Blog

February 2024

The gum- bichromate alternative printing process is a 19th century technique that utilizes pigments and photo-sensitized gum arabic in the image production process. The mixed emulsion is typically applied to paper and then exposed to UV light (artificial or sun) under a negative. It creates a somewhat painterly aesthetic and is very archival with the right choice of pigments. The process works quite well but the sensitizer chemical; ammonium or potassium dichromate has to be handled with caution due to toxicity.  In 2010, I started to experiment with non- toxic alternatives using modified gelatin or fish gelatin and ferric ammonium citrate. The hardening is the result of a Fenton- type reaction (iron II-hydrogen peroxide) discovered in the 1890s and more recently put to use in Halvor Bjoerngaard’s CHIBA system.

To date however, a sustainable plant- based, non-toxic alternative to gum dichromate has not yet been attained. There are however some promising recent non-dichromate alternatives such as PVOH-SbQ ( Brandenburg, Simoncini’s Zerochrome- SbQ), or WetPrint’s functionalized PVOH. Over this past year, I have discovered a way to utilize plant proteins as the colloid for this process. As far as I am aware, this has never been done before with any success. It opens up many new possibilities given the breadth of natural proteins, and their unique properties.

In May 2023, I started to make attempts with various plant protein sources. Many failures ensued with multiple attempts and tests. Thus far lupin protein has been the most promising. I was able to extract a concentrated protein solution from lupin flour and it shows excellent results when used with a ferric ammonium citrate sensitizer. I also had some good success with a soy protein isolate. Yields are not high so one needs quite a lot of plant flour in order to produce a reasonable amount of useable protein solution. There is also an extraction process that takes some time and a modest technical effort.

My experiments will continue on when time permits. This is a wholly unexplored area that could play a part in not only finding a non – toxic alternative, but also one that is sustainable, natural, and readily available.

Small 4″ wide Lupin Pigment Print

lupin-test-print

 

Step wedge test strips

step-tests-lupin

 

110 ml of Lupin Protein Extract 25% w/v (from Lupin Flour)

lupin-concentrate

 

 

October 2023

Admittedly, it has been quite some time since I have posted. This year has been a year of much technical experimentation in pigment printing! More specifically, I am mixing artist-grade pigments and some industrial, and even charcoal into a gelatinous mix which is then made light sensitive. I am essentially experimenting in a gum dichromate-type process but utilizing a much les toxic iron ammonium citrate sensitizer. I will use this modified approach for a solo exhibition in May 2024. More to come!

 

December 2022

To follow up in this blog on the cuprotype process, I went off on a couple of tangents to the cuprotype processes being worked on by a few forum members of groups.io. These were hunches to start but now I am seeing good results. I have been working with a copper complex in combination with potassium ferricyanide. A somewhat similar copper- complex approach was worked on by Cor Bruekel in consultation with Chris Patton after Chris transcribed a recipe found in a 1978 Popular Photography How-To guide. I have yet to find the original source article. By coincidence though, I somehow unknowingly re-discovered this formulation, but with some changes (sometimes a blind re-discovery can provide new insights). Using the copper-complex approach, the copper ferrocyanide can be strongly coloured red if you want it to. Interestingly too it seems to be highly metameric, so it looks quite different under various light sources. The image here was photographed in sunlight and is a fairly accurate representation of its hue in that light. It has been working very well now that I have overcomes a few technical hurdles. Now it is very repeatable and capable of making beautiful prints with a nice tonal scale, very little bleed or highlight staining and minimal graininess or mealiness. I hope to publish an article on the process some time in the future. More to come…

 

Cuprotype Three Trees

Peter Friedrichsen
Three Trees
Cuprotype on watercolour paper
5 in x 7 in
(2022)

 

September 2022

Cuprotype?

 

burnett-cuprotype

 

This is the first know use of the term cuprotype that I am aware of. The image above is a clip from an article by C.J. Burnett. I don’t know much about him but he was also involved with improving the platinum printing process.

