About Alternative Process Prints


I am proud to offer a selection of alternative process prints.

During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, I lost access to a darkroom.  I began researching different methods that I could use to produce analog prints.  I first tried cyanotype.  Cyanotype is a process that was invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel.  He coated paper with iron salts and exposed his paper to sunlight.  This resulted in an image that was blue and white.  You might remember making your own "sun prints" as a child, or you may recall having seen a blueprint.  Both are cyanotypes.  I discovered that by bleaching and toning my cyanotypes, I could achieve a color that was very close to a standard silver gelatin print.

Pleased with the results I could achieve with cyanotype, I started experimenting with other alternative processes, including gum bichromate, lumen prints, and Van Dyke brown.  Each of these processes produce a print with unique characteristics.

Alternative process prints are, by their very nature, one-of-a-kind.  While it is certainly possible to produce more than one print from the same negative, the two prints will not be identical.  These alternative processes involve hand coating paper with the appropriate emulsion, developing the print, and toning the print.  At each point, there are inconsistencies from print to print.  Because these are totally analog processes, the only way to show one of these prints on a computer screen is to scan it.  While scanning can closely approximate the color and tone of an alternative process print, it cannot adequately display the texture of the paper.

Alternative process prints are also rarely perfect.  There can be paper staining and inconsistencies in the emulsion, tone and color.  Rather than being thought of as defects, these inconsistencies are part of the charm and value of an alternative process print.  As with my limited edition prints, alternative process prints are personally created by me on archival papers, and each print is hand signed on the reverse.

Click here to view the available alternative process prints.