Re: help identifying a book

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 06/02/04-01:31:57 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Tue, 1 Jun 2004, DENNIS KLINKER wrote:

> Judy while not having a copy of Carl Koenig's Gum Oil book in front of me i
> am sure from memory that he sited the Wade book as his inspiration. I think
> we should give credit to Koenig for giving this process the exposure he
> does.

Dennis, I'm of two minds about that. My impression of the "exposure"
Koenig gave the process is an article bylined "Koenig" in every photo
magazine of the day, even a little regional newletter from somewhere down
south, and as I recall (there could have been exceptions, but few) they
mostly plugged the book and did not mention other sources. That is,
here's this great new process, but you couldn't quite do it from the
article, there was always a formula, the bleach, or whatever, you had to
get the book for.... After a while it was almost comical -- although
frankly, I fault the editors for bad journalism -- though, on the other
hand, they themselves may not have known enough to tell that -the story
wasn't complete - as is often the case.

Plus, the concept "gum-oil" is itself unclear. I think it didn't exist
until Kent Wade.... that is, none of my dictionaries or encyclopedias of
photography pre 1978 list it. (My only post-1978 encyclopedia is Nadeau,
which doesn't list it either.) I never saw the term until Wade's 1978
book. Wonderful as Wade is (and a pioneer), footnote documentation wasn't
his strong suit. Wade's section on "Gum oil printing" shows 3 images, one
by John Borna, and two by Wade. There's a simple description of procedure,
but no info about origin... has anyone else seen it before this book?

Then in the "Bibliography" there is only this:

Barna, John. The Gum/Oil Print, Experimentation, Portland, Oregon.
Unpublished graduate paper.

I get the idea, therefore, that John Barna probably invented the
process... which Koenig has it seems made his own. Today the process is
cited widely (brilliant PR), although it doesn't seem to be widely used.
(I wonder how many folks persuaded to buy the book by those articles ever
did much with the process. ) Either way, it would seem that the basics, as
well as the name, may be Barna's, and he seems not to be credited.


Gum Oil has in common with Postfactory review something very rare in
> this day and age real enthusiasm.PS my grubby little hands can't wait to get
> hold of the latest PFR.Dennis Klinker
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Judy Seigel" <>
> To: <>
> Cc: <>
> Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 2:37 AM
> Subject: Re: help identifying a book
> >
> > On Sat, 29 May 2004, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
> >
> > > Hi all,
> > > I have a xerox of a book with no bibliography on it I was hoping
> someone
> > > could identify. It is about 10 inches tall, I assume it is from the
> 80's,
> > > on page 101 it has a heading of Bichromate-Based Images. On 102 it has
> the
> > > heading Preparation for Printing. On 103 Gum Sensitizing, on 104
> Pigments
> > > for the Gum Process and Exposing the Developing the Gum Print (their
> error),
> > > and on 105 Photogravure. Thus ends the Gum Print section.
> > >
> > > It is not Reeves and Sward, Howell-Koehler, House, Arnow, Frederick...I
> > > think it is from the 80's. It could be Wade but I don't know...I xeroxed
> it
> > > a long time ago, though.
> >
> > Christina, It's not Wade, or a couple of others I checked (Blacklow,
> > Langford, at al). And it's not Arnold Gassan *4th edition* tho I'm
> > wondering if it could be an earlier or later Gassan -- that kind of
> > grouping sounds like him.
> >
> > But I mention something I'd noticed a while back in Kent Wade & thought
> > worth mentioning: Wade has a section on "Gum Oil," which he cites as the
> > invention/discovery of a graduate student, from his thesis -- I haven't
> > seen Karl Koenig's "Gum Oil," tho I did see his promotion for that book in
> > every venue from here to Machu Pichu... I wondered if the source was
> > credited... Does anyone have that ??? (Just curious.)
> >
> > cheers,
> >
> > Judy
Received on Wed Jun 2 13:32:22 2004

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