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Thread: alternative photography

  1. #1

    alternative photography

    This probably isn't the place for this so please put it where it belongs if necessary.
    I've always wondered why non-digital photography is called"alternative" it seems to me a process that's been around over 100 years should be regarded as"photography"and the relative new comer "digital" would be the alternative.Guess maybe I'm being hard headed but that's what I think.
    I'm not sure who names these things but think they've got this one wrong....

  2. #2
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    Don, I understand the word alternative to mean processes that are not common, have gone out of fashion - alternative to the mainstream. In that sense carbon, Vandyke, cyanotype etc are all 'alternative' to the common silver gelatin print. It may come that all darkroom processes will be classed as alternate to digital. Perhaps we're not far from that now, perish the thought. I suppose all terms are relative and their meaning changes over time. What we consider alternative now may have a different meaning in future.

  3. #3
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    George Eastman House recently put out a series of short videos describing various historical photographic processes. They are interesting and worth watching, although might not have much new to f295 members. In the one on silver gelatin printing, they explain that they have decided to call silver gelatin an historic process. Partly because of the history of silver gelatin, but also because it has obviously for the most part been superseded.

    I don't like the term "alternative process" all that much, or the other "alt pro" lingo. I'd rather say I'm making salt prints, or working with paper negatives and not try to characterize it more than that. I think some people care a lot about recreating historic processes in an authentic way, and that's different from doing something because it is "alternative" or different....
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  4. #4
    Thanks guys for sharing your thoughts on this.
    I think I'd prefer the term"historic photography"to"alternative photography"myself.Somehow in my pea brain, alternative doesn't give the wonderful processes the respect they're due.Guess I'm just nit picking and should worry about more important things like this contraption under construction for printing paper negatives on carbon tissue,
    Ned thanks for the link to those videos,enjoyed them a lot.
    Don

  5. #5
    I had not thought about that - just kind of accepted that what I love doing...cyanotypes...is "alternative". Great!...now I'm upset.

  6. #6
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    a rose is a rose.... I wouldn't worry too much about what name we use.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  7. #7
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    I think that there are so many different printing processes that most people don't recognize, it has just been easier to lump them all under one roof. When I tell people that I am mostly making argyrotypes and 'new' cyanotypes, few people know what I mean.
    because:
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

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