Back to the Beginning…

LoneTreeTransferimage transfer on stone paper

I thought I’d go back to the early stages of my interest in handmade printing. Since 1998 I had been printing exclusively with 100% digital output. As technology improved the prints became more and more refined and beautiful, but somehow I wasn’t satisfied. During a several year long period I actually gave up photography and became a painter – pastels, acrylics and mixed media. I enjoyed the tactile, hands-on quality of the work that I found missing with photography in the modern world.

For a variety of reasons I gave up painting and returned to being a photographer. But I never lost my love of working with my hands, making something unique, the textural possibilities of different mediums. So I began to seek that in photography. It was challenging as most photographic printing I knew about was very 2 dimensional and technology driven. How could I find a way to make the work uniquely mine?

I discovered a cool book called Digital Art Studio written by 3 women who were experimenting with combining digital printing with various traditional and mixed media techniques to create handmade one-of-a-kind prints. I became  very interested in image transfers and began to output some of my classical landscape shots in that way.

laguna-trasnfer-2image transfer on stone paper

The process involves printing your digital file on a special (transparent) transfer sheet on a pigment inkjet printer. The sheet has a special coating that, when mixed with some special chemistry, allows the ink to lift off and transfer almost completely to another surface. After coating the printed image (or the receptor paper) with the chemistry, I place the sheet with the image face down on the receptor, wait several minutes, and peel the transfer sheet away.

This is where the “magic” happens. Each transfer is different and usually has artifacts or flaws – which is what you want and what gives the unique character to the piece. The last thing you want is a perfect transfer! Not every transfer works – there is a high failure rate, especially while learning the process.

For this type of subject matter I liked using something called Stone Paper as the receptor for the image. It actually is not paper at all but a composite of limestone and resin. It’s quite heavy and completely non-absorbent. So the pigment ink sits completely on the surface resulting in very rich pure color and blacks. It also takes a long time to dry!

You can find out all about this process and the materials needed in the book Digital Alchemy.

This was my starting point to a much wider world of experimental and alternative process photography. I was hooked!

Next time I’ll talk about the next stage in my evolution down this path.

 

Advertisements

One response to “Back to the Beginning…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s