I fell in love with Gum Dichromate photography because I saw an avenue for mixing the art of photography with craft and the handmade. There is so much of the hand in this alternative photography process. There are so many choices and creative controls, degrees of freedom. I mix the historical photographic process of Gum Bichromate with a panel substrate and traditional rabbit skin glue gesso on panel. This increases the room for expression. It is usual for me to work on three versions of the same image, working out different color combinations, drips and contrasts, all at once. I have included the multiples where I felt like they would add to the experience of getting to know what this work is all about.
Dichromates are chemicals that are made photosensitive to light in the presence of gum arabic. Adding these substances with pigment or watercolors allows the patient artist to create color images. It is a contact printing process, meaning that one needs a negative the size of the final image. Currently, I use a computer and inkjet printer to make my negatives. I paint on a layer of photosensitive color, allow it to dry in the dark, and sandwich this with the negative in a printing frame. Exposure is made with my homemade UV printer and then washed archivally.
The substrate is made as a traditional ground panel. I start with a plywood panel, coat it with rabbit skin glue, on both sides. Then I apply muslin to the front, using more natural glue. Finally I coat on multiple layers of a rabbit skin glue and marble dust gesso; sand it down, or not, and I am ready to start the photography process.