U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Gum on Masa

Re: Gum on Masa

Outstanding! Keith, these are incredible. I need to spend more time looking at each one, and I wish I could spend an afternoon in a room with all of them together, but I think this may be the best example I've ever seen of marrying a subject to the gum medium. This is what gum is for.

The more photographic ones, like 17, 61, 64, I don't find so interesting, though the technique is superb. I like the ones that exploit the capabilities of gum to take it beyond the limits of photography and express something that might not have been communicated using a different process. Like 55, 56, 43, 36c, for starters. Thanks so much for sharing these,

On Mar 17, 2008, at 6:40 AM, kerik@kerik.com wrote:


Wow!! What a beautiful body of work. The prints are beutiful as are the
images. I'm am floored by your prolificacy. I am curious when you started
this group of prints??


Original Message:
From: Keith Gerling keith.gerling@gmail.com
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 07:30:02 -0600
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: Gum on Masa

I've been making gum photos on Masa paper.. Here is a link to some
current work featuring dancers:


Yes, too many - I'm still editing. As is usually the case with
on-line gums, only a resemblance seems to exist between the displayed
image and the actual print. Here is a close-up to demonstrate


As I have only used alternative substrates for the last 5 years
(mostly aluminum and gessoed tar paper) it took me awhile to get the
hang of printing on paper, especially a paper as thin as Masa, I had
to re-learn the entire gumprinting process and to make the learning
curve especially tricky I also am using inkjet negatives for the first
time in nearly nine years. The Masa I purchase comes in sheets of
21x31, large enough for a decent sized print and cut in half provides
almost the same perspective, so there is little waste (which isn't an
issue anyway because it is so cheap). These are all gum over
cyanotype and are 12x18 inches on half sheets. They were printed with
baby-oiled paper negatives. Some observations:

Masa is very thin, so on the positive side, it is 1) inexpensive, 2)
very easy to register multiple layers, 3) very fast to dry.

On the negative side, it is very flimsy and thus difficult to handle
when wet. Also, and this is the biggest disadvantage I can see when
compared to other papers, it gets very disagreeable when one attempts
more than three layers of gum. I can do it, but it is certainly a
challenge I'm not a huge fan of using cyanotype as my blue layer,
but my usually practice of adding layer upon layer to build up density
is not an option. However, it takes a cyano layer very nicely, so
rich blacks can be had fairly easily.

I'm working now with full sized sheets and the results are very
promising. The biggest problem is keeping a larger oiled negative
registered while trying to place it under a piece of glass with a
sheet of mylar between the negative and the print. Much easier with a
smaller print where I can use a contact printing frame.


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