What is an "alternative" technique?

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by ksmattfish, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I'm more bored than nit-picky, but some of the threads I've been seeing in this forum belong in the darkroom forum, or even general photography, IMHO.

    For instance, while a Holga may be a camera choice off the beaten path, the film is usually processed and printed normally. And solarization, sandwiching negs, cross processing, etc... that's all fairly common darkroom techniques.

    When I think of "alternative techniques" it's polaroid manipulations/transfers, cyanotypes, kallitypes, platinum printing, gum bichromate, van dyke prints, etc...

    Check out this site for more alternative techniques

    http://www.alternativephotography.com/process.html
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, Dad. [hanging my head] It's true. :blulsh2: We been BAD!!! We've been going off-topic in our s-l-o-w little forum. :wink:

    I appreciate what you're saying, though, really. :wink: We have a little circle of Polaroid enthusiasts (refer to us as the P-Team, thanks) but aside from that, there aren't a whole lot of what I consider true alternative processes enthusiasts here. Well, with the exception of Anua, with her liquid emulsions on wood.

    Funny, I was just doing a little google search on the bromoil process before popping in here. I'm enchanted with it. There are a few alternative process books out there I've put on my Christmas wish-list, too. Now that I'm close to having a home darkroom, I feel much freer to explore stuff that was just not do-able for me before. I want to learn about palladium and platinum prints, too. All of it, really, because of the feeling these processes impart to an image. And I want to smell the nasty chemicals and get my fingertips stained in the process. I'm really pumped about it.

    I just can't *not* engage a newbie to the forum who expresses an interest in doing anything outside the norm....in doing anything that doesn't involve PS, frankly. So yeah, some of the discussions aren't purely on-topic, but I figure, what the hey. It's still more interesting for me than the ad-nauseam discussions involving pixels. :twisted: Different strokes, baby.

    And I love the alternativephotography site. They just started a forum there, btw. It's been pretty slow so far, but I hope it picks up. I'd love to pick the brains of some of the amazing artists whose work I see posted over there. :D

    Now, be a nice boy and if you're bored, go make a beautiful print for us to admire. :cheers: Peace and love, sweetie!
     
  3. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    I was actually going to suggest to one of the threads that it might be better suited to the darkroom forum (the manipulations, sandwiching thread) but then I didn't really have the energy... :p
     
  4. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    I bought two bottles of toner in the past 3 days and tonight I'm gonna break em open. Blue prints coming up! How's that for alternative! ;):D
     
  5. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

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    Well, different from the norm (and don't ask what normal is or I'll smite you, or maybe just poke you with my poking stick)?
    There are lots of posts which could go in the general/picture post forums but they'd get lost there because there are so few of them and others who use digital/35mm/the norm won't appreciate them. If they're posted here then people who not only use the same techniques but who also think along the same lines get to comment on them.

    So Holga photos can go in the picture post forum, but they'll either be ignored or people will say there's vignetting/light leaks/you've got a crap camera. Or they can go here and people can ask or comment about them because they know what they're actually looking at.

    And a question to you. What makes transfers alternative? Because most people don't know about or do them? But lots of people do to. It's been known about for years and they're simple to do. So why are they alternative?


    And please everyone, don't hurt my head with your posts. :mrgreen:
    Thanks for the link to. :)
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I know, it's all word games. I thought it was funny in the 90s when "alternative" music dominated the Top 40 charts. I view an "alternative process" as taking a different path, rather than just stepping to the side of the normal path or taking a short detour, and then resuming travel along the beaten path.

    I would say that polaroid tranfers and emulsion lifts are alternative because they are not a traditional darkroom process such as BW (gelatin silver), C41, or E6, and it's not even using the products as the manufacturer intended. Most alternative processes are old processes, which means they've been know about for years, and some are very, very simple.

    Personally I wouldn't even consider infra red an alternative process any more than say extra high speed or low speed films. It's still a gelatin silver BW film, it's just a smidge more sensitive at the red end, and folks are using a #25 filter.

    As far as what I said about Holgas, I'm trying to step outside the box that Canon and Nikon has contructed for amateur photographers that a $xxxx camera takes "better" photos than a $xx camera, and that photography is done with a 35mm SLR or DSLR. Photography is done with a camera (and there are some folks who would disagree with that); you can pick a cheap, or rarely used, or weird camera (and I usually do), but the way it basically operates and the steps taken to go from exposure to print are the same for a Holga as they are for a Nikon F6, or an 8x10 field camera, or a TLR, or even a box with a pinhole in one end. And what is most likely to influence the photograph in terms of it being good, bad, or somewhere in between is the photographer themselves, rather than the camera.

    Like I said, it's not a big deal, just an observation. It has crossed my mind in the past, and yesterday I was bored enough to say something about it. I guess I feel like the Darkroom forum is also small and lonely, and if we are mixing darkroom topics up between two different forums, then they are even more likely to get lost. Actually, there's probably plenty of room for them in the same forum. Many alternative techniques require a darkroom. These days traditional BW darkroom work/techniques is fairly uncommon and alternative; most photo labs don't use traditional techniques to print BW anymore. Photogs doing their own color film processing and printing are very rare. How long until film itself is considered an alternative process?
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    One of my favorite factoids is knowing that Edwin Land detested the transfer, lift, and SX-70 manipulation processes. He viewed them merely as flaws in his emulsion formulas.

    Somehow that makes it better for me. :twisted: And Edwin Land is one of my all-time photography heros. :D
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    What's ironic is that these days Polaroid is marketing their products to try to increase the popularity of transfers and emulsion lifts because digital has taken much of their market.
     
  9. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Alternative Processes is the accepted title for photographic processes that don't use silver.
     
  10. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's funny, isn't it? :sillysmi: They endorse it heartily at their site, right down to actual instructions for the processes. Guess they have to, to stay in the game. I bet the old man haunts 'em at night. :wink:
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    That would mean that salt prints (silver nitrate) and argyrotypes (silver sulphamate) aren't alternative processes, but they sure seem to fit the bill to me. :wink:
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    It's a moot point.
    We all know what a cup looks like and we all know what a mug looks like but at what point does a mug become a cup? Names are just convenient labels.
    I fear that in twenty years time anything that isn't digital will an Alternative Process :roll:
     

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