensitive salts of iron could be used to make prints in the pigment Prussian blue (cyanotype), or the precious metals: gold (chrysotype), silver (argentotype), and mercury (celaenotype). In 1873 William Willis extended this list to platinotype and in 1917 to palladiotype. These iron-based printing methods are known collectively as siderotypes, from the Greek for iron: sideros. Fine paper is hand-coated with the chemicals and exposed to an ultra-violet lamp in contact with a large negative. Print colour may be chosen to suit the artist’s expressive intention for the image. These examples have been selected from various sets of Mike Ware’s work to illustrate the range and characteristics of his updated siderotype processes.
ABOUT DR. MIKE WARE: Following an academic career in chemistry, Mike has been independently committed since 1992 to studying the history, science, and art of ‘alternative’ photographic processes, especially siderotypes – those based on iron photochemistry. He has supervised postgraduate research in photograph conservation, and acts as a consultant to major museums. He exhibits his personal photographic work, and conducts workshops, worldwide. His research has appeared in over 50 publications in both the popular and academic literature, including four books. http://www.mikeware.co.uk
I am very excited to be presenting this body of work and I have been lucky enough to learn a few of the above processes from Mike many years ago. Mike has always been a hero of mine, ever since I downloaded and printed of my first ever web page back in the 1990’s. It was a page detailing the Cyanotype process, totally free of charge and fully up to date with modern chemistry. It is this spirit of freely passing on knowledge, which Mike has continued to maintain, that historical processes will flourish into our modern era. I just wish Mike could join us for the opening night drinks, but alas it a long trip to make from the UK. I do believe he was fond of Australian Red wines…
What an exhibition! I must say this this was one the finest examples of photographic printmaking I seen in many, many years. There is a diverse range of techniques on display, from Salt prints to Gravure, Platinum to Cyanotype, each process crafted with care and precision.
I recently asked Wendy a few questions about her upcoming exhibition at Blanco Negro (18th October 2018, 6pm – 8pm). Please read below to view the answers.
Q1 How long did this exhibition take to finish.
About one year.
Q2 What were the steps involved? From negative to print.
I make large negatives using Photoshop and print out onto Folex inkjet Reprojet clear film (bit like overhead transparency film). Chrysotype process is another contact printing process ie. the negative is the same size as the finished image.
Chrysotype was first invented by Sir John Herschel in 1850’s, and 150 years later Dr. Mike Ware, a British chemist, spent a decade researching and refining this process.
I use Bergger watercolour paper for all my images, as it’s acid free, and totally archival.
Chrysotype uses 3 chemicals – gold chloride, ferric ammonium oxalate and liguand which combines all the chemicals together. After mixing the chemicals, I use a glass rod to spread the chemicals across the paper and then leave it to dry. I use a hairdryer for 5 – 10 mins to thoroughly dry the paper. This is an essential part of the process.
I place the negative in contact with the sensitized paper and expose in a vacuum UV lightbox for just over a minute.
After removing the negative, the paper is held over a hot water bath. The paper immediately absorbs the water vapours which affects the resulting colours.
The image is then put into a tray of citric acid & water, followed by further chemical baths and finally washed for 40 mins to an hour. The resulting colours vary from mushroom pinks to slatey blues are determined by exposure, temperature of the water vapour, developer and the humidity and temperature in the room. A tricky but beautiful process.
Q3 Did you make these prints in a home darkroom or elsewhere?
I made the prints in a friends darkroom
Q4 How did you learn this process, self taught or from a tutor?
I was fortunate enough to attend Dr. Mike Ware’s Chrysotype workshop when he was out in Australia at Ellie Young’s Gold Street Studios at Trentham East. Also, did a refresher course a year or so later with Ellie.
Q5 Why did you choose this process for the exhibition?
I work with many alternative photographic processes, but I feel that the soft pinks and slatey blues of the Chrysotype process really portray the femininity of the objects in this exhibition.
Thank you Wendy for these insights. I am looking forward to seeing you at the opening
Twenty prints by twenty Australian photographers from the Blanco Negro Archive.
Photography has been my passion and obsession for over 27 years now. But the appreciation of the fine print or exceptional images has taken years of experience to be appreciated. My first ever purchase of a hand made photographic print was back in 1998, a Polaroid transfer. Yes, my first ever purchase was a Colour photograph!
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to print for some of Australia’s finest film photographers as well as some non professionals with a unique eye and style. I can appreciate the dramatic as well as the artist, but every print always leaves me with a sense of well being. Knowing I can gaze upon there beauty at anytime does not make them commonplace, it’s the opposite in fact. I can look upon a print I have hung on a wall for a decade and notice something new, a detail never noticed or a shade of tone yet to be appreciated. I feel very lucky to own this indulgence. The common thread for all my prints is that they have been exceptionally printed.
With thanks to fine art collectors who have passed on their knowledge and the teachers who have educated me in the historical print techniques, I have come to understand certain nuances that each process possesses. I have always believed that to learn a new printing process now you must own a reference print – a fine example of the process that becomes embedded in the psyche. When we are all alone in the darkroom we can call up our memory for guidance, as a reference and comparison. To make sure the print is worth the effort and that the attributes of a fine print are obvious.
Just because a print is made by hand does not give it the right to hang on a wall. If only printmakers today were as conscientious as printmakers in the past – when only the best was acceptable. But when the prints are fine, then I’ll buy their work to add to my collection…
Southern Exposure Exhibition now showing.
LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHERS:
We work with some amazing artists and professionals at Blanco Negro and we want to make sure you get to see their work! There are also some great photographic exhibitions coming up this year that every kind of photographer needs to visit. Check them out below:
Kenzee Patterson works with a variety of media and technologies to make his sculptures and prints. Sometimes using found objects to creating something completely new, such as the cast silver sculpture (pictured above) made from reclaimed photographic fix. A Constant Negative is a mix of installation, photographic print and video, creating a space that is intriguing and abstract, questioning our perception of colour and space.
These intimate portraits of creatures of the natural world invite the viewer to see what is often unobserved. Delicate, fragile, caught in a fleeting moment of Ellie’s shutter, they achieve immortality in the permanence of the colour carbon photograph. Ellie chose this process for the surface relief making the wing structures appear sculptural.
Originally from Dublin and now based in Sydney,Anne Lynam’sgritty, B&W photographs appear to come from a different time, like a film noir movie still – completely set up and strangley perfect. Lynam takes this idea further – her work in Arcana is dreamlike, a dusty memory that plays with what is real and what is shadow.
Curated by Dianne Longley, each artist explores the zen nature of encaustic. The photographs have warm and softened beeswax (with damar resin) worked across the surface to create a beautiful translucence. The encaustic surface creates a compelling and mysterious aura through which the individual works resonate. Featuring Ollie Cool, Michelle Culprit, Jenny Hoffman, Aileen Hubbard, Dianne Longley, Christine Owen, Annette Potter Anne Richardson and Annette Soumilas.
Arbus is known for her iconic postwar America portraits and the NGA will be showing 36 rare vintage prints bought in 1980 and 1981 from her estate. The prints are shown alongside photographs by other artists who also sought to redefine the tradition of portraiture, and whose vision of America is also both challenging and moving.
If you make it to ACT you should definitely catch Tough & Tender while your at it. Featuring the Photographs of Warwick Baker, Larry Clark, Rozalind Drummond, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe and Collier Schorr, the exhibition presents the complex representations of gender, masculinity and identity.
On Friday 1st April, Bob Kersey will be selling his exclusive Artist Proof prints at Blanco Negro to raise money for an exhibition in the US.
A fusion of the landscape and still life, Landshapes suggests the geometry of the natural world resolves to imply a metaphysical message, accessing a vision a step beyond the mundane.
They will be also be available for limited viewing on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April. Help support an great artist by joining us for this special exhibition.
