U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Freeform gum

Freeform gum

On Sep 17, 2007, at 1:10 PM, Bruce Campbell wrote:

Katharine and others on the Alt Photo List

Per our recent discussions regarding "freeform" gum prints, your e mail comment---- quote ---"But that's the cool thing about gum printing, is that like painters, we can think about these questions of how colors work together, and like painters, we could even choose colors that work together in ways that suit our purpose, rather than represent the actual colors if they don't" and your other e mail comment ----quote "in gum printing we have the option to express an image in whatever colors we want to use (more like a painter than a
photographer" ) sounds to me that this print may be an example of a "freeform" gum print.
Bruce, I'd like to separate this topic if I may from the discussion about Charles's print, since my remark quoted above wasn't intended to refer to Charles's print particularly but was a general and peripheral remark that spun off from comments I was making about his print.

But yes, after thinking about it, I am willing to consider that my earlier definition of "freeform gum" (as a gum print made with one negative and more than one color, separating the colors either by selective application of the color on different areas of the print, or by using different colors for the shadows and highlights and separating them by exposure, or by selective removal of color during development) may have been too narrow, probably narrower than the understanding many people have of the term.

I understand that for many people, "freeform gum" means any gum print that has more than one color that is not strictly a "tricolor" or "four color" gum print, in the sense that color separations are used and process-like colors are chosen to reproduce the original colors in the scene as accurately as possible. By this description, at least 99% of gum prints would have to be considered "freeform" I think, since very few if any of us take up gum printing as a way to achieve accurate color reproductions. By this definition, a color print that's made with color separations but with arbitrarily chosen pigments to produce a creatively chosen color palette, as I've described in the quoted passage above, could well be called a freeform gum. Since my earlier definition seems to have been idiosyncratic, although it still makes sense to me, I'll broaden my understanding of the term as described. Thanks,