[Alt-photo] the alt family tree

Christina Z. Anderson christinazanderson at gmail.com
Tue Jul 18 14:33:13 UTC 2017


Dick, I would never have figured Brooks to be a hotbed of alt! 
Eric, I don’t know about how to set up a database, but I’ll tell you what interests me: these pockets of alt that spring up in this or that country, state, region, that had to have a beginning somewhere. But you are absolutely right, now with the internet everyone can learn alt from YouTube, say. This has changed so much since the 60s if not the 90s even! Right now I am making a list of key texts and people. Don’t really know the end of this avenue of thinking. So far I have a list of 70, and one interesting observation is the male to female ratio. Females only about 33%.
Henry, Keepers of Light, me, too!
Paula, thanks for Luis’ name.
Rowan, there seem to be quite a few people from the Netherlands practicing alt and isn’t there a book by W. H Idzerda on gum printing in Dutch that you could locate?
Jennifer, I did  not have Martha on there so now I will.
Thanks so far to those of you who have responded,
Chris

> On Jul 17, 2017, at 9:26 AM, Richard Sullivan <sullivan8486 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Chris,
> 
> I believe he was the one who wrote it. It was written after I studied with him which was in the early 70's. The book you mention  is 1981. 
> 
> As for learning old processes my favorite haunt for info was the UCLA research library. In that time, you needed a stack pass to get to the books and to get one you needed to be a grad student. I noticed there was a "Door Nazi" guarding entrance to the stacks and the key was a library card with the work "Stack" stamped in inch high letters on the back. So I got a big gum eraser, borrowed a friends card and traced the word onto my eraser and stamped my card. Ooops.I just failed printmaking 101. It came out backwards so I had to get another card and do it all over again. The second one worked like a charm. Once past the Door Nazi  with my forged pass I would find the photography section and sit on the floor and browse the books and make copies at a nickel a page. This was in the late 60's. The copy machines were not modern Xerox style but made some sepia  prints that hand a pervasive sulfur stink. My notebook got rilly big. I loaned it to a student of mine at Brooks who was doing her masters in alt processes. She had to have an adjunct professor as no one at Brooks knew squat about platinum and gum etc, and she found me. She was supposed to pay me but since I was getting a free research assistant I didn't charge her. My precious book of stinky copies disappeared to Australia as she suddenly had to go home as her father was dying I never heard from her again or my book. Weird. Never mind the book, I now have over 750,000 pages of old books and journals in my indexed archive that is  Regex searchable.
> 
> As odd as it sounds, Brooks was a hotbed of alt photography in the 80's and 90's. Brooks was known for no nonsense technical craft, there was a healthy underground movement there -- they even had a "Fine Art Club" that I would drive up from LA to Santa Barbara and give lecture and demo to the club once in a while.
> 
> Early on in the early 1980's  I had Nitza Luna as a student who was also working on her Masters at Brooks. She is now heading up the photography department in San Juan Puerto Rico at Colegio Universtario del Sagrado Corazon [Sacred Heart University. Also known as USC!] I give the full name as much online about her is in Spanish. If anyone is interested in Caribbean workers in alt, she is the key figure. Nitza is also in both the Platypus Portfolios of the early 1980's.
> 
> In the Spanish speaking world there is also Julio Galindo in Mexico City who is also key to infecting people with our disease. 
> 
> http://prabook.com/web/person-view.html?profileId=771430 <http://prabook.com/web/person-view.html?profileId=771430>
> http://www.blurb.com/books/1130734-nitza-luna <http://www.blurb.com/books/1130734-nitza-luna>
> http://fundacionangelramos.org/proyectos-especiales/297-nitza-luna-el-ojo-de-lo-sencillo.html <http://fundacionangelramos.org/proyectos-especiales/297-nitza-luna-el-ojo-de-lo-sencillo.html>
> 
> -dick
> 
> On Sun, Jul 16, 2017 at 6:16 PM, Christina Z. Anderson via Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org <mailto:alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>> wrote:
> Thanks for this, Dick!
> 
> So who did you learn kallitype from, if before MacDonald?
> 
> Was Jack McDonald the one who wrote:
> 1.     McDonald, John and Melba Smith Cole. How to Make Old-Time Photos. Blue Ridge Summit: Tab books, 1981.
> 
> Chris
> 
> 
> > On Jul 16, 2017, at 2:32 PM, Richard Sullivan <sullivan8486 at gmail.com <mailto:sullivan8486 at gmail.com>> wrote:
> >
> > Christina,
> >
> > You are on to something interesting. However, I do believe the genealogy goes back to the original sources and this is especially so with the texts. The chain in most cases was never really broken. I learned much from a man named Jack MacDonald, who ran a school of alt photography in Inglewood Ca. in approx 1968. Jack taught at Mortensen's School in Laguna Beach Ca that goes back to the 20's or at least the 30's. Jack was working in many processes and teaching them as well.
> >
> > Melody and I officially hung out our single in 1980 selling pt and pd materials but I was working much earlier in Kallitype, even before I met MacDonald and then when I started selling pt and pd material there were a handful of older and a few existing  younger workers in platinum. I was doing gum in 1967 but there were others lurking about.
> >
> > I think what the critical link is being able to get materials. As for platinum etc, the early modern source was Elegant Images which existed for several years. They went defunct and then we hung out our shingle and  for a few months or so there was a company called Blue Mountain supplies or something like that. (I am at an age were when I learn something new I have to forget something old, and I've learned a lot of new things lately!)
> >
> > Of course the keystone issue holding up the modern renaissance in early processes was Keeper of Light.
> >
> > Big industry is and was a problem. Just checked a company on the price of quinacridone magenta. Minimum order 50 lbs at $6,000.00. You can either buy a little bit at a very high price or a whole lot but not much in between.
> >
> > --Dick Sullivan
> >
> > On Sun, Jul 16, 2017 at 10:43 AM, Christina Z. Anderson via Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org <mailto:alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> <mailto:alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org <mailto: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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> >
> 
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