The Art of the Photogravure
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Photogravure Glossary

An intaglio etching and printing process in which a porous ground allows acid to penetrate and form a network of small pits in the plate, as well as the prints made by this process.

An intaglio printmaking studio.
Bitumen of Judea

An asphalt compound that reacts to sunlight by hardening. The first light sensitive material successfully used in the invention of photography and the photogravure process.

ORGIN mid 19th cent.: from Greek kalos "beautiful" + type

The name given to the first practical negative-positive process of photography. Capable of producing multiple copies of any given image, the calotype (also called Talbotype) was invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in September of 1840.

To make a calotype, plain sheets of writing paper are coated with a solution of silver nitrate, dried and then dipped in potassium iodide to form silver iodide. After being dried again, the paper is floated on a mixture containing silver nitrate and Gallic acid. The same mixture is used to develop the negative image after exposure. Following fixing in hypo, this paper negative is generally waxed for transparency and used to make salt prints.


ORGIN mid 19th cent.: from Greek kalos "beautiful" + type

A technique in printmaking in which the image is transferred to a surface that is bonded to a heavier support in the printing process. The purpose is to allow the printmaker to print on a more delicate surface, such as rice paper or linen, which pulls finer details off the plate. During printing, a glue is applied to the back of the paper (a paste made of rice flour and water being traditional), and then the heavier support (typically, the heavyweight paper normally found in printmaking) is placed on top. Under the pressure of the press, the lighter surface is glued to the support simultaneously with the image printing on it.

ORGIN mid 19th cent.: from Greek kolla "glue" + type

An ink printing process in which a glass printing plate is coated with bichromated gelatin, dried, contact printed with a negative and then washed; leaving a positive image formed by the light-hardened gelatin. A dilution of glycerin and water is applied to the surface and absorbed into the areas of less hardened gelatin. As in lithographic printing, when inked, the ink repelled from those areas where water has been absorbed, leaving a positive ink image on the hardened gelatin.

ORGIN late 16th cent.: from Spanish from Nahuatl copalli "incense"

This type of resin is produced by tropical trees that are found in Madagascar. Real copal is hard, but there are other types of copal which come from Brazil and from the U.S.. These types of copal are softer (they are made from a type of sumac) and are of lesser quality. Copal is used in graining in aquatint, in various galvanic processes and in particular in making hard grade lithographic crayons.

Announced in 1839, the first direct-positive photographic process using silver-plated copper sensitized with fumes of iodine and developed in mercury vapors. Daguerrotypes are extremely precise and quickly became the process of choice for the early photographers. Attempts to duplicate daguerrotype images fueled development of the photogravure process.

An image made by double printing on a gravure press, duogravure is used to deepen tones or add color.
Gum-Bichromate Print

The gum-bichromate process was popular among pictorialists like Steichen and Demachy for its painterly qualities. Gum prints are produced by brushing onto a sheet of textured paper a gum arabic solution mixed with potassium bichromate and a suitable pigment. When dry, the sheet is exposed in contact with a negative. The print is then developed during which the photographer can manipulate the print with a brush, sponge or spray of water. Multiple gum prints, usually more than one color, are made by additional printings of the same negative, in register, on the original sheet.

An intaglio print produced by the gravure process (photogravure).

ORGIN mid 17th cent.: Italian, from intagliare "engrave"

Refers to any printmaking technique in which the image is incised into a surface.
The Linked Ring
The Linked Ring Brotherhood was an organization of photographers founded in London in 1892 by Henry Peach Robinson. Members, including Stieglitz, Coburn, Evans and Annan, held annual exhibitions called "salons," a name they borrowed from the world of painting in an attempt to demonstrate their artistic purpose. Although their aesthetics varied, the members of the Brotherhood were united by their desire to further "the development of the highest form of art of which photography is capable."
Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession
In 1905 Edward Steichen, dissatisfied with the exhibition opportunities in New York, proposed to Stieglitz that they open a gallery in the small apartment next to his residence at 291 Fifth Avenue. The purpose of this gallery would be not only to exhibit the work of the Photo-Secession, but also to show the work of the modern artists emerging from Europe.

From 1907 through 1917, the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession - better known as 291 (from its street address) - staged some of the most important early exhibitions of modern art held in America, featuring artists like Auguste Rodin, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, and other European modernists. In most cases, these were the first showings of their work in New York.

