Alchemy is a collection of "in process" experiments and notes made when wanting to try create a more sustainable analogue practice. This documentation represents the experiments and studio based research I am currently developing.
Using exhausted fix - creates a really strange purple/silver tone in the prints.
Glenuig, 2020 contact sheet
A selection of the first successful prints made with the enlarger Francis gifted me.
Noticing a softness in the images when using exhausted fix
These are my first ever successful Lumen prints, made in South Africa in December 2020. Using foraged flowers and plant matter, I expose them - using the sun - onto FB paper. Intrigued by the fact that the colours of the plants transfer onto the paper.
After completing the seaweed developing workshop with Melanie King, I've started researching various sustainable developers.
Things I could use with Sodium Carbonate and Vitamin C:
Dandelions, Nettle, Seaweed, Coffee, Raspberries, Wine.
I have found a massive resource of photographers online who have used natural and alternative recipes across the world. I have been following this filmmaker who develops her own 8mm film from foraged ingredients. I've been testing my own recipes at home as I really want to develop a more sustainable and conscious analogue practice.
Important to note that where and when you collect your natural ingredients does effect the chemistry you make. I'm starting to make a cookbook for what I find in Scotland.
Before completing the MFA, I'd like to make a mural print with sustainable chemistry and maybe a home processed 16mm film
Seaweed Developing Workshop with Melanie King, first negative was quite dense. I was able to pull an image of the daffodils with the Hasselblad scanner. Still amazed that it works.
Test print for my first attempt of a mural print. I haven't done this since my undergraduate course in South Africa. Practicing this with regular chemistry first whilst I keep developing a plan for a sustainable print process.
The mural printing is really labour intensive, I had to have Geneva help me to cut the paper and be my time keeper. The 40x50" print is developed in troffs, using about 4L of chemistry.
after exposing wet paper first, making it subtle and porous. Rolling the paper back and fourth, make sure not to stall as this can cause developing bands. Dilute developer to avoid bands.
Develop for longer, have to be quite intuitive and just look at the image whilst it's developing. Should wear gloves, but I found it easier to feel the paper without. move the roll into stop and fix. Keep the roll straight when rolling back and fourth, the paper when wet can easily kink
Rinse in the bath at least for 20 minutes. Hang to dry overnight.
Flatten under books for 2-3 days
Then Hot press - if you need to.
First successful mural print - 40x50' (127 x 101.6 cm)
Caffenol Developing Test strip
First successful coffee print. The tones are quite good. I noticed that with each print you have to either warm the chemistry or develop each print for double the amount of time. First print (5minutes). Second print (10 minutes)
I'll attempt a mural print with the sustainable Caffenol-C process. Using coffee, sodium carbonate, vitamin C and salt.
I will have to keep reheating the chemistry, making sure its at 30degrees when doing the final print.
Caffenol Developing Test strips for mural print.
Seaweed Dev for negs,
Test strips. Struggling a bit with this, negs are really dense.
Successful Neg - if I brew the seaweed for longer?
Bladderwrack seaweed, the phenolic compounds in the seaweed are what develop the image. Things like where, when and how fresh the seaweed are prove to have an impact on how effective seaweed brew is as a developer.
Brewing the bladderwrack for 16mm home development
15 minute development time at 35degrees.
Hand processing 16mm in buckets in complete darkness, was pretty tricky and scary. There's an image!
The film is very scratched from bucket processing, but I think it speaks to using "wild processes"
4X5 negs processed with Seaweed, coming out really murky but I also think are very beautiful.