U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | bromoil boot camp

bromoil boot camp

Dear All,
I am finally done with my wonderful 2 weeks in the North
Carolina mountains--at Penland 
School where David Lewis taught a bromoil intensive.

First, the school is excellent--the food, a full 3 meals a
day, is worth the stay.  It is out in the middle of buck
nowhere, so the chance to do your art full time is perfect.
Most of us 10 students worked from 9 AM to about midnight
every day.  

David was a trooper as well as a total HOOT.  He stayed up
with us almost every night.  I did notice cocktail hour out
on the patio of the photo lab getting sooner and sooner each
night as the group warmed up to one another!

All 10 of us got "exhibition" quality bromoils in that span
of time--in fact most of us got about 10-15 prints done to
satisfaction.  We learned to start small and work up to
bigger ones.  I learned in several days enough to leave the
workshop and feel I got my money's worth.  I really enjoyed
David's dedication to teaching us. Of course, I started
experimenting around with all kinds of Chrissie-techniques
heheheheheh...no wonder he had to start cocktail hour early.

One ingenious thing i will share with the group--he hit upon
Kirkland Ink Jet Paper available at Costco as being a
perfect digital negative substrate for bromoil.  I thought
it might be less sharp or whatnot (show paper fibers, etc.)
but I'll be darned--I calibrated bromoil while there on an
Epson 1280 printer (I missed my 2400) a la PDN, got a curve,
exposure time at F8 was about 26 seconds at the enlarger
height I was using (135mm lens) so certainly times were not
excessive.  The bromoils were as sharp as ever.  And in the
span of time I could print out 20 (!) different digital
negatives and go in the darkroom, press the enlarger button
for a 26 second exposure and  develop, the others were
dinking around with one image or two and test strips.  A
plug for digital.

At 17 cents a sheet of 8.5x11 this is a STEAL compared to
Pictorico. David is going to try to see if the manufacturer
would produce bigger sizes of this substrate, but the name
of the manufacturer is not on the box except that the
company is in Switzerland.

One more thing--those with limited resources can apply to
assist at Penland and get room and board and the workshop
for free.  I will not say it is easy--I am pretty
exhausted--but the price is right.  You can also work-study
there for a session and the same applies but the much
cushier position is teaching assistant because you do not
miss classtime to prepare meals and such as the work-study
students have to.  If I was younger, work study would be
fine.  Many of the people are returning students so the
experience is certainly life-changing in ways and quite

Assistant Professor of Photography
Photography Option Coordinator
Montana State University
College of Arts and Architecture
Department of Media and Theatre Arts, Room 220
P.O. Box 173350
Bozeman, MT 59717-3350
Tel (406) 994 6219