Alexis Marie: The third in our line-up for the InFocus Alumni photography blog series is Candace Makowichuk. Candace uses alternative process in her photography and the way she talks about it is inspiring. I hope you enjoy her work!
Why Analogue Photography
by Candace Makowichuk
Why? This is a word I continually hear from photographers and others when they find out that I shoot film and specialize in historical photographic processes. Why go through all that work when you can do similar techniques digitally? For me there are many reasons why I have chosen to continue working with the photographic processes I love.
I have always been interested in the “alternative” photographic processes since the beginning of my art studies. Today I work with Gum Bichromate, Cyanotype, Van Dykes, Bromoil and Silver Gelatin. I will be pursuing Tin Types and Lith prints over the next several months. The processes I have mentioned are just a few of the many invented in the 19th and 20th Century and it would be amazing to have the time to learn more!
These historical photographic processes render one-of-a-kind images, impossible to predictably reproduce by hand. It is this unpredictability, which fascinates me. You have only so much control over the final print; the rest is due to chemistry, the hand coating, and your support/backing (paper, fabric, ect). The many steps involved all react to your individual style of work – and sometimes mistakes or accidents produce wonderful results!
The time required to learn one of these many processes is challenging. It requires patience and determination as it can take considerable trial and error to become proficient. This challenge is also appealing to me as the satisfaction of producing your first successful print using a new process is very rewarding.
I do shoot digital. I have to as large sheet film – 16×20 and larger – is no longer available. Many of the historical processes use a contact printing technique and the most economical way to make a large negative is to output digitally. This also interests me – combining modern technology with historical.
The hand coated emulsions and Bromoil techniques are unique in their appearance as the hand of the artist is very evident in every part of the image, from the brush strokes to the applying of ink. This is the main appeal as to why I pursue these processes, the evidence of a human touch. I become a part of it, it is physical. From the movements of processing film, to the movements of coating your supports, to the movement of processing your print, you are immersed in the physical component of producing an image. Also being in the dark with the sound of water where time disappears. All very different from sitting in front of your computer to produce a photograph.
The InFocus exhibition in Edmonton Alberta showcased a variety of photographers work and I was pleased to have been a part of it. There were two of us in this exhibition that use analogue based photography for our work allowing the public to have the opportunity to view processes that are rarely used today. Both of us analogue photographers in the InFocus exhibition are members of the Monochrome Guild, a group of photographers dedicated to working with film-based processes.
Web Site: www.candacemakowichuk.com