Denee Barr + mother, daughter, son, and aunt were on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC this past Saturday at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) "Building Community Through the Arts." We took the How to Make a Photogram and Create Digital Negatives workshop.
First, everybody started out in the CHAW traditional "wet" darkroom (19th/20th century) taking turns at the enlarger (traditional darkroom photo "printer") by placing their hands, eye glasses, and other objects on a piece of Ilford RC photo (light-sensitive with silver nitrate + gelatin) paper . Then we carried our prints to trays filled with photo chemistry........printed our images (witnessed prints evolving before our eyes), bathed our prints in running water, and set prints on drying racks......voila!.......we made photograms.
Second, everybody goes into the CHAW digital darkroom (21st century) and creates digital self-portraits on computers installed with a mini-camera. We each decide on the presentation of our digital portraits by working in Photoshop (computer software program where one can select tone - black and white or color, select effects - sepia....mosaic....solarized....traditional, select size and shape....elongated or truncated, etc. etc. etc. Then we hit the print button on our computers and out comes our self-portraits printed on photocopy paper....creating digital "paper negatives." Our instructor then takes our "paper negatives" to another printer installed with acetate sheets (clear, thin, plastic) and prints out our portraits so we can have "film-like" acetate negatives to take back into the CHAW "wet" darkroom....to make traditional black and white photos.
So we step back into the 19th/20th century and return to the CHAW traditional darkroom. Everybody takes turns placing a sheet of Ilford RC photo (light sensitive) paper below the enlarger head (traditional "wet" darkroom) with our "film-like" acetate negatives placed on top of our photo paper (contact printing process)....we expose our photo papers to the enlarger light for a few seconds....then we submerge our prints in developer, stop bath, and fixer (photo chemical baths)....finally we rinse our prints in trays of running H20....dry prints on racks....voila!.... we've made black and white silver gelatin prints....a process that I have been intimately aware of since stepping into darkroom photo classes for the first time (late 1980's) at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Anyway, yesterday more photo mysteries of how photographers make prints were solved by my family....they rolled up their sleeves and engaged themselves in 19th/20th/21st century photography.
Everybody had fun....made photos and they didn't begrudge me too much because I made them take this workshop....www.chaw.org.
Make Art.....Capture and Print Photos....Celebrate the Day!