Work in progress

December 26, 2018

I’m back

Anyone checking this site over the last two years has been greeted with a not–so–helpful message about a revised website and tightening up the verbiage etc…

What has been going on is that I have been writing a book on the polymer photogravure process that has just been published by Focal Press.

The book is titled Polymer Photogravure: A Step-by-Step Manual Highlighting Artists and Their Creative Practice. The book is the third addition to a single–subject series on alternative photography techniques. All of the books in this series are divided into two main sections. The first section is a how–to manual that explains how to to make prints using the specific technique and covers everything from equipment to materials to studio preparation and then finally the actual procedures needed to make the print in that particular printing process. The second section is written commentary by current active artists using the printing process along with examples of their work.

This is a really useful book organizational method because not only can the reader learn the technique, but also is introduced to the sheer breadth of visual possibilities that a particular alternative photographic process technique can allow.

My book was officially published at the beginning of December 2018, and is now available from a variety of sources. Naturally, Amazon is one source for the book. Another is an ecommerce site named Mountain Intaglio.

This site is of particular interest to me because it is an online store being run by my wife Lynn. The idea for this small business began when I was researching the various flexographic (steel-baked photopolymer) plates that can be used for making polymer photogravures. During this process, I ran across a material that was so much easier to use that I have totally switched my practice to these plates.

One of the difficulties that many polymer platemakers encounter is blotchy prints - which is particularly noticeable in the highlight areas of images. There are a number of potential causes for this, but one of the most common occurs during the drying of plates after they are etched, and is caused by water remaining on parts of the plate that then continues to etch. The result is a mottled plate, and subsequently, a mottled print.

These Jet plates are much, much less prone to blotchiness caused by insufficiently speedy drying after washout. I have totally switched my practice to using this plate material and use it in all the workshops I teach. Another less obvious benefit is that the plates are harder after drying than the Toyobo KM material I used previously.

The purpose of this site isn’t apparent at the moment. One thought I had was just to link it to the mountain-intaglio site as an alternative name that would navigate to it. However, I think there is some benefit to having a purely informational site with no overt commercial purpose.

I am going to experiment with creating content that will be both here and on the mountain-intaglio site, with this site getting the nod toward longer-form more geeky material while the mountain-intaglio site has more beginner-oriented content.

We’ll just see how it it goes. Check back in the next few weeks. I have the oomph to write again after recovering from the huge task of writing and compiling the book I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Work in progress - December 26, 2018 - clay harmon