Alternative Photographic Processes

Summer 2014 quarter (Session II)

Taught by

media arts, photography, visual studies


Previous coursework in visual/media arts will be helpful, but no prior experience in photography required.
Alternative Photographic Processes include a broad range of techniques rooted in 19th century photographic printmaking that predate traditional negative-to-positive gelatin silver printing. Contemporary photography is experiencing a revival of these traditional methods, now applied in hybrid and/or intermedia practices. In this course, we’ll focus on using low-tech and handmade cameras to create negatives and also experiment with digital negatives. We’ll contact print negatives with cyanotype, gum bichromate, and palladium processes, and explore the language of the photogram, a cameraless image closely related to the monoprint, in cyanotype and in the darkroom. From hand-coating paper with emulsion to timing sun exposures, we will work together to better understand how to put these methods to use in your own creative practice. Classes will combine demonstrations, supervised studio work, group critique and discussion, and short lectures on historical and contemporary practices and artists. This course is equally suited to students new to photography who want to learn basic photographic principles through experimental, low-tech methods; advanced photography students who are ready to incorporate non-silver, non-digital techniques in their practice and experiment with new materials; and students with a background in 2D media who are interested in exploring the rich intersections among drawing, printmaking and photographic processes.
Graduate students are welcome to take this program for undergraduate credit. 


Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

arts, humanities, education

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: 10a-5p Tue, 10a-1p Wed, 10a5p Thu


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$175 for supplies, beyond lab fee (inlcudes paper, chemicals)

Special Expenses

Expect to spend up to approx $50 on your own for various art supplies specific to your projects and a lab apron. An optional textbook, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes (3rd edition) , by Christopher James, is approx $75. 

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Summer)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 14


Course Reference Number

Second Session (8 credits): 40014

Go to to register for this program.

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