U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: More to see in NYC (Hint: Sookang Kim)

Re: More to see in NYC (Hint: Sookang Kim)

On Jan 15, 2009, at 4:39 AM, Keith Gerling wrote:

I'm not being skeptical here, as I certainly trust your impressions,
but why the need for 5 coats of one color?  What do you think
physically is different about a print when the pigment is added in
small doses?  Not that it isn't intriguing...

Keith, I spent some time in the early 00s exploring the problem of printing very delicate high-key images using very little pigment. I can't claim to have done anything spectacular like Sookang Kim's work, but what I learned in this exploration was that it was necessary to print several layers of the very pale coatings in order to build up definition, tone and contrast. You can do a one-coat of a more pigmented mix and get definition and contrast in one coat, but if you print just one layer of a very diluted mix you just get something very wimpy, almost invisible. I printed this way exclusively for about four years (I call it my "minimalist" period) and I used anywhere from 3-8 layers of gum for each print. A couple of examples:


Using several layers of a very lightly pigmented mix gives you a very different effect than using one coat of a more pigmented mix, for reasons I explain here, under the heading "smoothness of tonal gradation and pigment concentration."