Mike Ware - Alternative Photography
Mike Ware - Alternative Photography

Practical Instructions

Preparations for Alternative Printing

All of the alternative processes described here have the same modus operandi in common, which entails hand-coating high quality paper with chemical sensitizer solutions to make papers for contact-printing large-format negatives by exposure to an ultraviolet light source. These practical notes will enable you to equip yourself appropriately for any of the following processes.

The Argyrotype Process

This new 'user-friendly' iron-based silver printing process is a latter-day improvement on the nineteenth century processes of Kallitype, Van Dyke, Sepiaprint, Brownprint or Argentotype. The resulting print has better prospects of endurance and a finer gradation, and may be readily toned.

The Traditional Cyanotype Process

Also known as Blueprint, this is the oldest, simplest, safest, cheapest process - but not the best in image quality! This method of printing in Prussian blue is a good starting point for the newcomer to alternative processes, and the low toxicity makes it suitable for use by children.

The New Cyanotype Process

The drawbacks of the traditional cyanotype process have been overcome in this chemically up-dated version, which yields a long range of superbly graduated blue tones from a stable, single sensitizer solution, with a very short exposure.

The Platino-Palladiotype Process

The summit of alternative printing - an image formed in totally permanent 'noble' metal, exquisitely graduated with a beguiling luminosity. Platinum and palladium may be used separately, or mixed in any proportion.This is a modernized and economical 'print-out' version, allowing control of image hue and contrast.

The New Chrysotype Process

This is a novel and chemically sophisticated version of Herschel's original gold-printing process, whose difficulties have previously prevented its adoption into the photographic repertoire. New chrysotype has qualities and permanence like platino-palladiotype, but the added feature of beautifully muted, non-literal colours, controlled by the parameters of the process.