Photogravure: An Early Photographic Printing
Process With A Modern Twist
led by: Peter Moseley
dates: 29 July - 2nd August 2013
this course has now finished!
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A selection of feedback from the course delegates:
‘Really nice group dynamic that the tutor drew upon to keep a very balanced teaching and learning environment’
‘The best aspect of the course was the tutor’s excellent expertise and wonderful approach to his practice’
‘I have enjoyed all aspects of the course – a good mixture of theory and practical instruction’
‘This course exceeded my expectations’
‘I cannot recommend the tutor and course enough. Peter’s expertise, patience and dry wit made this an exceptional experience’
‘Every aspect of this course was excellent including the tutor and his work - I have no criticisms’
‘It has been particularly useful to learn the digital aspects as well as the printing’
‘I was given plenty of attention and support’
‘This course was excellent value for money in every way’
‘Well-paced teaching, we were challenged to go just outside our comfort zone which was just right. Well thought out lessons’
‘The best aspects: non-stop challenge, very supportive tutor and good, well-motivated fellow students’
‘ Very straightforward teaching and very helpful’
‘The practical elements mixed with the information were well-balanced’
Photographic printing processes from the mid and late nineteenth century offer a wide variety of printed surface, colour and texture that differ markedly from the clean, sometimes almost sterile appearance of modern digital images. The early photographic processes (aka alternative photography) require a real hands-on approach in the choice of paper, chemistry and coating, and provide every opportunity for the printmaker to produce individual and beautifully aesthetic work.
The photogravure process was developed in the 1870s and became famous for the beauty and quality of its gravure prints. This is real, put on a proper apron and roll up your sleeves, printing. In outline, the process involves etching a photographic image into a plate which is then inked and put through the high-pressure rollers of an intaglio etching press sandwiched with handmade or art paper. Prints can be produced using special inks of any colour.
Originally the process involved etching the image into a copper plate, but there is a modern equivalent that is somewhat more manageable. A photosensitive polymer plate is exposed to ultra-violet light under a translucent acetate copy of the original image or photograph and then washed out in water. Where the plate has been protected from the light by dark parts of the acetate it remains soluble in water and these areas will be removed; where the plate is exposed to light it becomes hardened and these parts will not wash away. After it has been dried, the plate is covered in ink and then the surface ink removed by careful wiping. Ink remains in the lines, grooves and hollows, where the unhardened polymer has been washed away, and it is the ink in these depressions that forms the image when the plate is put through the press in contact with dampened art paper. It’s quite a performance but well worth the trouble, prints made by this method can be stunning.
This five day course will introduce course delegates to all the key aspects of the process including:
· Calibrating polymer plate exposure
· Producing the digital transparency
· Exposing, washing out and hardening the polymer plate
· Preparing the paper, inking the polymer plate and pulling the print
· Drying and protecting the print
Delegates will be able to make gravure prints from at least three of their own photographic images, from film negatives, photographic prints or digital files.
This course is suitable for beginners and no prior experience of intaglio printing or Photoshop (a computer program for editing digital images) is required. All materials will be provided.
The course tutor is Peter Moseley. He is a qualified teacher with over forty year’s experience as a photographer. He has an MA in Printmaking from Brighton University and is currently studying towards a PhD at the Centre for Fine Print Research, UWE. He has exhibited at solo and group shows and recent work has been shown at the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers open exhibition in London and at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol.