Above all Silver

The 19th century was undoubtedly the most stormy and dynamic age in the history of photography. It was not just the century when photography was invented but above all the time when nearly all the photochemical processes ever used in photography were invented. It was the period during which photography covered the unimaginable distance from the daguerreotype developed in mercury vapours and the paper negative to the silver gelatine photographic film on elastic substrates and the first roll films.

In the first few decades of photography, countless materials including not only silver but also iron, chromium or….. bitumen of Judea were tested in the search for the best materials and technologies to . Even though photographs were successfully made with the use of each of the above and processes such as the cyanotype, the platinotype, the oilprint, gum bichromate or carbon transfer enjoyed a considerable career and are used by artists till this day, it was silver that proved the absolute winner and its salts have been used in all of the most popular photographic processes not only of those days but also of the twentieth century when the dominance of silver based photography became absolute.

This is why the longest and most intensive workshop I offer is devoted to photographic processes using silver. During the six days three participants will have a one of time opportunity not only to observe the development of photography  from the talbotype until the development of  photographic emulsions but will, above all, have an opportunity to gain an in depth understanding of all the leading processes of that time as well as to master their use and to take and print photographs with their help.

“Above all, silver” is a truly unique workshop during which we will become true researchers, adventurers in the realm of photography discovering, testing. Mastering and modifying old historical processes. Unlike during the shorter workshops devoted to single processes, we will approach old photography as a whole, as a coherent system of interconnected phenomena and processes which will in turn allow for a more in depth understanding. Especially as we won’t limit ourselves either to negative or print making processes but will learn both, first making the negatives and then printing them to make positives, or as they used to be called, proofs. This will offer an opportunity to understand the relationships between the two.

We will start with the oldest processes, that is with the salted paper stabilised with other salts the way it was originally done by Talbot and his paper negatives (Calotype) in order to trace the modifications of both processes allowing to produce more transparent negatives of higher speed as well as to improve the colour and contrast of the prints. We will learn to modify the papers with glues such as starch, gelatine, carrageenan, as well as ways to tone, fix and wash the prints.

Following the development of silver based photography, we will learn to make albumen, collodio-albumen and above all wet and dry plate collodion negatives as well as ambrotypes. We will learn to varnish and hand colour them as well as to strengthen the negatives in order to give them the required density.

Finally, we will learn to create and use the most basic photographic emulsions, the silver gelatine and collodion POP emulsions and we will learn to make and use papers with their use.

The workshop will be concluded by learning the basic rules of matting and framing pictures in order to ensure their maximum longevity as well as safe exhibiting and storage.

What processes will be covered during the workshop:

  • Calotype
  • Salted paper along with its modifications
  • Albumen print
  • Albumen negative
  • Wetplate collodion – ambrotype
  • Wetplate collodion – wetplate negative
  • Collodion dryplate
  • Collodion POP emulsion
  • Silver gelatine POP emulsion

What else will you learn during the workshop:

  • Large format photography
  • Introduction to gallery framing
  • History of the development of photographic technology in the 19th century
  • Basics of negative retouching

What will be provided during the workshop:

  • All necessary materials and tools
  • Access to large format cameras
  • Professional darkroom of approx 30 square yards
  • Accommodation in single rooms at the workshop location
  • Food
  • Detailed handout

Who the workshop is for:

The workshop is, above all, directed to all photographers passionate about alternative and historical photographic processes. It will prove suitable both for participants who have already worked with some of the historical processes, who will appreciate the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and to put it in a broader context as well as for beginners who will receive all the necessary support. The workshop will also prove valuable to conservators, students of conservation, academics, collection managers as well as teachers of photography who will benefit from the in depth knowledge they will acquire during the six days spent in my lab.

How many participants may join the workshop

The workshop will be very intensive and will cover a considerable range of topics which means the number of people who can take part in it must be very limited so that appropriate care and attention can be offered to each of them. This is why the number of participants is limited to three, the number which will allow each participant to get as much practice as they may want.

Tutor: Radosław Brzozowski

Price: 6500 PLN (approx 1300 eu)

Duration: 48h (6 days)

Date: 26 June-1 July 2023

Location: Trąbki Wielkie, Poland

Nearest airport: Lech Wałęsa Airport in Gdańsk Rębiechowo

Link to buy: https://www.alternativephotographicsupplies.com/Above-all-Silver-p374

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