The cuprotype print is reddish-brown and is the result of formation of a copper ferrocyanide pigment (Hatchett’s brown). Burnett’s prints used dichromates, which are quite toxic. Recently I have been participating in some updated approaches shared in online alt- photography forums namely: Groups io Each experiment that we have done reveals something new and there is still much to learn and “work out”. Once the dust settles I will share some results, or you can head over to the forum and search for ‘cuprotype” and participate.

img_3762

 

 

Perceptible | Imperceptible

Landscapes in Solargraphy

May 11 — 29, 2022
Propeller Art Gallery, 30 Abell St. & Online

05-friedrichsen-barneylakeno2

My upcoming solo exhibition at Propeller Art Gallery, Toronto, is a revisit of pinhole solargraphy (alt: solarigraphy) experiments going back to 2009. The technique was practised earlier in Poland and Italy.

The photographic imagery presented, is captured with long exposure pinhole cameras that were left to expose over extended periods ranging from weeks to months. Shorelines, rivers, alvars, and woodlands were explored in rural and urban settings. Seasonally shifting solar traces and environmental artifacts imbue an ethereal aesthetic to the work.

Black and white silver-gelatine paper within each camera was exposed to light through a pin-hole, removed and scanned without development or fixing. The original colours on the paper are typically a mix of hues of orange, pink, brown, and grey depending on the size of the silver particles that form during exposure. Larger silver particles (longer exposure and other factors) render greys, while the finest are pink. To render a positive image for printing, the hues are inverted, and the image then presents dominant shades of greens and blues in the final print.

The exhibition runs from May 11 to 29. Gallery hours are Wed thru Sunday 1 – 5:30 PM, with an opening reception on Saturday, May 14th.


October 2021

While the cyanotype process provides many colour shades in prussian blue, you can do much more through the many toning techniques. The more traditional toning is through the use of various plant tannin sources. In my Interference exhibition in 2021, I used local sumac leaves, providing various shades of brown. Annette Golaz contacted me and had asked me if I was interested in making a contribution to her upcoming book, which I did. Her book showcases a number of artists and their approaches, in addition to her extensive use of a variety of botanicals, providing an array of colourful hues in the cyanotype print.

Cyanotype Toning.indd

Cyanotype Toning: Using Botanicals to Tone Blueprints Naturally.
Author: Annette Golaz
ISBN 9780367553548
Published September 24, 2021 by Routledge


November 2020

INTERFERENCE | PETER FRIEDRICHSEN

November 18 — December 6, 2020
Propeller Art Gallery, 30 Abell St. & Online

​My 2019 exhibition: Imprints, was my first solo exhibition consisting exclusively of photogram works. In this exhibition, I continue my exploration of the technique in my exhibit: “Interference: Photograms in Cyanotype.”

I am intrigued by shadow effects, which is what is recorded in a photogram. Shadows are discarded by some as a simple lack of light, but to photographers and many other artists, they are an important aesthetic to their work. Shadows become the focus of work in photograms. The technique has deep historical roots, most notably Anna Atkin’s British algae photograms of 1843. Man Ray applied the technique in silver-gelatine capturing shadows of inanimate objects. Many modern-day artists continue the practice.

In this series, I recorded photograms in cyanotype, where the inherent blue shades of the process lend a meditative introspection to the work. My choice of subjects in creating shadows is both intuitive and observation based. In this series, I used clear film sheets printed with a multitude of parallel lines. The lines interfere, creating a moiré pattern. In others, it is a screen overlapping and interfering. The patterns are captured photographically in Prussian blue or may be toned.

Cyanotype toning involves converting the Prussian blue to a simple iron oxide and then to a salt of iron tannate, a pigment having various shades of black or brown and occasionally, tints of green or purple. Here, my tannin source is locally grown sumac leaves.

Two of the prints in the show are split-toned. If you only convert a part of the Prussian blue, what remains will affect the hue of the toned areas resulting in a blue to black shade. The toning process is inherently unpredictable, so you meet somewhere in the middle.

 

0114_friedrichsen_interference-6_sm

Interference 6: Split-toned cyanotype 

 

0131_friedrichsen_interference-26sm

Interference 26: Cyanotype

 

In an upcoming book by Annette Golaz, the artist goes beyond traditional toning, making among other works, multi-coloured cyanotype prints using only botanicals. I am honoured to be among a number of featured artists in the book. It is scheduled for release in late 2021.

Golaz, Annette. Cyanotype Toning, Using Botanicals to Tone Blueprints Naturally. New York: Routledge, 2022.

I hope you enjoy the exhibition!

 

September 2019

I have an upcoming solo show at Propeller art gallery in November. These are cyanotype works all printed onto birch ply and mounted to cradled wood panels. All of the works are based on the photogram technique in which a photographic substrate is obscured by objects and then exposed to visible or ultraviolet light. The result is a photographic impression of silhouettes. Stretching back to 1839,  Henry Fox Talbot was making “photogenic drawings of plants”. Anna Atkins from Britain produced 100′s of plant photograms in cyanotype many of which survive today. Man Ray, Robert Rauschenberg and numerous other artists have also utilized the technique.

More specifically my works are photograms of combined elements both in and out of context. The level of artistic intent varies from piece to piece and sometimes, even cliche’ as humour.

2019-01-friedrichsen_far-away
Far Away (2019) Cyanotype on Birch Ply

Show Information:

Nov 6-17, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, Nov 9, 2-5 pm
Artist’s Talk: Sunday, Nov 17, 2-4 pm

Propeller Gallery
30 Abell Street
Toronto, ON


November 2018

My May 2018 solo show at Propeller Gallery is now behind me. It all turned out quite well. There were two concurrent shows. Mine was in the north gallery, while a members groups show was running in the south. The two shows together brought in some decent traffic which is of course the whole point of an exhibit. The gallery space is located on the ground floor of an Artscape building and it has decent space for solo shows but can fill quite  easily with group exhibits. The location is good but does not get as many casual visitors as was the case at the previous address located on Queen St. W. The problem with casual visitors is that they may just be walking by and seeing the food on the trays, and possibly less interested in the works. The current location at 30 Abell Street is a 5 minute walk south from Queen Street W., just east of Dufferin, in the West Queen West neighbourhood.

In July we had an exhibit celebrating 150 years of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). This was a group exhibit featuring members and outside artists, the theme of course was astronomy. My exhibited piece was of a  pin-hole recorded solargraph exposed for 6 months and cyanotype printed onto a birch ply cradled panel.

out-of-this-world-600px
“Out of this World” exhibit at Propeller Gallery on July 5, 2018.  My piece “Sun and Shore” is in the top centre

 

I am excited to have cyanotype works included in this upcoming book by Christina Z. Anderson due out in April 2019:

Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice
Author Christina Z. Anderson
Part of the series: The Contemporary Practices in Alternative Process Photography
Available for pre-order on the Routledge site: https://www.routledge.com/Cyanotype-The-Blueprint-in-Contemporary-Practice/Anderson/p/book/9781138338838

My article focuses on the use of cyanotype on wood and will include a description of my process and several prints.

cyanotype-book-anderson
Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice by Christina Z. Anderson, due out April 2019

 

Working with Wood in the Cyanotype process

Throughout 2018, I continued to experiment with the printing of cyanotypes on wood. While a cyanotype emulsion can be applied directly to wood and then exposed with a negative, or even with various objects to leave shadow impressions, the fibres are not easily washed out leaving sensitizer in the wood. This is not great for longevity as the residual iron is bad for cellulose and it will cause further staining as the print ages. The other effect is that of components in the wood that react with the sensitizer, sometimes reducing it and causing fogging. Sometimes this may be desired for aesthetic effect but I have found the results so unpredictable that much time and materials can be wasted just hoping for the right result. Finding a compatible wood sizing for various sensitizer formulations was the main focus of these tests.

wood-panel-cyanotype-600px

A stack of test prints on 3 mm birch ply, both sides printed. There are over 200 tests here.

