[alt-photo] Re: chromo vs chemigram

Christina Anderson zphoto at montana.net
Tue Jan 11 16:47:28 GMT 2011

> So in my view the chromoskedasic effects should be seen as effects of
> modification, but not of essence.  In fact, their effects, at the
> microscopic level, are continuous with those of standard developer and
> fixer.  The devil is in the details of course...
> Douglas Collins

Please excuse this verrrrry long email, Doug, but maybe you can make some sense of it all.

Can't WAIT to read your article in PhotoTechnique.

Aha, Doug, perhaps I can agree with you there. The effects of modification but not of essence--the essence being to achieve colors on normally monochrome BW paper by managing silver particle size. 

But the modification seems very distinct in colors derived and in not requiring light per se.

If I were to organize the ESSENCE as the chapter heading Chemigrams and the modifications as the subheadings I would then also include: Lumenprints, Silver Mirror Printing, Making BW paper POP, Duotone solarization...etc.. and maybe that is what I should do! 

I am also intrigued by Judy Seigel's article in Post Factory #3 p. 28 where she talks about the article she found on "Silver Mirrors on Photographic Layers" by M. Plotnikow of Zagreb in a Swedish magazine, Svensk Fotografisk Tidskrift 37, nr 1, 13, 1947. silver mirror printing, a modification therefore by this definition of chromo/chemical fogging, has been around since at least then, presuming the writer of the article could have even perhaps learned the process from someone else and so on and so forth.

I've been contemplating silver mirror printing's relation to all this, too; the way I practice it is a form of chromo, with activator and stabilizer, but if I go the Swedish route that uses those other chems, this seems to be another branch off chromo. Same result, different chems.

My guess is that since gelatin silver paper was in existence, it is possible someone chemically or light-fogged paper, but when did they decide it was a GOOD thing?

Nowadays there is so much we can know via the internet. Back then it is doubtful the photographic community was so seemingly small, especially internationally. Who knows who was doing these things in Japan, for instance. Lam wasn't even a photographer when he discovered his process and probably was not in that circle of communication....

I have been told, it is odious practice to try to determine who did what first in photography as it seems to be a field that has the same discovery happening in different places at once. But I do want to give credit where credit is due.

Then there's the issue of who carries the process to perfection, which Cordier has unequivocally done (and has Lam).  Cordier can certainly be credited as the one who has continually practiced his art since the 1950's. I can't wait to get his book. Thanks for the heads up on that.

Kesting, Chargesheimer, don't know about them! Oh no, more rabbit holes...I do have Teske's book and Teske's process according to Jolly is written here:

Chapter 6.

Interesting convo, and I am glad you challenged my organization because it gets me thinking even further about what came from what, in a good way. It is truly a branching tree, but it seems with many roots simultaneously feeding the whole. I often wonder as a teacher where my info will end up. OH, well, actually, I can't say I even discovered Burchfield's Lumenprints, for instance--it was a STUDENT who brought them to MY attention (Amy Trebella).

Burchfield, Jerry, "Darkroom Art," Amphoto, New York, 1981 also. Burchfield learned from Teske I think. Teske taught this stuff. Those pesky teachers...wish I had been working on all this while Burchfield was alive and I could ask him.

Here's a great reference list in Jolly's solarization article:

AND, one practioner's website: dennymoers.com, is a must-see.Truly beautiful work with actual images. Interestingly he responded to my questions with this answer:

1.  ...My work is a process of Chromo fogging of the (Silver Chloride print) at its source.  However, most all my work is subsequently 'selectively toned' with metal toners--Gold Chloride, Selenium, Sulfide.  I don't use any hand-coloring, activators or stabilizers of any kind.  My earliest work, is pure 'light fogging' of the emulsion from about 1974-1980. I just use normal black and white chemistry and photo paper. 
2. My involvement in this process stems from hight school in Los Angeles, (1967-1971) where my high school photo teacher, (Arnold Rubinoff) once showed us that if we took a partially fixed print outside, the sunlight would change the tone of the print.  I got the bug then and there.  His teacher was Edmond Teske so there is the lineage on my work.  I believe that Teske's process and what I do are not only a direct link but also very similar.  Thiocyanate is a chemical in the Gold Chloride process of toning that I use, (this creates both the deep blues and also reds within some of my work).

So here you have someone who DOESN'T use activator/stabilizer but in gold toning there is thiocyanate, which is also in stabilizer, and hence his beautiful deep blue in his sky. I thought for sure he hand colored that in, but he didn't!!

I have an offlist offer of setting up a teleconference if visiting Hong Kong is out of the question. OR maybe France???? Pipe dream, as I sit here in well-below zero weather. And I shouldn't be thinking that far ahead as I need to actually prepare for classes tomorrow :)


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