Introduction to Alternative Processing in Photography


Introduction to Alternative Processing in Photography


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

I'm really, really excited about this class because it really is a great chance to combine all of the really cool things about photography that go back to really, the very beginning of photography. They go back to a time when we actually didn't even have the type of cameras. We were really just trying to figure out how did we capture light, how did we hold light in a permanent way? And then it combined that with what we're doing today with the most modern cameras. So even if you went out and bought the latest camera, you could take that information and combine it back with that historical process. So it's a really, really kind of a, a cool time. The other thing about it that I think is really interesting is that it gives us a chance to connect into the historical stream of photography in a way that, if you're only participating, say in digital photography, you may not realize all the things that happened before that came to the way photography developed. So how did we start to get prin...

ts? How did we get into all these different looks, all these different aesthetics? And then the other thing that I find interesting is when we look at some of the things that happened, if you're only say, a iPhone or a phone photographer and you use Instagram and the filters that are on there, a lot of those filters are inspired by these historical processes. So the way we've created things before to how we're doing them now. We're all interconnected with that. So I think it's a really exciting time for that. So for this class, what we're gonna do is, we're gonna talk about how we actually take these digital photographs we've captured and convert those into what we call a digital negative. And we'll see what those are here in a little bit. And then we're gonna output those. And what we've done with the class is we've got three of the historical processes we're gonna learn. We're gonna learn cyanotypes, which is kind of the classic blue-looking photograph you might remember if you've seen in a museum or in a book. We're also gonna look at a Van Dyke print and a Van Dyke uses silver nitrate so it's one of the earliest silver printing techniques we have. And then we're gonna look at platinum plating, which is kind of like the Hallmark, the top pinnacle of alternative processes, mainly in part, because it's very expensive, but also produces an incredibly beautiful rich tonal scale. So that's what we're gonna do over the next couple of days. So we're gonna do all of those things. And we're gonna start really looking at the digital side first and then we'll move into the darkroom. The great part about this is this is all super accessible, so I've put together a kit through Bostick and Sullivan. They provide the alternative solutions so you can get that kit. It's in the bonus materials, you've got a discount code there. But everything you would need to do everything you're gonna see in the class, we've put together. I've got bonus materials with step-by-step instructions. Everything you're gonna need to do this at home. And one of the things you can do, is once you get that kit, literally, with the cyanotype process, which we're gonna do later today. If you get that kit, you could literally be making a cyanotype within five minutes of it arriving at your house. So, from the easiest of things, we can get started. So it's super accessible for everybody. Even though it seems like oh my gosh, these are complicated things and there are chemicals involved and all these things. Super, super easy and accessible. So it's a really, really kind of cool and exciting time.

Class Description

In a world where most photos are captured digitally it’s good to remember the beauty of print and all of the creative options alternative processes have to offer. The history of printing photos introduces techniques and tools that can improve your eye in the field and open up doors to new perspectives. Fine artist and educator Daniel Gregory gives the steps needed to get you started in exploring the many formats out there. You’ll learn:

  • An overview of what alternative processing is and the many formats out there
  • How to create a digital negative
  • How to setup and test your curve
  • How to print a Cyanotype
  • How to create a Van Dyke Print
  • Chemistry, Safety and Developing techniques
  • Platinum and Palladium Printing processes

In this introductory course, you’ll be given the key elements to get you started in expanding your creativity and exploring alternative photographic processes.


1Class Introduction
2Overview of the Alternative Process
3Overview of the Digital Negative Process
4Working with Black and White Digital: What You Need
5Working With Black and White Digital Images: Color Settings
6Working with Black and White Digital Images Lightroom
7Working With Black and White Digital Images Photoshop
8Working With Black and White Digital Images 3rd Party Plug-ins
9Avoiding Key Artifacts
10Creating the Step Wedge for Curve Corrections
11Organizing Your Adobe® Photoshop® Files and Curves
12Setting Up the Printer
13Lab Safety and Workspace Set-Up
14Setting the Maximum Black Time
15Getting the Initial Curve Test Numbers
16Correcting the Curve
17Printing the Curve
18Sharing Curves
19Caring for the Digital Negative
20Intro to Cyanotypes and Safety
21Paper and Brush Types
22Coating Process and Cyanotype Chemistry
23Making the Cyanotype Print
24Washing the Cyanotype Print
25Creating Cyanotypes Photograms
26Toning Cyanotypes and Cleaning Up the Darkroom
27Introduction to Van Dyke Printing
28Setting Up the Van Dyke Workstation
29Van Dyke Paper and Coating
30Van Dyke Exposure and Developing
31Van Dyke Troubleshooting and Resources
32Van Dyke: Split Toning
33Van Dyke: Wash Cycle and Drying
34Van Dyke: Clean Up Process
35Introduction to Platinum / Palladium Printing
36Platinum/Palladium Coating Chemistry and Safety
37Platinum/Palladium Paper and Coating Options
38Platinum/Palladium Exposure and Development
39Platinum/Palladium: Equipment and Supplies
40Ink Jet Negative Coating and Exposure
41Platinum/Palladium Chemistry Options
42Ink Jet Negative Development
43Platinum/Palladium Waxing Images
44Platinum/Palladium Troubleshooting and Resources
45Sharing Your Work Digitally
47Matting and Framing Options
48Editions and Signing Options
49Alternative Processes: Further Exploration