 

April 2018

Recently I became a member of Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts. This is a member-run gallery located just south and west of Queen St W and Ossington in Toronto. I will be having a solo exhibit in the north gallery May 2-13. I will talk more about the gallery and the exhibit after the show.

propeller-e-vite-peter-friedrichsen

https://www.propellerctr.com/

The lightsensitive 2018 exhibit in Gilbert, recently wrapped up (March 6 – April 21). I was fortunate enough to attend the opening on March 10. It was exciting to see the variety of alt-process photographic prints as there was such a great variety of prints. On one end of the spectrum, photographic images formed the basis of the print while others stretched beyond this realm into complete abstraction through chemical writing in the chemigram process.

Gina Diego was my main contact person at the gallery there and she had asked Caroline, the photo lab manager to provide a tour of their photo lab production area. The area is used for class instruction as well as for member artist access. It is very well equipped having a full darkroom, coating room and facilities for alt -process printing. Several rows of mac workstations provide for photo editing and digital negative production, great equipment and great people working there.

2018-show-image_sm
Opening Night
Link to show
January 2018

I will be exhibiting two cyanotypes printed on birch ply at the Art Intersection gallery in Gilbert Az, USA. One of these prints, “Great Skua” I have featured in an earlier post from September 2016. I also participated in the 2015 exhibit but was unable to see the show. This year I intend to be there on the opening night of March 10.

EXHIBIT DETAILS

Opening Reception
Saturday, March 10, 6 – 8pm

Exhibition
March 6 – April 21

Location:

Art Intersection
207 N Gilbert Rd # 201, Gilbert, AZ, USA 85234
Light Sensitive 2018 Exhibit link

 

December 2017

Blue Water Bridge.

I client of mine recently commissioned a print of the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia Ontario, Canada.  The bridge has two separate spans. The north span is the original one from the late 1930s, with a second south span being added in the late 90s.

I arrived there several days before Christmas. Being an early winter, there were a few centimetres of snow on the ground and ice chunks floating down the St. Clair River. The sky was blanketed grey by a soft overcast, which is my preferred background for extracting the demanding detail of a bridge structure. I started my shoot on the north side of the bridge after parking in a public lot. The original span is in the forefront here but there was some type of utility building obstructing the view as the bridge came ashore to the Canadian side. After shooting this north set, I drove over to the south side and photographed two sets from different perspective views. The bridge was very quiet, being so close to Christmas, with the occasional truck and car. In my final image, only one car can be seen on the north span while the south span seems to hide low profile vehicles.

You may also see that the park benches on the Canadian side have an unobstructed view which is uncommon. Typically, safety rails are erected along a populous river of this depth and speed, but there are none to be found here which provides a great sense of openness at the shore. There is a sidewalk in front of the benches and it was completely glazed in ice from a recent thaw-freeze. I avoided the sidewalk because it wouldn’t take much to slip into the river with all that ice. There are erected signs warning of the winter danger and to not use the walkway. I hope they keep the shore free of a railing but someone will probably be foolish enough to get too close and then the rails will go up.

Because of the great amount of detail and wide span, it was necessary to take many photographs in a panoramic fashion in order to capture detail. I utilized a stitching algorithm to merge the images to a final pixel width of 20,000. Additional image work involved correcting for some pincushion distortion (pre-stitch) on each image taken at a 105 mm focal length.

The other challenge was attempting to extract grayscale; without it, there was too much loss of detail. My current process for use on metal is only two-tone and unsupportive of any tonality. I resorted to stochastic screening which uses random dot packing density to emulate grey scale before generating my contact negative. The final print takes on an etching aesthetic due to the half-toning and complex metal structure subject.

