After about one year of immersion into serious digital photography and having developed a pretty good ability to pull high quality inkjet prints out of my printer, I went out and acquired two developing trays, some small darkroom accessories, and some print making chemistry. I still need a few more items.
I do not have a darkroom or any space or funds to build one. Today, I am delving into what is referred to as the 'Alternative Photographic Processes.' It's actually a selection of print making processes that do not require a darkroom. These are historical processes that pre-date darkroom printing.
Currently lacking the ability to produce large enough negatives for these processes, I intend to utilize my computer, Photoshop, and my inkjet printer to produce negatives large enough to make prints using the contact printing method. The negative, whether printed onto clear acetate film or regular paper, will be laid on top of fine-art print making paper that has been sensitized with various solutions, some resulting in a blue hued print, some brown, and others in a warm or cool gray tone.
With the ease of digital this and digital that, why do something like this? Perhaps it was the fact that my entry into photography began in 1974, a time devoid of personal computers, Photoshop, and Giclee prints. My camera was a Nikkormat FTN, all metal, heavy, extremely well made. You could hammer nails with it and still shoot. The lens, a Nikor 50mm f/2, razor sharp. I dropped that camera more than once, carried it up into the high country in the Sierra Nevada on more than one occasion. I practiced some black and white print making at home and at school. Over time I lost interest and bit by bit, the cameras, lenses, and other related goodies were sold off.
Today, I carry a camera with me most of the time, digital and film. I really like both cameras, but in two or three years the digital camera will be obsolete. As long as film is still being made, the film camera will never become obsolete.
So now I begin to step back in time. Along with my purely digital images, scanned 35mm images and inkjet prints, I will move ahead in my journey of re-invention back into the past, when paper was prepared to take a sensitizing solution, placed onto another sheet of paper, and exposed in the sun. It's a growing movement, the desire, the need to preserve the historical printing methods. Here goes.