• argus c3 rangefinder camera

    Vintage Camera Project

    I love studying the history of photography and some of you may be aware that I have a small vintage camera collection. I think that’s why I have been learning about vintage/alternative photo processing over the last year. Learning and understanding how early photographers worked helps me hone my own art/craft and forces me think outside the box.  This concept leads to my most recent project; what I’m calling “Vintage Camera Project”. Here’s the basic idea: I’m shooting “portraits” of my classic cameras and then processing them with a vintage look. Some will then be made into photo transfers onto wood panels. I will be featuring my favorites here on my blog over the next few months.

    argus c3 rangefinder camera

     

    First up, the Argus C3 Rangefinder- this camera was mass-produced from 1939 to 1966 by Argus in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The C3 was a low cost rangefinder and according to Wikipedia, Argus sold about 2 million units, making it one of the most popular cameras in history. Based on the serial number of my Argus C3 it was produced in 1950. This camera was commonly referred to as the “brick” by photographers because of it’s metal construction and weight (this thing does feel like a brick!).

    So, this next image is the final result of my photo transfer to wood. I first learned about this technique in alternative photographic processing class this past Spring at Phoenix College. However, I didn’t try the technique until recently, after seeing a tutorial on instructables.com- I will write a future post on the entire technique, start to finish.

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  • Salt print

    Alternative Processing is Fun!

     

    Some of you who follow me on Facebook or other social media may already know that I recently took a class on alternative photographic processes at Phoenix College. I thought it would be cool to share a little about alt processing and what my experiences were learning these new techniques. First I want to define alternative processes, I took the following from wikipedia:

    The term alternative process refers to any non-traditional, or non-commercial photographic printing process. Currently the standard analog photographic printing process is the gelatin silver process, and standard digital processes include the pigment print, and digital laser exposures on traditional color photographic paper.Alternative processes are often called historical, or non-silver processes. Most of these processes were invented over 100 years ago and were used by early photographers.

    Alternative processing has become popular again in this digital world, I believe it’s because we are looking for ways to stand out and be different. I took this class to force myself to get out of my comfort zone and make new, unique art. I’m always learning new techniques so that I can grow as an artist. What’s great about many of these techniques is that they are very easy to work with and can give consistent results- once you get the technique down. The processes we focused on were more of the simple, easy to learn ones. The first I want to discuss is the photogram.

    Photograms

    Photograms are images made on a photo sensitive material without using a camera. Objects are placed on the light sensitive paper and placed in the sun or under a UV light for a period of time. The final image is a shadow or silhouette,  it can have variations in tone based on the transparency of the object used. Photograms can be done on traditional photo paper or a paper coated with chemicals for an alternative process. The first photogram I did was leaves on a tracing paper coated with a salt solution then with a silver solution, this process is called a salt print. They are not very permanent and the colors will change and fade over time. Take a look at the following images, both are of the same print, the first was the same day that I processed the print.

    IMG_1867
    Click to view large.

    The second is the same print, a few months later. As you can see the print became darker and the lighter, yellowed areas turned a purple color. If continually exposed to light over time the print will continue to change and eventually will darken over the years. This process is not considered permanent.

    IMG_2102
    Click to view large

    I will discuss more alternative photographic processes in a future post, next up- Cyanotypes!