Guidebooks for alternative printmaking : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I would like to study a bit about platinum and alternative printmaking processes this year, does anyone know any good reference/guide books for techniques?


-- adrian tyler (, January 01, 2002


Richard Farber's Historic Photographic Processes has been a pretty good reference for me.

A more complete/advanced guide is Christopher James' The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes.

But for Pt/Pd, try Dick Arentz' Platinum and Palladium Printing.

Good luck.

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edi), January 01, 2002.

Hi Adrian...You may find this website interesting... I have read other sights that contain detailed instructions, but they seem to have disappeared into cyberland... -Dave

-- Dave Richhart (, January 01, 2002.

Bostick & Sullivan have a site, and there is a very good book which is out of print but you should be able to find in a library, Keepers of Light, and John Riley's book Albumen and Salted Paper book. Pat

-- pat krentz (, January 01, 2002.

Sarah Van Keuren's "Non-Silver Manual" is excellent. See description at Non-Silver Manual

-- Sandy Sorlien (, January 01, 2002.

There are many used copies of Keepers of Light listed on; it's my favorite general resource on alternative processes. I also agree with the recommendation for Farber's Historic Photographic Processes. My area of expertise is gum bichromate; if you're interested in gum you should see, in addition to the above, David Scopick's gum bichromate book. These books all deal in general principles that can be counted on and adapted to a wide variety of circumstances and aesthetic preferences. There are also several gum printing manuals and other sources that teach one individual's particular prejudices, practices, and preferences; I find these useful only in the aggregate, to show the flexibility and diversity that gum allows, but using any one of them alone as a guide could give you an unnecessarily narrow idea of what is possible with gum.

I haven't seen Sarah Van Keuren's book; it's been on my list to acqure for my library, but knowing Sarah I expect it is excellent, as described.

-- Katharine Thayer (, January 01, 2002.


There are some good sources on the WEB. I lost the URL to the best one I came across, but here's another one: 20Printing

Another source for all types of alternative processes is William Crawford's, The Keepers of Light. Unfortunately the book is out of print, but is available on the used market. Good Luck!


-- Pete Caluori (, January 01, 2002.

Particpants in the group raved about a new book by Christopher James called "The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes." I haven't read it but based on everything I've read about it by people in that group who have lots of alt process experience, that's the book I'd buy. I have and have used "The Keepers of Light" and it was an excellent book in its day because there was nothing else like it around but it isn't the book I'd buy today.

-- Brian Ellis (, January 01, 2002.

I've read the James book and would still recommend Keepers of Light and Scopick as better sources even now for reliable, generalizable information about gum printing. FWIW I am also an active participant on the alt- photo-process list.

-- Katharine Thayer (, January 01, 2002.

Coming into I have read so far, more up to date than the keepers of light. An additional book of course would be the New platimum print by Sullivan and Weese (sp?).

Get these two books and you are set to do all the alternative printing you want, of course the Arentz and Farber books are also excellent.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, January 01, 2002.

Hi Adrian,

Another alternative printmaking process you may find interesting is lith printing. Don't get confused with lith negatives used in the graphic arts industry, this is quite different. This process can produce beautiful, delicate tones which can have the same subtle effects as platinum, as well as quite graphic effects or anything inbetween.

An excellent reference and "how to" book is Tim Rudman's, "The Master Photographer's Lith Printing Course" published by Argentum - London.

Kind regards

Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, January 01, 2002.

Adrian, If Pd/Pt printing is the primary goal, get The New Platimum Print by Sullivan and Weese, then follow this with the Dick Arentz book later. The Sullivan/Weese book gets you started right away, and you can buy all the chemicals discussed from Bostick & Sullivan if you choose. The Arentz book is in some ways more detailed, but not nearly as good a first intro. At least in my opinion.

-- Linas Kudzma (, January 02, 2002.

I recently picked up the books mentioned above, The New Platinum Print, Dick Arentz's Pt book and The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. All are excellent resources. I am really enjoying Carl Weese's book at the moment it is a very interesting and well thought out read and specific to Pt/Pd work. I recommend all three!

-- James Christian (, January 02, 2002.


I found the URL that I was referring to; it's David M. Kennedy's site and you can find it here:

Davis has much info on his site regarding Pt/Pd printing and it's well worth reading.


-- Pete Caluori (, January 04, 2002.

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