[Alt-photo] the alt family tree

John Brewer john at johnbrewerphotography.com
Sun Jul 30 17:05:46 UTC 2017

Hi All

My introduction to alt was in 1998 when I found the wonderfully titled The
Keepers of Light like many of you. My first attempt at making an alt image
was a gum print. The print was made from a 5x4 film negative that was
under-exposed by 1/2 stop but the print was fantastic, I still have it. For
the next six months could I make another one? No! Then slowly gum started
to work. I think this was partly due to keeping detailed notes and printing
in a more holistic way.

>From there I tried several other processes in Crawford but it was always
gum that I liked the best. I then found Skopick 2nd ed and fine tuned my
gum practice.

During the early 2000's I was a fairly active member on APUG as was
involved in several print exchanges and wanted to try
platinum/palladium printing. On APUG was another person in the UK, Carl
Radford who was also interested in Pt/Pd. Carl organised a workshop around
2008 I think with Kerik who flew over to the UK with his family. All of us
on the workshop stayed at Carl's house in Glasgow. The evening before the
workshop Kerik displayed some of his stunning Pt/Pd prints from both film
and digital negatives. In amongst the prints Kerik was showing was a
tintype. None of us on the workshop had ever seen anything like this so
Kerik returned the following year to teach wetplate....

I joined the list around 1999 and The European Traveling Portfolio early


> 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.
> 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,
> 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

John Brewer
workshops:equipment sales:chemistry sales

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