U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Edmund Teske and solarization

Edmund Teske and solarization

Good morning,
Last night I went through a great book on Edmund Teske--Spirit into Matter, the Photographs of Edmund Teske. It had some wonderful examples of his solarized prints, including a comparison of a couple of non-solarized and then solarized of the same image.

We talked about Teske solarizations starting back in maybe 2005--and Grace Taylor graciously sent me some articles that she had in her files.

Teske's work really speaks to me, personally--it is evocative, and he was a man doin' his thing at a time it wasn't quite respected. In fact, he did his first solarization in 1958. But then in the 60's stuff started being a bit more experimental. Suffice it to say in imagery and process he was ahead of his time. Apparently Getty has a lot of his work.

These are the process notes (below) I have on Teske that I put in my Chromoskedasic chapter in the Experimental Workbook. However, in retrospect, I really should not have put them in that chapter because his process is really what I call "painting with light" where you only partially fix the print and then expose it to strong light and let the colors appear until they look good and then fix fully. Chromoskedasic uses chemistry to achieve the colors (ammonium thiocyanate and potassium hydroxide). However, it is possible since he is not draining well between steps that there is still some chemical contamination between developer and stop and fixer that occurs, I suppose.

This is on my mind because my class did the gang lab sabattier this week with Rainwater developer (thanks Judy) and duotone sabattier with the potassium bromide added to the second tray. They got some great work immediately, and even though you can press a button in Photoshop to achieve similar effects, it is just not the same as the darkroom way, IMHO.

Directions: Make a high contrast print with a 4 or 5 filter. Develop in regular paper developer until the image appears. Place the print without draining immediately in stop bath (1 part 28% Kodak acetic acid stop to 32 parts water) for one second. Immediately drain and put in a fixer bath for one second (1 part fixer to 6 parts water). Then, lay the print on a flat surface and expose to bright light (150w for 20 seconds 2 feet away). When the colors look right, fix, wash and dry as per usual.

The writing in the Teske book is also worth reading, too, especially for alt listers into the handmade.

Anyone here know him? Steve Shapiro? I guess he was a pretty odd duck.

Christina Z. Anderson
Assistant Professor, Photo Option Coordinator
Montana State University, VCB 220
Box 173350
Bozeman Montana 59718