Re: APIS, looong post

From: Richard Sullivan ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/13/05-01:58:45 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Actually we finally ended up only a few off from the highest registrations
ever. Seems we had a lot late regs and a lot of walk ins. Folks just showed
up without registering first. We also did a survey and over half the
attendees said they taught in 2 yr and 4 yr institutions and many other
taught workshops outside of the college environment. Clearly the experience
level of the attendees is going up. We've been more interested in raising
the quality of the symposium than the attendance numbers.

The subjects of the presentations have been targeted at an advanced
audience. There were some intense digital negative making sessions that
clearly were not some folk's cup of tea. Sort of how the zone system
divides photographers. Some like numbers other don't. Beginning workers
should be a bit patient and not expect many beginning how-to segments.
Twenty five years ago there was virtually nothing on platinum or gum
printing, today there are numerous good books and many workshops. The need
is for advanced topics.

For example we had a session by Keith Taylor on his making tri-color gums
for Cy Decosse which had peoples attention. When he put them up for display
the air went out of the room. This was not gum 101 and this site does them

We have not gone out to try to bring in people new to historic process
photography. We have promoted through B+S and the alt photo list. My
feeling is the List is much smaller now than it was in the past. B+S grows
in sales around 15% per years so the interest is growing. B+S now has 6
full time employees. The frequent spats here have been a turn off for many
and we have heard this for years at B+S.

The future symposium events will be divided into two parts, history and
process. two days of each. It will be under the auspices of The Center for
Photographic History and Technology which just got its 501(c)3 Federal tax
exemption. We are thinking of having workshops in between the two 2-day
sessions as some folks are saying just this 2-day session is pretty intense
and back to back may be a bit much. Again the workshops will be targeted at
advanced workers or lesser known processes like carbon or Dagerreotype, wet
plate etc.

There are plans in the works for specialized symposia for curators and art
historians, etc with live demos of some of the processes. Many photographic
historians have never seen a platinum print or an ambrotype being made. A
number of years ago I was printing at the Alinari Archives in Florence
Italy and had photo history post docs hanging over and watching me print.
They were fascinated.

Keep an eye out on the B+S sight and as soon as we get the photo history
site up it will be announced there.

I think the fact that we were able to raise over $5,000.00 in memberships
and small donations is a testament to the enthusiasm for a professional
organization such as the Center. Not only that, two of the attendees have
foundations and said I should apply for grants. Nice having an inside
track. We at the Center are working closely with a number of other
professional institutions and have a ongoing working relationship with the
Getty Conservation Institute, who has made presentations at the last two

What has transpired over the last few years is that our art has matured.
Many of the historic processes are well recognized in the art and gallery
world. Rarely does a photographer have to describe to a gallery owner what
a platinum print is and if he or she has to, it's time to quietly tiptoe out.

--Dick Sullivan

    At 02:24 AM 7/13/2005, you wrote:
>Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
> >
> My bottom line about alt process is
> > the proof is in the pudding--the prints.
>I couldn't agree more, in fact this is one of the first things I said to
>this list when I came on here in 1998. List mavens were trying to tell
>me that I was doing gum "wrong" because I wasn't doing it the way they
>do it, so I went to a gallery and looked at my work on the wall for a
>long time, and I came back to the list and said thanks for all the
>advice, but I think the proof of the pudding is in the prints, and my
>prints tell me to keep doing what I'm doing.
>Our group is getting smaller, and maybe
> > when silver gelatin becomes an alt process we will see an immediate
> > burgeoning of numbers, but right now it's a pretty darn few of us out there
>This statement puzzles me. I have seen an enormous increase in interest
>in alt processes, particularly gum, in the last five years. Since I've
>never been to APIS, I have no idea what it's like and can have no
>opinion about why APIS is shrinking at the same time interest in the
>processes is growing. Maybe, like me, people just have other things to
>do. Each time, I always have a giddy moment where I think maybe I'll
>just drop everything and go, but then reality sets in and I realize it
>doesn't make sense for me to do that. Maybe next time... Thanks for the
>report; it helps us outsiders feel at least like we've got a peek in the
Received on Wed Jul 13 13:59:06 2005

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