Alternative Processes: Albumen Workshop

The weather is sitting between a lightning storm and a beautiful day; life can be like that. I finished up what had to be my most complicated shoot to date this week, and the total time of production had to be about nine hours.Photographing stainless steel pots is unbelievably complicated due to their highly reflective qualities, which is fine when in a light tent with only white surroundings, but once you add in vegetables, cutting boards and a variety of surfaces the game becomes more complicated. In the end, I was quite satisfied with the final shots, which is what makes the process worthwhile.

I also had to make a quick trip to the local store to purchase Profoto Barn Doors, a Disc Reflector and a medium white umbrella. I just needed to throw a lot more light around to cover the product evenly. The Profoto line is expensive, but the quality is well beyond anything else being sold; I would rather lay down money on less and keep it longer.

V. and I took a wonderful workshop on the alternative printing process of albumen prints. Amanda Rataj taught the workshop to four of us, and we merrily spent an full day in a darkroom surrounded by smelly egg albumen, silver nitrate and various sodium fixers. The entire experience made me want to turn the entire studio into a darkroom and forget this whole digital thing, but that is not realistic.

The purpose of taking the class for me was to see what the space at Gallery 44 was like, to get a few hours in a traditional darkroom and get a grip on exactly what alternative processes is about. The alchemical nature of the alternative processes really drew me in this week; I can only imagine the satisfaction of learning how to make a wet plate colloidon photograph. Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue has done killing work with Kat Von D, and I randomly came across that in a record store. I guess I will keep working towards the art end of things as a way to balance out the commercial side.

We did get a rare opportunity to photograph a newborn yesterday afternoon. He was very adorable and our final products should keep the moment sacred for a lifetime. We shot both digital and used the Hasselblad to snap a roll of Ilford BW 100. Time to get home, drop film to Northern, and walk the dogs. Hopefully the Linhof Kardan has arrived!


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