Alternative Photographic Processes: Gum Bichromate (six-session workshop)

Discover historic photographic printing techniques that you can do in your own backyard! This class will introduce students to the iron salt and chromium printing processes, cyanotype and gum bichromate. Popular with the Pictorialists for their atmospheric and painterly qualities, these alternative processes will transform your photographs. We will cover the processes individually and how they can be used with one another. You’ll learn the history of the process, how to mix and apply the light-sensitive chemicals, exposure times, and printing negatives. Due to time and studio limitations, the size of prints will be restricted to roughly 8×10” (on 11×15”surfaces).

Note that this classroom is accessible by stairs only; please contact Fleisher for more information.

Special Notes

This is an in-person class which will take place onsite at Fleisher. Please review our COVID-19 community safety policies for current guidelines.

Tuition Assistance is Available

To make our classes and workshops accessible to everyone, Fleisher offers tuition assistance every term so that everyone can join our creative community. Tuition assistance applications can be completed once registration is open by clicking here. The deadline to apply for winter term assistance is Wednesday, November 23; Notifications will be sent by Wednesday, December 7.

Required supplies:

  • The paper is going to have to withstand quite a bit of moisture. Papers that are proven with the process (up to students’ personal preferences):

    • Arches Hot, Cold or Rough press 140lb preferably
    • Rives BFK Heavy Weight any color
    • Strathmore 500 series Bristol, vellum surface
    • Any heavyweight paper comparable to the above, Fabriano, Pescia.
  • Watercolors — a decent brand (Winsor Newton, Old Holland, Schmincke — tubes not cakes). Check the lightfastness/permanence listed on the tube. Avoid colors made with dyes. Dyes are plant-based and react with UV light.

  • Here is a list of some proven colors:

    • Alizarin Crimson (or carmine)
    • Cadmium Orange
    • Yellow & Red
    • Ivory Black
    • Lamp Black
    • Blue Black (Winsor Newton)
    • Burnt Sienna
    • Burnt Umber
    • Purple Madder
    • Brown Madder
    • Warm Sepia
    • Paynes Gray
    • Antwerp Blue
    • Indigo
    • Neutral Tint
  • Haké brush

  • Sponge brushes