Every person with a cellphone seems to think he or she is a photographer. Photographs can be more than just pretty pictures, though. For a painting, an artist takes paint and spreads it on a canvas. What if instead of paint you used a photograph dipped in chemicals?
Every second Saturday, galleries and exhibits open up along the streets of midtown Sacramento. Professor Jodie Hooker exhibited her photography students’ work at the Union Hall Gallery on K street Saturday. “This is the second time photography has been in this place. The last was two years ago,” said Hooker. “I proposed the idea for this alternative show and (they) accepted it. This place is sponsored by Los Rios, but is also a commercial gallery.”
From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the gallery hosted a student show called “Alternative Process,” in which photography students use unorthodox methods of developing photographs to get unique artistic properties.
“You take a basic image and make a digital negative out of it. It’s neat because you use different chemicals … and have to learn all about chemistry,” explained art photography major Tysen Cannady. “You mix up the chemicals and put it on paper, slap the negative on and put it inside a frame and leave it out in the sun.”
Developing photos isn’t an exact science, as Cannady noted. The sun changes position in the sky and clouds, and processing can take minutes to hours, depending on the medium. “With gum prints it can take a couple days with all the layers. It’s really fun,” Cannady said.
Gum printing is a complex process by which chemicals are spread on a print with layers of pigment gum. This process can take several hours to a full day depending on how many layers there are, and was the primary method of producing color photos in the 1800s.
Among all the alternative process photographs were various student-made ceramic pieces displayed on tables in the gallery.
Outside the building Doug Adams Bradley, who also works as a gallery curator, was performing live woodcutting art, which enthralled many passersby. He was working on three pieces and displayed an iPad scrolling through his digital portfolio.
Overall the art show had a great turnout with people coming in and out throughout the night. Many of the student artists were also present to talk about their work.[slideshow_deploy id=’10313′]