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Jean-Francois Couderc

Jean-Francois considers himself to be an 'artisanal photographer' 

'I like to be in charge of my images from start to finish. That is to say that I develop, I scan and then I coat my paper and print my photos myself'

He is trying to bring 'up to date' the earliest photo printing processes such as cyanotype, salt printing, gum bichromate and so on. These time-consuming processes bring an additional charm and mystery to his photographic work.

Cyanotype is a slow-reacting, photographic printing formulation sensitive to a limited near ultraviolet and blue light spectrum. It produces a cyan-blue print used for art as monochrome imagery. Developed in 1842, it is still in use today.

For Gumoil printing a solution of gum arabic is mixed with either potassium or ammonium dichromate. The resulting mixture is spread on heavy paper and allowed to dry in the dark. A contact negative the same size of the finished print is then placed on top of the dried coating and exposed to bright sunshine. The exposed print is then developed gradually in a succession of trays of still water (approximately ten-minute intervals) at room temperature until the bath water is clear. The gum is soft and easily removed at this stage. The negative is then carefully dried when the negative image will be visible as raised areas of clear colourless gum. This surface can then be inked using proprietary oil-based printing ink and impressions made using a simple pressure printing press.

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