[Alt-photo] the alt family tree

Henry Rattle henry.rattle at ntlworld.com
Mon Jul 17 18:51:19 UTC 2017

Dear Christina and all,

A very short story – around 1980 I was looking round the bookshop in London’s Photographer’s Gallery, and found Keepers of Light. Hooked!

Best wishes


On 16/07/2017, 17:43, "Alt-photo-process-list on behalf of Christina Z. Anderson via Alt-photo-process-list" <alt-photo-process-list-bounces at lists.altphotolist.org on behalf of alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:

    Dear All,
    A few years ago SPE (Society of Photographic Education) was working out this photography family tree thing, where members would write in who taught them photography. I thought it was an interesting proposition, even though most of us have several moms and dads so to speak so the final tree trunk might not be just one set of “parents.” 
    An MFA in photography is a comparatively new field as compared to other arts, but even other arts had schools of training and thought (e.g. Bauhaus).
    So that got me thinking about the key texts (and mentors, teachers, people) who influenced me in alt over the years. And it also got me to thinking about alt list members over the years, who’s still on, who still posts, that kind of thing. 
    And then I’ve noticed lately “pockets” of alt in different countries and wondered who was at the foundations of those movements. It had to start somewhere. Where did Mrhar come from? 
    Whatever the case, alt seems to be a burgeoning movement, unlike in the 60s or 70s where it was decidedly not mainstream.
    Anyway, it is an interesting conversation to think about, our forefathers and foremothers.
    Perhaps all contemporary collodion, for instance, leads back to Osterman or Coffer? Salt leads back to Reilly (1980)? Gum to Scopick?
    William Crawford’s text and then Scopick’s were at my foundation, but then Airey, House, Arnow, Blacklow, Hahn (who was influenced by Henry Holmes Smith), Nettles, Van Keuren…and then later Enfield, James, Farber, Barnier.
    I’d love to hear input from others as to their influences, perhaps too long a conversation for the summer vacation months! I decided to make a list of which I will share when I feel it is comprehensive. Wouldn’t want to miss someone because they weren’t on my personal radar.
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