Photo-Club de Paris
Organized in 1894 by Maurice Bucquet to provide an alternate photographic society to the primarily technical and commercial oriented organizations of the time. The members" sole purpose was to discuss and promote camera art. Members included Demachy, LeBegue and Puyo all practitioners of hand manipulated painterly printing techniques.
pho·to se·ces·sion

Founded by Stieglitz in 1902, the photo-secession was a group of prominent amature photographers who promoted a movement to break from the conventional and popular photography organizations of the time because "they could no longer tolerate the set convictions of the body from which they detached themselves, a body which exists on conventions and stereotyped formulae, that checked all spirits of originality instead of encouraging them, that refused its ear to any new doctrine - such groups gave birth to the secession." (Doty p.52)

It was the work of Stieglitz and the Photo-secession, promoted in Camera Work and displayed at 291 that turned the tide in the fight to recognize photography as a legitimate fine art.

Photogenic Drawing
William Henry Fox Talbot"s first photographic process, invented by him in 1834 and initially called sciagraphy. When announced in 1839, he referred to it as photogenic drawing, a term Herschel soon broadened under the umbrella of photography. Light sensitive silver salts were coated on plain writing paper. This could be exposed in a camera or directly in contact under an object such as a leaf. When the light reached the surface, the energy reduced the salts to finely divided silver. This produced a negative, which could then be fixed. The same type of paper could be exposed under a negative to reverse things again, making a positive print.
Photoglyphic Engraving
Patented in 1858 by William Henry Fox Talbot, an early version of photogravure where a gelatin and dichromate mixture was coated on a metal plate, dried and then exposed under an object or a photographic positive. The coating was hardened wherever light reached it, forming a mask (or resist). The plate could then be etched with an iron solution, creating pits, and given a resin grain to retain intermediate tones. Once inked, it could be used to make multiple prints in a conventional press.

ORGIN late 19th cent.: from French, from photo- "relating to light" + gravure "engraving"

A means of reproducing a photograph by printing on paper from an inked and etched copper plate. Perfected by Karl Klíc in 1879, the process came into general use in the 1890s for photographic reproductions.

Over time, photogravures have become increasingly valued as works of fine art. Today photogravure is considered one of the finest and most time intensive of the photographic processes.

Pictorial Photography
A movement beginning in the 1890s that attempted to redefine the nature of the photograph along more painterly lines. These photographers intended to make photographs that were beautiful and appealed to the emotions of the viewer rather than factual and informative.

ORGIN early 19th cent.: from Spanish, diminutive of plata "silver"

Offering delicate gradations and a velvety surface most closely resembling photogravures, the platinum printing process was popular with pictorial photographers from the 1880s through World War I. For platinum prints, paper is coated with a solution of iron salts and a platinum compound. The paper, much admired for its permanency, is contact printed until the image is lightly visible and then developed to the desired density.

ORGIN early 20th cent.: from German Rotogravur part of a name of a printing company.

Invented in 1890 by Karl Klíc, the rotogravure process differentiates itself from the grain gravure process two ways. Rather than using an aquatint grain to break up the image in order to print intermediate tones, a cross line screen is used; and printing is done from a rotating copper cylinder, inked mechanically. This process is also referred to as sheetfed photogravure. In sheetfed presses, individual sheets of paper are fed into the press.
Straight Photography
Departing from the painterly manipulated techniques of the pictorialsts, the straight photographer uses the camera to depict scenes objectively, offering a perspective that was a "direct expression of today."

This straight forward approach touched on by Stieglitz but first officially attributed to Paul Strand and published in the final issues of Camera Work, in many ways was the catalyst that separated photography from the other visual arts and established it as a valid medium. Famous straight photographers to follow Stieglitz and Strand include Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.

A photographic process invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in September 1840 in which a plain sheet of writing paper is dipped in potassium iodide and coated with a solution of silver nitrate to form silver iodide, dried and floated on a mixture containing silver nitrate and Gallic acid. After exposure, the paper negative was usually waxed for transparency and used to make salt prints. Also known as calbotype.
Invented in the 1860s and used only for a few decades, Woodburytype is an obsolete photomechanical process originally developed to create true continuous-tone images. Mr. Walter B. Woodbury patented the process in 1864. But the technique was very difficult to master, couldn't be automated and that the pre-press preparation of the lead printing plate required an enormous amount of hydraulic power, causing the method to become obsolete in the late 19th century.

In Woodburytype, the gelatin relief is impressed into a lead plate, thus creating a mold relief that is virtually identical to the gelatin relief. The lead mold is filled with a warm pigmented gelatin and a sheet of paper is laid on the mold and closed in a bookbinder"s press. When dry the sheet is removed and the prints are trimmed, as there is always extra gelatin that has squeezed out around the edges. Thus Woodburytypes are always trimmed and mounted.