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Alternative Photographic Processes in New York State: How-To

A resource for those looking to explore and practice alternative photographic processes in New York state.
Below are a series of resources to inspire you to get started. How-to publications and videos are available across the web and in your local library. Looking through these “cookbooks” and observing alternative processes in action can help you get a better idea of the magic taking place in alternative photo-making. The web also offers a community of creators sharing their work, which can help push your conceptions of what different processes can do.

Photographic Suppliers

B&H Logo

B&H

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/

B&H is one of the largest photographic suppliers in the world. They sell items relating to digital photography, digital video, analog and digital printing, scanning, and film photography. They are also one of the few suppliers that still offer a wide range of materials for alternative processing, including contact printing frames and UV lights.


Bostick and Sullivan Logo

Bostick and Sullivan

https://www.bostick-sullivan.com/cart/48/

Bostick and Sullivan is an extremely valuable supplier for those working in alternative processes. They supply all chemicals and materials necessary for most processes. They also provide specialized and detailed instructions for almost all processes. Some of the materials include a contact printing frame, eye droppers, gloves, brushes, and different sized trays. They also offer starter kits for some of the simpler processes, such as cyanotypes and salted paper prints.


Freestyle Photo Logo

Freestyle Photo

https://www.freestylephoto.biz/

Freestyle Photo is a supplier of both film and digital photography. They have a selection of various film types and darkroom papers, chemicals used in both color and black and white darkrooms, and darkroom equipment. They also offer digital cameras and accessories, and digitizing equipment such as scanners and inkjet printers. They have a specialized section for alternative processes where you can find papers, chemicals, and supplies like brushes and contact printing frames


Lund Photographics Logo

Lund Photographics

https://www.lundphotographics.com/

Lund Photographics is a supplier that specializes in wet-plate collodion processes, such as tintypes and ambrotypes. They provide information on workshops, manuals, and starter kits, as well as the photographing and developing equipment and supports necessary. These processes specifically require some more advanced equipment for the developing process, including dip tanks, trays, and safelights. They also offer camera parts, such as bellows, lens caps, and plate holders.

Cyanotype Demonstration

Video by Meagan Connolly and Kristen Watson.

Alternative Photography logo featuring cyanotype print by Anna Atkins.AlternativePhotography.com provides concise introductions to dozens of alternative photographic processes. Alternative photographic processes A-Z links to published resources and AlternativePhotography.com’s expansive collection of instructional process articles. Practicing photographers and instructors contribute individual process "recipes" in clear, straight-forward language.

Social Media & Alternative Photographic Processes

Video by Kristen Watson and Meagan Connolly.

A simple Facebook search will reveal over a hundred alternative process pages and groups. Groups used within this video include: Alternative photographic processesAlternative Photographic Processes: Founded Spring 2006, Eastman Museum Historic Photographic Process Education, Antiquarian Avant-Garde Art & Processes (closed group), Collodion Bastards: Wet Plate Work of Questionable Parentage, Wet Plate Collodion Photography (closed group), and John Coffer. Featured instagram profiles include those of photographers Joni Sternbach and David Emitt Adams.

George Eastman Museum – Photographic Process Series

The George Eastman Museum presents the Photographic Process Video Series, a collection of short, in-depth videos on the history and practice of photographic processes. Each episode of the Photographic Process Series provides a description of how an image is created using a process and provides interviews with history and photography experts. Many of the processes highlighted by the series have seen a resurgence as part of the field of alternative photography, including the daguerreotype and wet-plate collodion.

Recommended Texts

Because of the historic basis for many alternative photographic processes, locating the most recent manual for a process is not always necessary. In fact, many teachers in workshops supplement their instruction with both old (i.e. circa 1860). For the hobbyist, going back to these primary sources will not be necessary.

If you decide to take a workshop or class in a specific processes, your instructor will likely provide or recommend a pamphlet or textbook. For general reference and how-tos, these books can help get you started: