SC Dowell Photographer

 

 

 

Process Info/Prices

 

I do all of my own printing, start to finish.

Most prints are made to order.

In order to make images available and to be shown on the website, some of the images are preliminary scans of negatives.

Prices:

Prices vary according to process and size, and edition size. If the price is not indicated on the print you're interested in, please e-mail me. Prices include matting.


Wet Plate Collodion:
The wet plate collodion process was invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer. Prior to that, the Daguerrotype was used. The Daguerrotype could produce great detail, but the image was not reproduceable. The wet plate collodion process was superior to Daguerre's process because one could create negatives on glass, making it possible to make multiple prints from one finely detailed negative.
In recent years, the wet plate collodion photograph has enjoyed renewed interest among art photographers. Like the platinum and other "alternative" printing processes, this is likely a reaction to the "instant" digital print and a desire to return to the craft of making a fine handmade photograph.
I create positive wet plates on aluminum. Each wet plate collodion tintype (or, to be more accurate, alumitype) is a unique one of a kind piece of art. I have available original plates, and I also scan the originals and create digital negatives. These digital negatives are then printed in small editions using the Platinum/Palladium (Pt/Pd) process. Below is an explanation of the Pt/Pd process.
There are many variables at play when making a wet collodion plate. One must both keep a tight reign on the process with impeccable cleanliness and strict controls on the chemistry, while at the same time "giving in" to the serendipitous aspects of it.

Gumover Platinum/Palladium:  
Platinum printing is a very old, very permanemt process using noble metal salts in a light sensitive emulsion. The emulsion is hand coated onto fine artists paper and exposed to UV light through a contact print negative. The resulting warm image is uniquely rich in tone and depth and is quite beautiful.

The Gumover Platinum/Palladium process takes a platinum/palladium print, and "kicks it up a notch". A layer (or layers) of pigmented gum dichromate is added on top of the PtPd print, adding an endless variety of subtle color possibilities.

The platinum process, among other alternative processes has enjoyed a renaissance over the last few years. This is likely a reaction to the digital world of instant image making, and a desire to return to the "craft" of making photographs. Ironically, this renaissance has been helped along by the ability to create digital negatives. Platinum printing requires a negative of the same size as the final print. The ability to scan a smaller negative (or use a digital file straight from the digi-cam) and then print an enlarged digital negative on an inkjet printer, has allowed us to use smaller format cameras, instead of the larger view cameras that were necessary in the past. 
I sometimes use a large view camera myself, and am a big fan of several of the artists who currently use large and ultra-large format cameras. A contact print from a large format negative is a beautiful thing. A view camera is quite unwieldy however, and I am happy that I don't have to limit myself to a single format.

Gum Dichromate:

Gum dichromate prints can be made in full color, monochrome, or anything in between. The only limit in terms of color, is the artist's imagination. Making a full color gum print utilizes at least 3 seperate exposures through 3 seperate negatives, each printing a different color. Any color combination can be made using cyan, magenta, and yellow. A specially made negative is created for printing each color. This, like the platinum process, is a contact print process using UV light for exposure.

Pigment Prints:

I sometimes offer digital pigment prints. These are archival prints, using high quality Epson pigment inks and fine art papers. I offer most of the images in my portfolios in this printing method. Of course a digital pigment print of an image can look quite different from a gum dichromate print for example, of the same image. Each printing style has it's own unique characteristics.
Pigment prints are generally less than half the price of the handmade prints. These are high quality prints, just less labor intensive to make. They are editioned by size in the same way as the handmade prints. Please inquire if you are interested.