U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Attn Chris + All Creart enthusiasts.A message from Pierre Duncan.

Re: Attn Chris + All Creart enthusiasts.A message from Pierre Duncan.

While I agree that one never knows whether one is seeing something close to the original when looking at web reproductions, I'd say that given that he explains in the text that he uses earth pigments, I would be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is the aesthetic he intended to achieve. If he wanted brighter colors, he could choose brighter pigments; if he wanted more contrast; he could choose pigments that give more contrast than earth pigments. As he apparently chose the earth pigments deliberately, I am willing to accept that's the look he was after. You can like it or not like it, but to me it seems rather presumptuous to dictate that it "should" look some other way than it looks. As I said, I could be wrong; the web reproduction could be way off from the original, but I see no reason on the face of it, especially given his pigment choices, to assume that the originals look very different from the reproductions with regard to brightness of color and to value contrast.

The "dense magenta" you note in the borders looks to me exactly like burnt umber, which I assume is what it is, given his designation of earth pigments as his pigments of choice. Also, if I'm reading the text right, the process seems to allow for only two layers, so you couldn't expect a full color look from this process. I actually find this look rather appealing; I've long enjoyed using a similar two- color combination of burnt umber and blue (either Prussian or ultramarine) to create both paintings and gum prints, Here's an example of one of those two-color gum prints:


I prefer a soft unsaturated look to bright colors with sharp contrast; that's why I took up gum printing in the first place, because I abhor the saturated look of commercially available color printing processes, and wanted a process where I could choose to desaturate both the color and the contrast. I had to work to get the look I was after; my first color prints were brighter and more contrasty than I had in mind, but the thing about gum is that it does whatever you want it to do; you just have to adjust your practice, particularly your pigment choice and pigment concentration, to achieve your aesthetic preference.

I find the lockstep ideology that says photographs should all look the same, very tiresome. The photographs that are interesting to me are the ones that aren't afraid to take the road less traveled, or blaze their own path. I don't care very much for Creart or for any proprietary process, but let's at least give the guy the benefit of the doubt and assume that he knows what he wants his work to look like.

My 2 cents.

On May 27, 2007, at 3:25 PM, Richard Knoppow wrote:

----- Original Message ----- From: "Christina Z. Anderson" <zphoto@montana.net>
To: "Alt, List" <alt-photo-process-L@usask.ca>
Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2007 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: Attn Chris + All Creart enthusiasts.A message from Pierre Duncan.

                    I do like his images, though. Do you?
John - Photographist - London - UK


Hmmmm....I don't like to judge others' work online much, but...

I am biased to the gum process and these look a little low
contrast and multicolor in a somewhat drab way, but then again when you
photograph gums they also look crummier than in real life because of the way
the glossy gum diffracts light.

The internet is really sometimes a pain--either images look way better than
they are in person, or worse. I know Carl Weese, for instance, "mimics" his
ziatypes for online presentation because there is no way to get an adequate
delicacy of detail online.

The fact that Perera is showing places must mean they look intriguing in
person. And they are large, it looks like...

The process is supposedly less toxic but I don't know what the hardener is
to make it so.

I also wonder what we are seeing. I note that all the samples on the web site have rather dense magenta-ish borders. I saved the large image of the woman with a bucket and adjusted it in Photoshop. After adjusting it looks quite good. The histograms look peculiar. It sure would be interesting to know what the originals look like.
BTW, you might get better results in photographing work with surface reflection by using polarized light and a polarizing filter on the camera. This is a standard technique in copying. Both light source and camera polarizers are adjusted to minimize the surface reflections.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA