Gum Bi-Chromite Prints (Swing I & Swing II)

This last semester I took a course called Alternative Processes in which we went through many various wants to make prints or make images the way photographers would have years ago using current images.  These include cyanotypes, van dyke browns, and platinum, as well as newer ones such as a fuji lifts and transfers.  For the entire semester, as we learned how to do these processes, we got to any process we wanted and begin to master it.  I chose gum bi-chromite prints.

 

 

 

Gum bi-chromites we made well known by Edward Steichen in which he used gum processing over platinum to create his images of The Flatiron building currently up in The Met in New York City.

The process is tricky.  As you have to mix potassium dichromite (making it light sensative) with gum arabic (making it stick) and the perfect amount of watercolor (making the color), then expose it to UV light.  The more light, the more contrast.  The less light, the less likely the image is to "stick" to the paper.  Then you develop the image in water, washing away the highlights and using your hand or a brush to fully wash off the areas where you don't want color.  Here it gets tricky, as sometimes you can completely wash off the image just by getting it wet and othertimes you can leave it in wash and scrub the images and highlights barely clear.  It's a tricky one.  But I loved it.

I took pictures (I know, they should have been scanned) of my images and will slowly be putting them on here of my finished products from this class.