Friday, July 15, 2022

On the subject of photographers

You can put money on this: a thousand years from now, there will still be photographers who still use the techniques of that profession that were invented at the beginning of photography itself. There is something so attractive to the masters of the darkroom about photographic processes such as handmade prints from glass negatives, and other 19th century processes such as Platinum Palladium, Cyanotype, Oil, Carbon, Gum Bichromate, VanDyke Brown, Salted Prints, Tintypes, and Ambrotypes.

Virginia’s Sally Mann, not only one of the planet’s top photographers, but also someone who has been a contemporary pioneer in revitalizing some of these archaic techniques, often speaks of “old-time, folksy, soulful, artisanal processes”… that “slicker technologies have displaced.”

She labels these processes “holistic.

Wanna see some of these holistic processes and the gorgeous works that they yield?

At Glen Echo Park’s Photoworks Gallery, “a group of likeminded photographers presents work that is more than just nostalgia. Each photographer lends her/his own voice with their unique, hand-made images, some of which are augmented by hand tinting. While the images are contemporary, the artisanal nature of the images harkens to an earlier age. The tension between these qualities makes them TIMELESS.”

Represented in the exhibit are works by Rodrigo Barrera-Sagastume, Paige Billin-Frye, Mac Cosgrove-Davies, Scott Davis, Sebastian Hesse-Kastein, William Shelton and Redeat Wondemu.

In addition to the opening, Photoworks will be offering related demonstration and hands-on events during the exhibition:

Zoom Artist Talk (Friday, July 15, 7-8pm) – for those unable to attend the opening, this is an opportunity to hear from and interact with the artists. Learn about the artist and their vision, their chosen photographic processes and related classes offered at Photoworks.

Champagne and Platinum (Friday, July 22, 7-10pm at Photoworks) - spend a delightful evening with the Alt-Photo crowd in the Photoworks Gallery sipping bubbly and watching a live demo of the platinum printing process. Platinum printing allows delicate rendering of image detail with an astonishing tonal range and legendary permanence. ($20 per person)

Wet Plate Demonstration (Saturday, July 23, 11am-2pm at Glen Echo Park) – This is a live demonstration of the photographic process that was dominant from the 1850s-70s (i.e during the US Civil War. The photographer must sensitize, expose, and develop the plate in a matter of minutes, using a portable darkroom. Results are available immediately.

Sun Printing (July 30, 11am-2pm) - A family friendly fun-for-all where everyone makes cyanotype shadowgrams. This is an excellent introduction to cyanotype process. Cyanotype is the simplest historic photographic process to learn. It also can deliver extraordinary creative expression.

Staying on the theme of photography, and through July 24, Multiple Exposures Gallery presents an exhibition of New Photography by Tom Sliter titled "Cold Warriors." On exhibit is “a series of images that takes a different look at the aircraft that defined the Cold War. Rather than focusing on the aircraft’s characteristics, the exhibit delves into the underlying design elements -- the grand sweeps, smooth lines, sharp angles, and graceful curves that are a hallmark of pushing boundaries.”

Multiple Exposures is located inside the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, one of the great art jewels of the Mid Atlantic.