As suggested in the title LANDSHAPES the work is, either specifically or loosely, a fusion of the landscape genre and still life. The intention in shaping such a fusion of ideas and form is to provide a creative vehicle to express current concerns and emotions along with a more penetrative view point. The use of smaller, more spontaneous cameras has allowed for the freedom to realise these aims.
As the title also suggests, the geometry of the natural world resolves to imply a metaphysical message and accesses a vision a step beyond the mundane. I feel it is right for me now to disdain objectivity and work from pure instinct. The photograph is about nothing except itself and whatever it may or may not be connected to… In a nutshell, no longer am I reporting the truth. Now I am making it up. A much more honest approach I feel.
Form of the picture
Beginning with image capture: as stated, small cameras have been used in order to “get through”. Small formats, unlike large format contact photographs of which detail is paramount, tend to combine with film grain to produce larger “brush strokes”. It is a simple choice between delicacy and presence. The abstractions implied in LANDSHAPES are best served by a more emphatic presence.
Formats used are 35mm, medium and 4×5. Films are Delta 100, FP4 and Tri X developed in XTOL and D76. This is the classic film “look” and is an integral part of the creative process.
Because the end product is a platinum palladium print, the next set of steps need to be planned to perfection.
The critical intermediate stage is the scanning of the negative and production of a digital file. There can be no alternative to this step. Modern day scanners and “editing” software is simply unbeatable. And there is no quality loss at all. However, the next stage, during which the enlarged platinum negative is made, needs to be considered carefully.
Having taken pains to produce a gorgeous FP4 in XTOL sky, I don’t wish to wash it all away. This would happen if I were to print out a digital negative off an ink jet printer. The pixilation would wash it clean. No amount of iron and platinum in the final print would protect it from that “homogenised” look. Why, therefore would you go to the trouble of using film in the first place?
No, it is necessary to get back to film immediately to maintain the film “look”. ADAA. The “D” is the best use and only use of the digital medium.
The file made then writes to a film recorder which produces an enlarged negative, corrected, spotted and balanced for the platinum palladium scale.
Approximately 9×13 inch image dimensions are printed onto 11×15 inch Revere Platinum cotton rag. The formulae, which is mainly palladium is carefully worked out for compatibility with both the Duraclear negative and the paper of choice. Using a special coating technique, each print is given 3 coats of sensitiser before exposure to ultraviolet light and developed in warm potassium oxalate before being cleared for archival longevity.
The set contains 15 images approximately 9×13 inches Palladium on cotton rag.
Submission to Photo Independent, Hollywood LA, opening April 29 2016 has been successful.
I will be carrying with me an edition of 2 of each image, to be matted and framed in the USA,
Having made the edition for Photo Independent I have decided to release the single artist proof of each image at a substantially reduced price as means to assist in the financing of this project.
Each print designated AP is perfect, mistake free, blemish free. It is simply the print I arrived at in order to serve as a template for the edition. It contains only the natural variations typically seen in any hand made process. The prices for the Photo Independent exhibition will be listed as US$. Prices for the sale of artist proofs will be approximately half the US prices however in A$.
I am hoping that by releasing the work here in Australia at Blanco Negro I am equally serving the local collecting community and also myself, so that I may benefit from the opportunity to exhibit LANDSHAPES in the USA.
Bob Kersey is an Australian filmmaker, publisher, photographer and artist. Kersey produces images in platinum palladium; images that are distributed Australia wide and worldwide. Since re-emerging as a photographer in the early nineties, having spent the previous three decades in motion picture production, Bob Kersey has produced an archive of photographs covering many genres.
Always at the forefront of innovation, he is currently developing the Light Path method of making enlarged negatives for historic process printing.
Bob Kersey is publisher and editor of Australian Photography and Gallery Compendium and Photo Compendium Australia. Kersey is director of Black Mountain Photographic Workshops and Black Mountain Platinum Atelier.
Her lives with wife and partner, Mary Meyer, in the Great Dividing Range. With the kangaroos.
