Thursday, June 26, 2008

Still More Bookmarks

I’m still working on some gum prints, and still having some trouble with the yellow and magenta layers being too intense. Gum prints are notorious for being fussy, even changes in the weather can cause them to turn out differently. That’s the only thing I suspect at the moment-most of the gum prints I’ve made in the past were done in the dead of winter. Now it’s summer, and my basement, where I’m printing, is much warmer and more humid than it was when I was successfully making gum prints. Why heat and humidity would only effect yellow and magenta, however, is a mystery.

Meanwhile, I’ve been making more cyanotype bookmarks, and really enjoying it. I think it’s the ability to do whatever I feel like without regard for creating a cohesive body of work and the creative challenge of working in a tight, narrow format that I find appealing. I also can work on them when I have spare time or don’t feel like doing anything else.

I wasn’t planning on making more of these. But then, someone bought a couple of them from my Etsy shop, and that inspired me to design some more. I now have 29 different bookmarks for sale there.

I’m also experimenting with making larger prints from my bookmark designs. I enlarged a couple of them to 18” X 3.5”, printed the digital negatives, and made prints from them. They came out beautifully, so I listed those on my Etsy shop as well.

These prints are editioned, I’ll only make 25 of each design. Rather than print them all off, I put a note in my Etsy listings for people to contact me if there’s a specific one they are interested in.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Photographer's Rights

I took this photo in front of a church on the southwest side of Chicago last fall. I had gone there to shoot photos of the rides at a parking lot carnival, but a guy walking around with a camera at a place where children congregate was too much for the college-age security team to bear. At one point I spoke with the pastor of the church, and showed him images I had shot with the digital camera so he could see I wasn't interested in photographing children. He gave me permission to shoot at the carnival, but the 'security' still tailed me so closely that I got uncomfortable and left. On my way back to the car, I spotted this chalk drawing a child had done on the sidewalk in front of the church, and snapped a photo of it. It's more interesting than the shots I made at the carnival. I like how it's kind of charming and funny (and maybe a little creepy) at the same time.

I've heard several accounts recently of people getting harassed for taking legal photos in public places (a student of a colleague of mine was stopped by Homeland Security for shooting a photo of an oil refinery). Here's a short article on the legal rights of photographers. Not surprisingly, you have the right to shoot almost anything you want. There's some useful links at the bottom of the article, be sure to check them out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recent Gum Prints

Here’s a couple of gum bichromate prints I’ve been working on recently. They’re not that great, but it’s an issue with printing, not with the images themselves. For some reason, the yellow layer seemed really overexposed in both of these prints (I printed the yellow layer exactly like I always have, and don’t know what caused it to be so intense). I soaked them in water with a splash of ammonia to remove excess exposure, but that didn’t really work. So I decided to continue on with the other colors, thinking I could print multiple layers to correct for too much yellow.

However, when I printed the magenta layer, everything seemed strongly orange tinted, something that was not improved when I printed the cyan layer. After printing the black layer, I gave up. On one of the prints, I managed to print the black layer out of registration. I tried removing it (usually easy to do when the layer is still wet), but it wouldn’t budge.

I’ll try again with these in a few days. I’m working on two different gum prints right now, and want to finish those before redoing these. I’m trying something different with one of these new prints, and if it works, I might apply the same idea to these images (more on that when I post those prints in a few days).

About these images: They were taken in the Washington, DC metro last summer. They are both photos of subway trains moving through stations. I copied the photos and flipped them, to create semiabstract, impossible spaces. I actually made these images, and the color separations for them, last fall, before I had even started making gum prints. By the time I started printing my first gum bichromates, the themes I was working with for my exhibit last spring were much more concrete, and these pieces just didn’t fit. All of the pieces in that exhibit (many can be seen if you look through old blog entries) were straightforward shots with minimal manipulation. Now that the show has come and gone, I’m interested in exploring how color and image can be manipulated, and how those manipulations work with various alternative processes. These two images fit nicely into that exploration.

Friday, June 13, 2008

More Cyanotype Bookmarks

Here's a few more of the cyanotype bookmarks I've been making.

As you will see if you look at the column on the right side of this page, I've now got a bunch of them listed for sale on the Etsy page I set up.

I also printed 12 more bookmarks from new designs last night. A few of them didn't turn out like I wanted, but leaving them aside, I now have 26 different bookmarks.

I'll be posting the new ones to the Etsy page sometime today or tomorrow.

I'm about done making new bookmark designs for now. At least I have no plans to produce many more of them. I do have some ideas I haven't tried yet, and I want to rework a couple of the ones I've already made that didn't work out. I'm also in the middle of making several gum bichromate prints, however, and don't want the bookmarks to grab all of my attention.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cyanotype Bookmarks

Recently, I’ve been making cyanotype bookmarks. I got the idea when I was cleaning my studio a couple of months ago, and found a bunch of scraps of paper left over from making prints. They were too small to do anything with, and to be honest, I don’t know why I saved them.

I made a few designs, then got busy with other things and forgot about them. Wanting to return to studio work after a long absence, I started working on them again this past weekend. As of this writing, I have fourteen different designs printed, and have digital files of about a dozen more that I’ll make the negatives and prints for soon.

I wasn’t planning on doing much with these besides giving them to friends. They’ve turned out better than I expected, however, and the couple of people I’ve showed them to were pretty enthusiastic. So, I’m going to try selling them. I’ve just opened a shop on, and I’ll be listing some bookmarks there soon. I’m planning on selling them for $5 each. I won’t get rich, but it’s fun making them, and I might sell a few.

These are all bookmark sized (about 1.5” X 7.5”) and will be an unlimited run. I’m considering selling larger versions of these images as well. These would be prints (about 18” X 3.5”) and would be in an edition of 25 for each image.

Working in such a long, narrow format was sometimes challenging compositionally, but I’m happy with the designs I’ve come up with. Because I wasn't treating these like serious work, I had some fun and did things I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.

I’ll post more of these bookmarks in a couple of days.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Back In The Studio

A quick post to let you now that I've finally started working in the studio again. I've got two gum bichromate prints in progress, with different subject matter than I have been working with. I also have several small cyanotypes that I may be printing this weekend.
I'll post this new work as soon as it's completed.