Friday, 23 March 2012

Walter Hugo Wet Plate Exhibition

Millie Brown (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

 Yesterday evening I had a chance to view some large wet plate imagery shot by Walter Hugo at the Shizaru gallery in Mayfair. A few months back I saw a few of them at Nick Knights Show Studio gallery, on this occasion there were far more to view and was really impressed with the whole show, its quite rare to see such large ‘life size’ wet plates. 

They were made by Hugo with a room-sized camera he built himself (See video at the end of post). The plates captured fifty individuals who he felt were inspirational and creative luminaries in London at the time of shooting (2011). The subjects ranged from Fashion designers, Musicians, Actors, Politicians, Astronauts and Playwrights.

Dan Lomas (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

Hugo (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

Agnus (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

Jade (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

Amber (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

Isebel (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

Natalie (Glass Type Ambrotype) 40x50 cm, 2011

 Installation Views

 The show really is a must see, unfortunately there are only two days left to view them, I only stumbled across the gallery whilst going see Cathleen Naundorf's stunning silver prints at Hamilton’s (will post about this later). If you are around the area go take a look you will not be disappointed.

All Images courtesy Walter Hugo & Shizaru Gallery
Links :

The video below shows how Hugo created the  plates :

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Large Scale Alternative Photographic prints

I recently became aware of a noval idea for creating large scale photographic type prints. The product is called Inkodye and is a light-sensitive dye for photograms, shadow prints, painting. It can be used cotton, wood, suede, silk and other natural fibers. I have not used it but I am sure others might be interested in trying it out.


On a related issue i came across the work of Christian Marclay the other day. In 2010 he produced a series of large scale cyanotype prints that explored the interplay between two outdated recording methods—the cyanotype and the audio cassette. At nearly 2 and a half metres long these are some of the largest cyanotypes i have seen.

Allover (Mariah Carey,Gloria Estefan and others) Cyanotype photogram 131x254 cm

To see more of his work visit the Fraenkel gallery at

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Cathleen Naundorf's Stunning Colour Polariods

The last few posts have been about Irving Penn, well it just so happens that I have recently come across the stunning imagery of a women photographer by the name of Cathleen Naundorf who is regarded by some as the next Irving Penn....well a female version.(click here to download a recent article on her in Vs magazine)

Her colour polaroid’s are simply exquisite, I would hope that they might end up being printed as colour carbon prints like Sarah Moon's work.   Hamilton’s gallery in London’s  Mayfair currently have an exhibition of her black and white silver gelatin prints. She is releasing a book entitled  'Haute Couture: The Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf' at the end of June which will highlight her colour polaroid work which I very much look forward to seeing.


 Below are a few examples, to see more visit her website at

 Corset  - John Galliano
artist's workshop - rue Caulaincourt, Paris

Secret times (Grand palais I) - Chanel
Grand Palais, Paris

La nuit blanche - Gaultier

Kew Gardens  Philip Treacy
Kew Gardens, London

Friday, 2 March 2012

Acidifying and De-acidifying paper for platinum printing

 A common practice by contemporary platinum printers is to acidify certain watercolour/printmaking papers to prevent an acid-base reaction commonly observed when an acid ferric oxalate solution reacts with an alkaline paper surface. The process of acidification is simple and involves soaking the paper in either citric acid or oxalic acid for a certain period of time ranging from 1-15 mins. Usually this not only makes a paper useable for platinum/palladium printing but can lead to a dmax increase of up to .20. Each batch of paper can vary so its important to take regular tests to insure consistent results. Many papers I edition with require acidification and it has become a regular part of my workflow. The process can remove the internal sizing of certain papers and may require the use of a hot press to flatten after the print has dried.

Recently I came across some notes written on the back of a Penn Platinum print that mentioned the process of deacification, which I had not encounted before. The print entitled ‘Sitting Nude Rear’ shown below was printed in June 1994 on BFK Rives and went through 3 platinum/palladium coatings and exposure cycles. The full details  are shown below the print

  “SITTING NUDE REAR / (NEW YORK, 1993) [in a box]”; stamped and inscribed verso: “HAND COATED BY / THE PHOTOGRAPHER / IP:”; stamped verso: “Deacidified”; inscribed verso: “RIVES PAPER ON ALUMINUM / MULTIPLE COATING AND PRINTING / 1 [in a circle] PLATINUM-PALLADIUM / 2 [in a circle] PLATINUM-PALLADIUM / 3 [in a circle] PLATINUM-PALLADIUM”; inscribed verso: “3/6”; stamped verso: “PHOTOGRAPH BY IRVING PENN / “Print made June 1994”; stamped and inscribed verso: 

The process of deacification, as the name suggests, would involve removing the acid from a particular paper, this is the opposite of what contemporary platinum/palladium printers are doing today, as previously mentioned. It would be interesting to learn more about this from other printers. I would have thought BFK Rives in 1994 would have been acid free, but it would seem that this is not the case in this instance.

UPDATE : It is more than likely than the Penn note signified that the print had been de-acidified after successive coatings/developments, possibly using one of the modern chelating agents such di-sodium and tetrasodium EDTA, as opposed to de-acidifying the paper before the initial coating, which would be unusual as acidification is the normal practice for 'acid free' type papers.