Sunday, 31 July 2011


Chartres France.  My First image - and on copper I think
 Leaves. This image came from my old Mamiya, and on water wash out Photopolymer
Pond. Photopolymer
I made prints these a few years ago to fulfill an ambition. I had seen gravure prints in Paris and had been playing with alternative processes in general. I just loved the surface qualities and richness of the pictures.
 The other process I think I will enjoy is Carbon printing but I haven’t got there yet. With gravure two methods are possible. Firstly I made copper plates that had been coated with a transfer of photo gelatine which is then etched (through), with a highly corrosive etch called Ferric Chloride. I actually got this to work a few times. It takes forever and is fraught with danger and traps no matter how hard you try to work cleanly and safely. I was shocked to see how much visible splash stain was around the darkroom the day after a session. Its all still there! A splash in the eye can cause blindness. I always used glasses, mask, apron and gloves but I seriously worried about how workable this process was going to be in the long term.
So I decided to investigate Photopolymer. This process also uses a positive made in a computer inkjet printer, involves using a mezzotint screen exposure and a much safer water washout. with brushing and drying. The plate material is really designed for letterpress printing as a relief plate (mounted on magnetic bases to achieve typehigh - .918"). Once its working for you it makes really beautiful prints. A darkroom, exposure frame and etching press are all needed but the work can be made in editions and they do sell well. They have (in my hands anyway) the look of earlier photography. Rich and permanent. They edition very well. This is something I aim for, and many of my memorable (Ahaah)  moments in photography is finding inspiration in the work of the late 19th and 20th photographers, many of whom worked in forgotten or lost processes.
 Its great to print pictures. They don’t have a dot line as such and are not halftones. They have a random grain pattern that resembles photographic grain. It is very fine and is best seen on the plate under a glass. Inking and wiping back gives you an intimate connection with the plate and the picture and there is a nice smell of linseed based inks which stays with the print for at least a couple years.
These are available in editions still available - so if your interested let know.


Joanne said...

Beautiful Photogravure of when we were in Paris a decade ago now.

Joanne said...

These are really beautiful prints!