In this age of digital photography a web site that harks back to the earliest days of photography would seem to have limited appeal. But as a photographer who still shoots film (as well as digital) I find it one of the most interesting and informative sites on the web.
It is a curious mix of the folksy and the scientific, but one gets a real sense of community … of practitioners of arcane arts banded together trying to keep the old processes alive.
While it is an artist-related site Alternative Photography also investigates the science of alternative processes, featuring articles and selling books and ebooks by people who really know their stuff. It also a not-for-profit group that has fundraisers from time to time and its 2010 Calendar is a fine example of this.
All of the images were made by members and members, some 2,000 of them voted to select the photographs in the calendar. It is for sale via the web site (which links with the printer lulu.com) and costs $US15.00 + postage.
Part of the attraction of Alternative Photography is its very informative on-line newsletter which seeks to keep people up to date on the latest developments in chemistry as well as alerting people to the new artists joining the site.
An example of this occurred in the latest issue of the newsletter which described an alternative to Polaroid film for the image transfer technique using Fuji Instant Film. It seems a more complicated method than the old Polaroid system, but it works. And pending the success of the Impossible Project is the only way of doing it, right now.
The site promotes workshops and features how-to-do-it articles on making obsolete equipment, reviews specialist printing papers and carries interviews with artists and suppliers.
However, the core of Alternative Photography is the photographers who post their work into the site’s gallery. Working in cyanotypes, wet collodion, oil prints, photogravure, temperaprint, photo synthesis, gum bichromates, heliogravure, bromoil, platinium and palldium and very other sort of supposedly obsolete medium the artists on Alternative Photography are showing some astonishing work.
To get the full flavour of these old processes and perhaps, revitalise your outlook or even find a new medium for expression, visit www.alternativephotography.com
This piece was first published on Vervacious Art www.vervaciousart.com