[Alt-photo] the alt family tree

rowan Bloemhof bloemhofster at gmail.com
Mon Jul 17 20:10:49 UTC 2017

Dear Christina,

As a relatively young 'member' of the alt process community I thought it
might be interesting to share my perspective. About 4 years ago when I was
21 I started taking up analog photography, and really enjoying the whole
physical approach to photography that it offered. On this I was mostly
instructed by my father whose dark room equipment I 'inherited', at some
point he mentioned this obscure printing process called gum bichromates,
showing me a little instructional flyer he once received at a conference
some 30 years earlier. I was instantly fascinated and decided to give it a
try, i obtained all the materials and started to experiment with laser
printed negatives. Much to my dismay I found it much more complicated and
hard than I imagined. So I started to do more research online and stumbled
across the writings of the late Katherine Thayer. It were her instructions
that helped me get the results I needed to push on.

Sadly I couldn't find any local teachers or people offering workshops on
any alternative process. And financially it would have been impossible for
me to visit the states to participate in workshops. So I had to make due
with whatever I could find on the internet. So in essence it were the
articles written by people like you, Katherine Thayer and Mike Ware that
allowed me to learn a range of processes. Also the help I received from
Philip Schwartz and Sandy King on the carbon printing forum was phenomenal.

Anyway although I cannot offer any names you might otherwise miss in your
family tree, I did want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude
for the warm and welcoming way in which everyone here invites newcomers
like me to learn the ropes. And hopefully one day pass on that knowledge to
a next generation. I have participated in many internet communities over
the years, but none as cordial as that of the alt photo community.

Rowan Bloemhof

On 16 July 2017 at 18:43, Christina Z. Anderson via Alt-photo-process-list <
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.
> Chris
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