A Series of 10 images of the San Francisco/CA coast produced in Photo Gravure, an historic printing process
About the Project
As a child, my family was constantly on the move but I spent an impressionable year in Monterey and when I moved back to California as an adult, I knew I was finally home, near the sea. The sea has long been a place of mystery, of longing, of exploration of the unknown. It is the method by which we explore far-away lands and for those of us left behind it is the end of the road. Here in California, it is still wild and untamed, a place to love but to show great respect.
This body of work explores the fleeting moments experienced at the edge of the continent, at cliffside, when the wind roars and the fog rolls in and there is no more road to explore. The distinct edges are softened, the sounds heightened. The landscape is a dreamscape, more water than land. There is a wistful and nostalgic feel to the air and a longing here for what lies beyond the horizon and a reality that must be embraced when the fog descends.
As the project has evolved, there has been a directed choice to blend modern (plastic cameras, scanned negs and digital positives) and historic processes (copper plate, use of the etching press) to produce the series. I am interested in creating timeless images that could have been made at any time in the last 100 years but are also very modern in their aesthetic and intent.
My hope is that they have a universal appeal and tap into that deep seated relationship to the ocean that we seem to have as humans.
(9 of the 10 images from the series.)
How the images are made
This series of images are photographed with plastic cameras, whose soft vignetting adds to the dreamlike sensibilities, on traditional black and white film.
The image negatives are scanned and turned into film positives. They are then etched into copper plates which are inked up and printing on a press one at a time to produce hand-pulled photogravures.
There are 10 images in the series and the titles are drawn from 19th century poets, predominantly Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Edgar Allen Poe among others.
Each image is printed in an edition of 25 with 3 artists proofs on Fabriano Tiepolo 100% cotton rag paper.
5 sets of the prints will be collected into a custom box with frontice material including an artist statement, an image list, one of the poems and title sheet.
How your money will be used
- I will use the money to help pay for:
- the creation of copper plates
- steel plating those plates to minimize scratching
- paper for the entire edition & frontice material
- printing the edition (press rental)
- the custom box
- letterpress printing of the associated material for the folio portion of the project
These images started life in lo-tech cameras. As I have worked with them over the last year, I came to realize that producing the final images as digital prints felt flat and did them a disservice. Something was missing in the translation, something authentic and hand-crafted.
When I took a photogravure class and experienced the hands on process myself, I realized that this was the process that needed to be used to fully realize my vision. This is a very involved process, requiring attention at every step. The prints don’t come out the push of a button but only after several steps. At any point along the way the print could be ruined—a scratched plate, too much etch in the copper, too little etch in the copper, the wrong ink, too much or too little ink, bad pressure on the press, torn paper etc.
The care needed to make a print makes each print even more special and since each is made one at a time, inking the plate each time, every image is slightly different and unique.
What is Photogravure
Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking or photo-mechanical process whereby a copper plate is coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which had been exposed to a film positive, and then etched, resulting in a high quality intaglio print that can reproduce the detail and continuous tones of a photograph. (from Wikipedia)
Photogravure is the ultimate archival print. Photogravure is one of the earliest photographic methods (1850‘s) and is important in the history of photography and it’s acceptance as a fine art. It’s relation to etching and engraving as methods of duplication puts it in a long historical line of image making and was used extensively in the late 1800’s for book illustrations.
Adopted by the European Pictorialists at the turn of the century and the Secessionists here in the United States, photogravures by masters like Alfred Steiglitz, Edward Steichen and Paul Strand, among others, set the stage for photography to be accepted as a legitimate fine art medium.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Special $300 reward: I will give you and 4 other supporters at this level a special 3 hour alternative process workshop in my San Francisco based studio. We will make digital negatives and then create cyanotype images. You will walk away with one to two negatives for contact printing and up to 3 prints (depending on time). We will discuss photograms and contact printing, printing with a UV box and the sun and other techniques. Paper and chemicals provided.Estimated delivery:
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Limited edition boxed set of all 10 photogravure prints in a custom box with frontice material and 2 5x5 gum over palladium limited edition signed prints.Estimated delivery:
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