By Julia Einstein
Assistant Director of Family and Studio Learning
Crop! Dodge and burn! Contact! Words used daily by photographers are fun to roll off your tongue. Cibachrome, collodion tintype, and gum bichromate! These tongue twisters come from the darkrooms of the 19th century.
Saying it and seeing it are what it’s all about at the PMA on Saturday, October 6, when artist Brenton Hamilton collaborates with families for a special afternoon. Brenton will share his love of history and the art of Winslow Homer with visitors while they work with him to try out a photo collage technique. Inspired by the process of gum bichromate printing, Brenton has created a large-scale structure (and oversized Homer figures!) for families to play with layering of negatives to create a fun collage!
Brenton’s gum bichromate prints are featured in the exhibition Between Past to Present: The Homer Studio Photographic Project. Gum bichromate was in general use from 1894 to1920. It is a non-silver printing method using paper coated with a solution of gum arabic, containing potassium or ammonium bichromate, to make it light sensitive, and a pigment to provide image tones. This process allows extensive physical manipulation of the image by the photographer, sometimes resulting in an image which looks more like a drawing or watercolor painting than a photograph.