[Alt-photo] IS IT ALT?

`Richard Knoppow dickburk at ix.netcom.com
Tue Nov 13 22:14:11 UTC 2018

    An extremely interesting question. To me alternative printing 
methods are those other than "silver gelatin". The presence of 
absence of silver is, to me, not the determining factor since 
processes such as salt prints contain silver. The use of 
extensive retouching goes back probably as far as photography 
itself. When Daguerreotypes were the main process they were often 
hand colored. Hand coloring was popular in the 1930s, 1940s, 
1950s, at least until real color prints could be made fairly 
economically. The coloring varied from fairly crude tinting to 
very elaborate overpainting with oils, essentially using the 
photo as a cartoon for the final picture. At some point I wonder 
if these stop being photographs in the strictest sense. I rather 
think that the worked up versions of your photos may fit in this 
    Most alternative printing methods use some sort of light 
sensitive coating that either produces an image or can be treated 
with a pigment or dye to produce an image but there are others 
that are not strictly photographic. A trick I read about and 
tried a long time ago was making pencil prints. A negative is 
projected in an enlarger onto drawing paper. Pencils are used to 
fill in the brighter portions until the overall result is dark. 
When removed from the enlarger the paper will have a full scale 
(tonal scale that is) version of the image on it. Takes a lot of 
work and skill. Mine were rather crude but demonstrated the 
process. I think this is a true alternative printing method. On 
the other side were the very extensively worked up prints made by 
William Mortensen. Lots of art work on the print. These were 
based on conventional silver-gelatin prints and to me do not 
qualify as alternative. Mortensen did work in alternative methods 
particularly three color carbon. I have a rather higher opinion o 
of him than many although he was certainly a bit of a fraud.
     I am getting off topic.
     I envy you your adventures and accomplishments.

On 11/8/2018 8:59 AM, ROBERT KISS via Alt-photo-process-list wrote:
> A curious question:  Does the fact that Richard Bernstein did airbrush, hand brush, colored pencil, and acetate overlays on top of the black and white photos we made for INTERVIEW covers make those "alt photo"?  Do we consider hand painted photos alt photo?

Richard Knoppow
dickburk at ix.netcom.com

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