Childhood home series

In my childhood home 'stuff' had been accumulating for yeard and years.  You are used to all the things in the house which is no longers yours. In my case all the toys, keys and all kinf of objects were saved, for later. My mother had been young during WWII and had grown up with the idea that you should not throw away anything. Everything might come in handy at a certain moment. Her house was full of objects that had never found such a moment. The more often you are in a place (my childhood home in this case), the less you tend to really see what there really is. It is only when I started to photograph the different rooms and places that I began to actually see the house and the things it held within. As unique as these pictures are, there is something in them which is being recognised by a lot of people with a childhoodhome which has been the same house for quite a while. The geraniums, the rakes, the childrens toys, the flowers in the garden etc.etc. They all have a sort of timelessness, an uniformity which stand for a phase in life. By recreating these pictures in (time consuming) bichromateprints I try to pay a hommage to my childhoodhome and all the unintentionally still-lifes my mother left there.

Slow photography

A gum print is made with an emulsion of three components; gum Arabic, a dichromate and a pigment. The papers used are usually 100% cotton so that they can withstand some abusive treatments; being wet for long times among others. The emulsion is spread on a prepared (pre-shrinked and sized) paper with a brush. After the paper has dried, a negative the size of the print is laid on the emulsion-side of the paper after which it is exposed to a UV light source. The light will harden the dichromate-gum Arabic-pigment mixture to the degree of UV exposure received. The paper is developed is plain water where the unhardened (the highlights of the print) will wash away. Developing time can be as long as two or three hours. Then the print is dried and one can decide to make another layer. When making three or four colour prints this procedure has to be repeated with a different negative for each colour. Some gum-printers choose to make very 'thin' layers, so they can control colour better. There are printers who make prints with up to 16 layers. Although I am not one of them, I do often make more than four layers in a colour print.

So the basics seem quite simple; three ingredients and a good paper. But after working with this process for quite some time now I have discovered that in fact it is quite complex. And I am not alone when I say that this is a very seductive process. It is very labour intensive, and there is definitely a meditating aspect at being busy with making prints the slow way.