Drape considers the forms that emerge from the folds, twists and creases in drapery. Rhythmic lines, geometric shapes and shadows hint at a presence within. Sensuality, drama, and quiet disposition are characteristics that emanate from different configurations.
Drapery can insist on revealing its own ‘character’ and oppose efforts to change or alter its form for another purpose. Challenging this is the use of drapery throughout art history as a device to signify decoration or movement in a scene. This series of work deliberately introduce objects to the world of the recalcitrant drape to challenge the notion of drape as supplicant. In this context, does the personality inherent in the folds and weaves of the drape diminish, or is it strengthened?
The hand made photographs in this series have been captured on 8×10 and 4×5 inch Ilford FP4 B&W film and contact printed onto Bergger COT-320 100% cotton paper using the New Chrysotype and Salt printing processes.
The Salt Print and New Chrysotype are printing-out processes where the image appears as it is exposed to ultraviolet light. Images are produced via a contact print, where the film negative is placed in direct contact with coated paper before exposure. The image produced is therefore the size of the negative.
The long tonal range and delicate monochromatic colours afforded by the combination of film and these photographic printing processes serve to ‘animate’ the forms and characteristics within the drapery.
Leanne will be opening the exhibition with a floor talk on her photographic processes. As a previous student of the legendary Dr Mike Ward, the talk will be very interesting indeed!
Space strictly limited. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone who made it to the opening on Wednesday night 27th January.
InPrint-Is presented some beautiful work by Adam Finkleston, Amy Parrish, Angela Franks-Wells, Bill Moseley, Jodie Hooker, Priscilla Smith, Margarita Skiadas, Robyn Davis and Wendy Currie. The exhibition also debuted an accompanying book publication which is available through Amazon. Click here for more details.
This collection of prints spans over a century and a half of photographic practice. Ambrotypes with a blend of inkjet, handmade Chromogenic prints and the beautiful Chrystotype process; printing with gold salts onto hand coated paper.
The exhibition will be open to the public this Sunday 11:30am – 3:00pm, and every Saturday and Sunday until February 27th. There will be limited viewing times during business hours. Please call ahead of time to make sure someone is present on (02) 9698 4552.
Please join us for the opening night of ‘The Printer’s Print: A Decent Exposure’
Working in the darkroom can be a lonely or solitary experience, with the finished product often being stored away without being seen by the wider world.
People are frequently surprised by what we do, and think that traditional methods of printing no longer exist or aren’t relevant but we know that there are many of you out there printing away in your bathrooms or laundries so this exhibition has been curated to showcase your prints; the prints you are most proud of.
We have chosen twenty or so photographs from the images you submitted so please come along to enjoy them and be inspired, to learn from each other and to celebrate the creative beauty of the hand crafted print.
R.S.V.P. as space is very limited.
Many thanks to our sponsor Stonehurst Wines who produce a wide range of fine quality wines.
WE WILL BE ON HOLIDAYS FROM MONDAY THE 27th OF JULY!
and will be back in the lab on Monday the 10th of August.
FINAL CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!
For all you printers who have yet to get your entries in for ‘The Printer’s Print: A Decent Exposure’, please send us an email with your submission ASAP as we must receive all physical prints by no later than Wednesday the 15th of July.
The Print Exposed is a unique exhibition aimed at encouraging the understanding, and appreciation for alternative/ historic photographic print processes. Print methods featured in this exhibition signify that photography has been identified as much with the arts as the sciences. It brings alive the age old argument – where does science end and art begin. Regardless of the answer- the technical expertise displayed in these images bring a wonderful mix of beauty and intrigue created from the art, craft and science of photography.
R.S.V.P. please as space is very limited
Blanco Negro is also happy to announce we now have a fine wine sponsor.Stonehurst Wines located in the Lower Hunter Valley produce a wide range of fine quality wines. So a big thank you to Daryl, Phillipa & Fred!
And last but not least, thank you once again to Ellie & Alan Young at Gold Street Studios who assistance makes this exhibition a possibility.