Saturday, January 26, 2008

More New Gum Prints

I’m still adjusting to the new semester and being back at school after sabbatical, so my studio work has been progressing more slowly than I’m used to. Having said that, I do have some completed gum bichromate prints to show you, and I have four more in various stages of completion.

All three prints posted here were made from negatives shot with the Holga toy camera. I like the results obtained by making gum prints from Holga photos. The distortions present in photos shot with the Holga pair nicely with the paper texture and impressionistic look of gum prints.

This is one of the rides at Navy Pier, an overpriced, overhyped tourist trap that in my opinion is about the most unpleasant area in the entire city of Chicago. For all it’s unpleasantness, however, it can be pretty photogenic. I like this print a lot. It’s not perfect, but the flaws (most noticeably streaks in the magenta layer) add visual interest to the print. The color works nicely here as well.

Speaking of overhyped tourist areas, this was shot in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco (click on that link, and scroll down to the Culture heading. Click on the photo, and you’ll see a different view of those legs). This print is kind of a disappointment. It was looking pretty good while I was printing all the individual layers, but when it was finished looked dull and flat. Thinking it needed more dark values, I added a second black layer, which didn’t make a significant difference. Oh well, can’t win them all.

This image has been seen on this blog before, it was part of the test file I made to work out the technical details of making digital negatives. I really love this print. Unlike the other gum prints you’ve been seeing in the last few posts, this is a black and yellow duotone, not a four color image. I made a duotone of the image in Photoshop, and separated it into two negatives for printing.

Technically, this image is unfinished. To intensify the colors, both the yellow and black layers should be printed a second time. However, this print was lying around in my studio for a couple of days, and I decided I like it just the way it is. It’s pale, more light yellow and gray in tone, but that seems to fit the image really well. It looks like a still from a Guy Maddin film.

I might remake this print later and print each color twice, just to see how it turns out. I have other plans for it first, however, which if they turn out will probably be in my next post.

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