 

bluewaterbridge_sm
Blue Water Bridge, Sarnia Ontario, Canada               Copyright Peter Friedrichsen
(on hammered aluminum)

 

September 2016

Recently I completed a series of cyanotypes printed onto wood. This process uses light sensitive iron salts that upon exposure, leave a pigment of prussian blue. What I like about this process is the simplicity of the formulation and the low toxicity such that the rinse bath can be washed down a drain without concern, containing only compounds of iron. Most artists will print cyanotypes onto a variety of unbuffered papers since alkaline buffers are harmful to prussian blue pigment formed. In my work, I chose to use wood for its effect on texture. While working out the process, a few solvable problems surfaced due to the natural tannins, lignins, and sugars which interact with the iron salts. This series is based on photographs taken in Iceland several years ago. Here is one on 8″ x 8″ birch ply:

 

cyanotype Great Skua

Great Skua, Iceland       Copyright Peter Friedrichsen

 

For this series I used the sun as a light source rather than my diffuse light UV exposure unit since I haven’t yet found a practical way to mate the negative 100% with wood; the sun is much more forgiving this way producing a sharper image even if the negative is not in full contact. Below is one of my prints being exposed to the late August sun.

cyanotype exposure in sun

 

June, 2016

I continued my argyrotype printing into May. When working out a new process, there are dozens of test prints to be made. The variables of the paper, chemistry, brush technique, exposure, and negative density and curve all affect the end result, so much fine tuning is needed before a satisfactory print can be made. I completed two 19 inch wide prints which is a fairly challenging size for an alternative process print. This one, posted below was part of the Contact 2016 photography festival in Toronto.

 

Peter Friedrichsen_ Winter Afternoon

Winter Afternoon (2016)           Copyright Peter Friedrichsen

 

March, 2016

Previous to my work with printing onto metal, I worked with paper using various historical processes. I have recently returned to this medium and am working on a series that is “silver-based” and printed on watercolour paper.

There are a number of lesser known silver-based processes beyond the well known and once very popular silver-gelatin emulsion but I have chosen to pursue the Argyrotype process, a process developed by Mike Ware in the early 90s.  Argyrotype prints share some similarities to Van Dykes which are known in alternative process circles. The Argyrotype process, like that of the Van Dyke utilizes the light sensitive reaction of a silver salt and an iron salt.

The Argyrotype sensitizer is developed in an acidic bath allowing any residual iron to be washed out, further it has the added advantage of a long shelf life. The prints produced are of various shades of brown ranging from a deep chocolate with hints of purple to a medium-brown depending on a number of variables. The silver salt employed is silver sulfamate, a salt that is less hazardous to work with than silver nitrate which is quite corrosive and rapidly stains most materials that it contacts. Unfortunately silver sulfamate is a much less common chemical, so I make my own using silver oxide and sulfamic acid.

The silver particles produced from the reduction of the salt are very fine being only dozens of nanometers in size. The final size is affected by many variables resulting in variations in the prints tone. Unfortunately, the fine particle size of any of these processes makes the prints more vulnerable to atmospheric or paper contaminants, so the use of some type of toning bath is a good idea. I am currently toning with selenium which cools the print tone somewhat. I will post some of my results once I complete some larger pieces that are in the works.

June, 2015

Recently, I have been happy to be part of two group exhibitions. In April, my work was shown at Art Intersections in Gilbert Arizona as part of Lightsensitive 2015. In May, I was also exhibiting at the Darkroom 4.0 analog photography exhibit here in Toronto, as part of the Contact photography festival. Both of these shows highlight alternative photographic art, and they have been annual events so if you missed them this year you may have another chance next year.

 

Argentium

I have been doing many technical experiments with the silvering of copper. The hope is that I can use silver as a surface for my metal prints as this would extend the aesthetic to a third metal in addition to copper and aluminum.

Silver is one of the most reflective metals of visible light. While aluminum also has this attribute, it reflects less of the longer red waves of light and therefore appears slightly cooler with a slight blue cast. Silver on the other hand is more reflective towards the yellow and red end of the spectrum emitting a warmer tone. It also reflects a greater percentage of available light giving it an added luminosity.

Since silver is costly, plating seems to make sense. Unfortunately electrolytic silver plating is technically challenging and often requires the use of a toxic cyanide bath for the best plating results; this is not something that I am willing to do in my setup for my art. There are a few plating shops that provide such a service but the setup charges are high for low volumes, so I don’t think it is a worthwhile approach. An alternative is an immersion plate but this has other challenges namely that the silver plate is so thin that it eventually diffuses into the copper and disappears over several years.

After hundreds of tests and adjustments to immersion baths, I have been able to immersion plate with thicknesses up to 3 microns, which is much thicker than traditional non-catalytic immersion baths producing thickness of up to 0.1 microns. There still remain some tweaks, since as the plate gets thicker, it also roughens and can develop pits. I am really hoping that over the next month I can resolve these problems so that I can provide prints on bright silver.


December, 2014

I always try to post a note at least monthly but chaos has reigned since moving in July and many other things related to it have taken priority.

Recently while packing up for a move to a different home not too far away from where I had lived for nearly two decades, I came across an old letter addressed to one of my wife’s sisters, from a fellow named Earnest who was moving from out west to Toronto. What I remember most about it is the wording of one of his sentences; “Moving is a terrible thing, most distressing!.”This is no understatement.

This move had occurred early this past July and it wasn’t until November that I had the bulk of my studio back to a functional state. Since October, it has mostly served as a restoration studio involving painting, and restoring old hardware such as cast iron heating duct covers. These have been painted over dozens of times over the past century. We are working hard to maintain as much originality of this old house as is practical, so all of the efforts are time consuming and intensive. There is a perpetual list where new things appear as fast as old things scroll off.

I am hoping to get back to working on more prints in the New Year but I do find that I need a meditative-like focus when working creatively because distraction can make it difficult to create works that satisfy me. Hopefully things will settle down for a couple of months.


July, 2014

I have just wrapped up my show at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit (TOAE). There were 348 artists exhibiting work in a 3 day show that had the perfect  summer weather. It  was a challenge pulling this off because my wife and I were in the dreaded throes of moving, all of which was only days away. She did an incredible amount of work while I was committed to being at the show for three very full days.

What a project it must be to organize such a large outdoor art event. A great thanks to the TOAE organizers who did such a great job and to all of those who stopped by to visit my booth.

 

May, 2014

I have recently completed 10 new plates. I will be showing this work and earlier work at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit (TOAE) on July 4, 5, and 6 at Nathan Philip Square. The subject matter is urban-Toronto which is a different direction from my previous sets that contained rural imagery. In retrospect, my first shots taken with a 35mm camera back around 1989 were along Spadina, Queen West and Kensington market; full circle.

Below is a set of five  8″ x 8″ aluminum plates mounted on 4 mm porcelain tile. While my previous work is framed, I thought that a less distracting “framing” technique would be worth a try. The plates are float mounted onto the tile and are not protected by glass. I think that the acrylic coating placed over the plates will be sufficient protection especially when wall mounted.

ghostsigns- final-620w


Ghost signs:

Companies were once in the habit of painting their buildings with advertising logos and many of them date back 50 years or more. Often referred to as ghost signs, there are a few still to be found here in Toronto. I am roughly guessing that there may be a couple dozen left here in the city. The paint is slowly deteriorating and the signs continue to fade. Of course the constant construction of tall buildings often means the end for these fading relics.

Often the signs were painted over with new advertisements. Adhesion of paint to itself is not as strong as adhesion to the underlying brick which results in signs showing multiple images as the top coat partially peels away.

