Insentient Portrait Series, 2011
Antique malls are ever-changing “cabinets are curiosity” for me. I particularly enjoy the personalities of each booth and how they are displayed. Within these booths, I find that the mannequins, dolls, and statues that live within these spaces are dramatis personae – not just objects on a shelf. Like humans, some have a long-term or permanent role to play and some are unsettled, filling a position for only a brief period of time. The one thing they have in common is the vendor of the booth. The vendor is the master that controls the role(s) they are to play. Although I like to call these spaces “found scenes”, the act of photography essentially changes the scene from a still life to a portrait of that character in its habitat.
This series of portraits is an exploration of the identity of these inanimate figures brought to life by their role in life, and how the viewer draws on the clues and their own interpretation to create meaning.
Shot with Twin Lens Medium Format Camera
Silver Gelatin Fiber Paper
Gum Bichromate printing is an alternative process that allows you to print as many or few colors as you prefer, using watercolor pigment. Here are a few trial prints and how they look after each color pass. Each pass consists of coating the paper with sensitized pigment solution, drying, contact print exposure under UV light, development, and drying.
Cyan Pass using Cyanotype & Yellow Pass
(with Gum Bichromate printing you can use Cyanotype for the Cyan Pass in lieu of a blue pigment)
Magenta and Black Pass
(The Black Pass tends to stay very light. You can build any color up with multiple passes)
Final Cyan Pass with Cyanotype
(In a smaller print the cyanotype responded nicely, these were 3″ x 4″. The cyanotype can have a tendency to bead up on larger surfaces that have a lot of gum built up).
This is a trial print in which I was working with curves and a different method for preparing my digital negatives in attempt to get more detail in the hair and face.
Cyan Pass using Cyanotype
Black Pass (The method I was trying did not work well on this seperation negative. It did not block the highlights and muddied down the print).
Final Cyan Pass (Cyanotype. This is an example on how the Cyanotype may not work well on larger prints. This is around 7″ x 11″ and you can see areas in which the cyanotype beaded up). You will also be able to see that this method compared to the image below, can produce flat flat/dull results. I have not tried to build the colors up with multiple passes … that may be the answer to producing a richer look.
This is the “summertide” print using gum for each layer, including the Cyan pass. The exposure time was a lot higher as well. While I find the rich quality to be absolutely gorgeous, I lose the detail because the pigment layers begin to block up. In the mean time, I’ll continue to work to find a happy medium between the above print and this print.