The Handmade Print: Exploring Historic Photo Processes (six-session workshop)

Go back in time in this six-week workshop exploring historic photographic printing processes. Before digital technology and even before photographic film and factory paper, photographic prints were made by hand, as different light-sensitive solutions were brushed onto paper and exposed with the light of the sun.

You’ll have a chance to explore the historic Cyanotype, Vandyke Brown, and Salt/Albumen printing methods, making photographs by hand using large format negatives or digitally-printed transparencies. Students will coat their own cotton papers and learn to expose and develop their images to produce a final print. The natural variations that arise from the inconsistencies of hand-coating contribute to the truly unique beauty and expressive qualities of these one-of-a-kind prints.

This classroom is accessible by stairs only.

What you will learn in this workshop:

  • Brief history of alternative photographic processes

  • How to mix the chemistry and prepare paper with solution

  • How to expose photograms and negatives in sunlight and UV Exposure Unit

  • Demonstrations of printing on fabric and gold toning

Required supplies:

  • Several sheets of 100% cotton watercolor or printmaking paper to use for your prints. The paper should be acid-free and non-buffered (neutral pH). Smooth-surfaced papers will result in sharper images. Recommended papers: Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolor (NOT studio), Rives BFK, Arches Hot Press

  • Large format negatives and/or black-and-white digital images on a flash drive

  • An apron or smock, safety glasses/goggles, and nitrile or latex gloves (optional, but highly recommended)