We have finally chosen the main focuses of our research project. In photography and printmaking there are quite a few fine printing processes that we may call “alternative”. For the time being, we are able to concentrate on just a few of them. Here is our assortment for now:

1. Digital transparencies

We will try to work out the best methods suiting our needs for making digital transparencies to use for exposing light sensitive materials. Our intention is to tweak different processes work for us by tuning the tone ranges of the transparencies, so that we could end up with an accurate, predictable print tone scale.

2. Manipulating commercial materials

We thought for those who have done photographic darkroom work before, an option to start alternative printing would be to manipulate the standard b&w printing papers in a number of non-standard ways. Here we were thinking of techniques like Lith printing, Lumen-printing, and perhaps Mordancage, etc …

3. Hand-sensitized printing papers

Processes like Liquid silver emulsion, Cyanotype, Vandyke brown, and Salted paper are all classic alternative photographic processes. They are relatively easy to start with, yet offering challenges to master the techniques.

4. Papers and pigments (printing inks)

Bromoil and Gumoil printing techniques offer means to replace the silver image of a photographic print (or tones in a hand-sensitized print) with an ink image. In the Gum bichromate printing process the image is formed by mixture of gum arabic, hardened with exposure to uv-light, and pigment.

5. Intaglio methods

A transparent film is made of a photograph (or other continuous tone image). Sensitized plate material (polymer or copper) is then exposed in contact with the film with strong uv-light. So-called aquatint screen is also added; this will help to keep printing ink on the plate and make a dot structure to simulate continuous tones in the print. The plate and a printing paper are run through a printing press that transfers the ink to the paper.

6. Unique methods

Here we have methods like Monoprinting and Chine-collé, which do not necessarily produce identical results each time when printed.

7. Papermaking

Becoming acquainted with papers of different qualities, and making one’s own pulp to use for printing papers.

8. Combination techniques

Combining different printing techniques… this will offer great possibilities to individual applications, experimenting and innovations.