Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Soho Photo 2011 Alternative Processes Competition

Snakeroot, from Natural History
cyanotype over archival pigment print, 2011

Soho Photo is pleased to announce that its November show will feature the winning entries in the Seventh Annual Alternative Processes Competition.This year’s Alternative Processes Competition presents the winning images of photographers from across the United States. The images that were submitted for this competition represent a wide range of alternative methods that can include beeswax paper negative, Cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown, platinum/palladium, gum dichromate, gold toned salt print, tintype, and ziatype. This year’s juror was gallerist, educator and photographerMichael Paris Mazzeo. As an educator, Mazzeo has long been a practitioner of antiquarian processes; he’s taught at the School of Visual Arts, ICP, New Jersey City University, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design.

The top three winners are:
Second Place: Denyse Murphy, Haverhill, MA
Third Place: David Zimmerman, Taos, NM

After judging all the entries, Mazzeo issued a statement, an excerpt of which follows: He said, “My criteria for selecting work for this exhibition included technical proficiency, compelling imagery, and consistency of vision. I looked for work that was intelligent, thoughtful, engaging, entertaining, humorous and challenging, devoid of kitsch, cliché, and the obvious. Above all, my priority was to reward those artists whose work communicated distinct ideas through the effective use of their chosen process.
My top choice was Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman's exquisite portraits of elderly women adorned with botanical specimens by way of cyanotype photograms. An elegant elegy to old age and the passage of time, this work also nicely references Anna Atkins, an English botanist and the first recognized female photographer, who is credited with publishing the first book of photographic illustrations, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions.

Gallery Hours: Wednesdays–Sundays, 1–6 PM, and by appointment.
Contact: Wayne Parsons, info@sohophoto.com or 212.662.5532

Clematis, from Natural History
cyanotype over archival pigment print, 2011

We Honor Anna Atkins

Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was trained as a botanist, botanical illustrator and naturalist. She learned the cyanotype process from Sir John Hershel, a family friend, who invented it in 1842. Atkins printed and published Part I of the 12 part British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843 which contains over 400 images. Her efforts established photography as a medium -- useful, accurate and beautiful -- for scientific documentation.
Atkin's subsequent presentation botanical albums include Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns (1853) and Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns (1854).

Cover - British Algae - 1843

Furcellaria fastigiata. Atkins, Anna -- Photographer. 1843-53.
Photographs of British algae: cyanotype impressions.
Part IV, version 2. The New York Public Library. Spencer Collection.

The process of cyanotype involves exposing paper coated with a light-sensitive iron salt solution to UV light. Any barrier to exposure will be recorded as a white shadow - (negative image) on the prussian blue surface.
For a more complete discussion of Atkins life and work:
For more on the cyanotype process and it's history:

95 Degrees - A Prussian Blue River

making an exposure - July, mid-day- about 3 minutes

a dash of hydrogen peroxide

10 minute wash - a river of Prussian Blue

Julie, and Plume Poppy

A Serious Summer Diversion

This project began as a serious summer diversion. Experimenting with papers, texture, sizing, exposures for cyanotypes. We used some All Things Are Always Changing - Portrait Busts proofs printed on Epson Enhanced Matte. An alternative history begins.

Val with Bleeding Hearts, the first cyanotype portrait