The First image below is from a sign at 345 Adelaide Street West, right downtown. This is a two layered sign. The first layer is “Hugh C. MacLean Publications”. The building was occupied by this company for some time up until the mid or late 50s. Following that, Gevaert, a Belgium photographic film manufacturer, moved in and repainted over the sign.

Stitched Panorama

If the distracting colours from the MacLean layer are removed (digitally), you can make out the following: “Head office of Gevaert Canada Limited Toronto”

Stitched Panorama

The first image also reveals Gevaert’s circular logo in the top left. The Gevaert name is there with their characteristic triangle just below the name. You won’t be able to see either of these from the image above, but they do show up in my high resolution original. Furthermore, a closer look at the orange box in the first photo reveals a film box of Gevapan 33. This was a popular film in the 50s, so popular I guess that Illford eventually bought the Belgium company.

These signs often go unnoticed today and are faded relics of their glory days. They are outcompeted by much larger and often more imposing structures and brilliantly lit signage. I have created this series in an attempt to bring them back into focus.

Finally I also completed a set of five plates based on imagery from Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto. This series highlights a few examples of natural recovery; low lying shrubs, grasses, water, and trees. There is one image of trees juxtaposed by the city skyline. I find it ironic that a human-made wasteland with which this park is formed on, when left alone, comes to life but a city when left alone to fill with these same plants would be considered derelict.


April, 2014

I will be taking apart my basement work studio and moving in July to a different location a few blocks away, so things will be chaotic to say the least. This is also around the time of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, of which I will be a part of; disorder always seems to want to rule.

I am in the process of producing a new series of plates which is my first urban-Toronto themed set, some of which include multiple printed layers. I have spent quite a bit of time working my process to allow for multi-layered printing. There were some difficulties in applying over-layers as the brush would damage the base layer. Some changes to the emulsion and the brush were necessary and now things are working quite well.

February, 2014

I have been spending some time making cyanotype prints. This is a photographic printing process that is very old and yields prints that are of varying shades of blue but can vary to an indigo or even brown and black when toned in solutions  containing natural tannins.  The process is quite simple at first glance but to really get it to where I want takes some time. I have managed to get some of my prints to a dmax of 1.5 which is quite a deep blue/black. Paper, the type of sensitizer (oxalate or citrate, modifiers), brush type, and technique etc… all affect the end result. I hope to post some images of these prints here in the future. I am also going to see how they look when applied directly to my metal plates.

Earlier in January, I was out to Tommy Thompson park here in Toronto. It is a spit of land composed entirely of landfill, most of which has been dug out from the downtown area. It reaches out about 5 km into Lake Ontario. It has many nesting colonies for cormorants and seagulls. Owls and swans also frequent the park. The hiking was somewhat of a hazard due to the endless “lacquered” ice sheets that adorned the road and paths that lead to the lighthouse.  I did however manage to get some photographs, and a few of which are interesting enough. I would like to get back once again before winter is over since the sun was getting low too early.


October, 2013

Recently I visited a photographic exhibit of Ansel Adams work. There was an exhibit of about 45 of his favourite prints at the McMichael Gallery here in Ontario, Canada. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to see the actual prints rather than a compromised printed book rendition. A number of the prints are dominated by contrasting elements; white clouds over darkened skies or white snow covered mountain peaks contrasting against shadowy ridges. They are striking to see in real life.

The darkroom was his artist’s workshop where these images were brought to life through his masterful manipulation of the silver-gelatin print creation process.  Primitive by comparison to today’s freedom of digital manipulation, but a glaring example of how the artist’s imaginative use of available tools rather than their sophistication is what matters most.

 

September, 2013

I exhibited my work at the 25th annual Cabbagetown Art and Crafts sale September 6-8, 2013. I had 14 framed pieces on display. Saturday was a wash-out but Sunday was very crowded as the sun beamed down. Many were excited to see my work which is always encouraging. A great thanks to all who visited my booth, and to the organizers of this event.