Alternative Photo Techniques For The Financially Deprived : LUSENET : B&W Photo: Alternative Process : One Thread

Hello, I am a high school student currently inlisted in an advanced photography class. Our semester final involves researching and experimenting with a photo technique that, as a class, we have not done before. Well, I've been looking for almost two weeks and seems as though we have done a lot of the most inexpensive and interesting processes used on black and white film and prints. So, if anyone could point me into a direction of an abundant resource or had an idea for my parter and I, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

-- Danielle D'Aleo (, April 07, 2001


Alternative processes may be a bit of a misnomer for you--typically, it refers to historical photographic processes that require one to mix one's own emulsions and coat one's own papers. This may be a bit more than you bargained for in a high school photography class (correct me if I'm wrong--salted paper and Vandyke brown are both relatively simple processes, and kits are available from Photographer's Formulary and Bostick & Sullivan.

Have you considered pinhole photography? There are abundant resources on the web about how to make pinhole cameras. They are relatively simple to make, and you can use regular photographic paper instead of film and still get pretty decent prints.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, April 07, 2001.

You might want to try your hand at the Gum-bichromate process.
Full details are beyond the scope of this BB, but it basically consists of coating some ordinary art paper with Gum Arabic, and 'sensitizing' it with potassium bichromate. The mixture becomes insoluble in proportion to its (lengthy) exposure to light, and can then be 'developed' in plain warm water.
Good for contact printing, photograms, etchings on copper plate, etc.
Just look up 'Gum-Bichromate' in a dictionary of photography.

-- Pete Andrews (, April 09, 2001.

Cyanotypes (blue prints) are easy to do, and it is a developing out process. Again, the source for the obscure photographic chemicals is Photographer's Formulary.

-- Joe Lipka (, April 09, 2001.

"Our semester final involves researching and experimenting with a photo technique that, as a class, we have not done before."

By this statement, I assume that means any technique is fair game, not just darkroom processes.

If so, I might look at shooting day-for-night on black and white film which is relatively easy to do. Use a #23A medium red filter, plus a #56 green. This combination is used with a filter factor of 6 rather than 20 (which would totally compensate for the filters) giving an automatic 1-1/2 stop under-exposure that is normal for the day-for- night effect.

Or, perhaps you like to shoot color and try the tri-color technique in which a single frame is exposed three times through the three color separation filters (red, green, blue). This gives you "normal colors" in static parts of a scene while anything moving will be exposed so that it shows up as different colors (like moving water) that will be a mixture of RGB or even only a primary - very interesting effect.

-- steve (, April 09, 2001.

There are liquid emulsions (Liquid Light, Cachet Liquid Emulsion ect) and Kallitype printing that are silver based that are relatively inexpensive. Bostick & Sullivan is a goos place to start and also plug in Kallitype Printing into your web browser and do a search. There is a good deal of info out there! Cheers, Scott

-- Scott Walton (, April 13, 2001.

I think youd be hard pressed to beat (no pun intended) this one for cost, but it takes time and practice and a BIG negative.

-- Sean yates (, April 14, 2001.

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