Non-Silver and Alternative

Silver had been the basis for most photography since its inception. However early on there were experiments done with other materials and the 1970s and 80s saw a renewal of interest in these obsolete and alternative processes. My friend and colleague, Patricia Lenz, and I taught several workshops featuring Photos on Fabrics using a number of different materials and techniques.


Cyanotyping was the basis for the old blueprint process and uses iron salts as the light sensitive emulsion for contact printing. Cyanotypes have a lovely blue color and I have done most of my cyanotypes on fabric including some large quilted pieces.

Van Dyke

The Van Dyke process, named for Anthony van Dyke, is another contact printing process that results in a brown print. It is not strictly non-silver since the emulsion uses both iron salts and silver salts.

Collage Negatives

Printing from found images, collaged and used as negatives, I did a series that were commentaries on expectations regarding women’s physical appearance. The “negatives” were printed on a variety of papers using different processes including Cyanotype, Van Dyke, Gum Bichromate, and Kwik Print (a commercial proofing process).


While teaching classes on alternative photography, my students and I sponsored “Xerox” exhibitions that were open to anyone on campus. In the early years, only black and white copiers were available in the area. On a couple of occasions we made field trips to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) to use the color copiers there. More recently I have done direct copies on my scanners.