2014 Northwest Symposium for Alternative Process Photography

Keynote Speaker

  • Mark Osterman

    Mark will speak about his concept for the "techno aesthetic" evolution of photography and the various families of photographic processes (both negative and positive) that evolved in the 19th century. This includes changing tastes in soft and hard focus...shiny and matte and warm tonal hues, clean and loose approach and how artists today might find inspiration from historic imagery. Mark's presentation will be illustrated with vintage images from the collections of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and his own work made with vintage processes.

Symposium Presenters

  • Susan de Witt

    Susan de Witt will present a review of her entry into, and immersion in, photography, with emphasis on the Lith printing process that has become her signature style of printing. The majority of the Lith photos in her slide presentation will show some of the variations of technique she employs in the darkroom.

  • Doug Ethridge

    Doug will present his overall philosophy of creating a body of work - the imagery, the method(s) of capture and the method(s) of printmaking. He will show work from several series, including palladium and gum over palladium, and discuss a step-by-step work flow of print-making for a series, including the basic workflow of digital negatives.

  • Bill Vaccaro

    "The Things She Left Behind" project: how it came about and why Bill chose to do it using the wet plate collodion and Ziatype processes. He will also talk about the Ziatype palladium process itself, a relatively new process created nearly 20 years ago by Dick Sullivan. Bill will also share new wet plate and dry plate collodion work, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of dry plate vis-a-vis wet plate.

  • Diana Bloomfield

    Diana will talk about the evolution and lure of 19th century printing processes, along with the use of primitive cameras and how 21st century digital technology fits in, from seemingly truthful and straightforward imagery, all defined edges, sharply rendered in black and white, to varying shades of gray, sepia, and soft multi-layered colors in between. How and why does a photographer evolve from 'documentary' work to sheer ambiguity where nothing is literal; less 'truth' is revealed; and more questions than answers are offered?

  • S. Gayle Stevens

    Gayle will speak of breaking all the Rules, and how she is pushing the boundaries of wet plate collodion.

Presenter Bio

Mark Osterman

Mark Osterman is Process Historian at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York. His primary research in the technical history of early photography is internationally known in both photo history and photo conservation circles and his images made with historic photographic processes place him in the epicenter of the current alternative process movement. In the course of his research Osterman has had the rare opportunity to make photogenic drawings at Lacock Abbey [Lacock, England] where Talbot did his own experiments, shoot daguerreotypes from Daguerre's apartment window [Paris] and make Albumen on glass negatives at the Maison Niepce, where Niepce did his first experiments in heliography [St. Loup de Varennes].

Along with his wife, France Scully Osterman, the couple known as Scully & Osterman were the first to give public workshops in the wet collodion process, collodion emulsion printing and dry plate collodion processes. Mark's writings featured in books such as Christopher James' Book of Alternative Photographic Process have been instrumental for launching a new movement in making gelatin emulsions for dry plates and films.

For ten years Osterman taught the evolution of photography to photograph conservators at Eastman House and at other institutions internationally. He is currently producing and teaching workshops that include the earliest asphalt heliograph technique to making gelatin emulsions for film and plates at the Museum and offsite as part of the Eastman House's new emphasis in photography education.

Additional Information:

Susan de Witt

Susan de Witt is a fine art photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She began studying photography in the year 2000 at Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, and still prefers traditional darkroom work over digital production. The majority of her work is printed using lith chemistry on suitable papers. The lith process provides her with characteristics that she has been unable to attain using regular silver gelatin printing techniques. She strives for an ethereal and nostalgic look in her imagery that also gives a questionable authenticity to reality. She employs numerous techniques to achieve her goals, including masking, liquid emulsion, diffusion, the use of multiple negatives, bleaching and toning.

Additional Information:

Doug Ethridge

Douglas Ethridge is a fine art photographer, writer and video producer based in Washington State. He has been a working artist since the mid-1970s and his exhibitions in the U.S. have included works in silver gelatin, digital and analog color, alternative process as well as video. His photography has been published in numerous venues including LensWork, Camera Arts, COLOR, Hasselblad, B&W Magazine, B&W UK, and Chinese Photographer. He is represented by Verve Fine Arts, Kevin Longino Fine Photographs and Frans Vanhove Fine Arts.

"I see image-making as a multi-step process, from concept to creating the image to making the print. Each step is equally enjoyable and critical to the end result. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore a multitude of image-making and print-making methods and am able to draw upon this broad repertoire from the moment I begin to imagine a new body of work.

Additional Information:

Bill Vaccaro

Bill Vaccaro is a fine art photographer who works with processes ranging from the 19th century to the present. His photographic interests range from studies on the way people express their faith and religion (Jesus Is On The Mainline), architecture (Gateway) to a fascination with fireworks (Boomtown). His photographs have been exhibited nationally in such venues as the Center for Fine Art Photography; the Dishman Art Center; the Houston Center for Photography, Lightbox Gallery, the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University; RayKo Photo Center; Soho Photo Gallery, and wallspace gallery. His work has appeared in B&W Magazine, Magazine, F-STOP, BLUR as well as National Public Radio’s Picture Show blog. He was recently honored as one of the “Best of the Best” emerging fine art photographers for 2012 by He lives with his wife in Chicago, Illinois.

Additional Information:

Diana Bloomfield

Diana Bloomfield has been an exhibiting photographer for thirty years. Her photographs have been widely published, including in Pinhole Photography: Rediscovering a Historic Technique (3rd Edition), by Eric Renner; Robert Hirsch's Exploring Color Photography Fifth Edition:From Film to Pixels (2011); Christina Z. Anderson's Gum Printing and Other Amazing Contact Printing Processes(2013); and in Jill Enfield's Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes: Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques (June 2013). Her work has also been included in Pinhole Journal; The Post Factory Journal; Chinese Photography; The Sun; Diffusion; North Carolina Literary Review; and SxSE (South x Southeast).

A native North Carolinian, Diana currently lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she also teaches workshops in her amazing backyard studio. She received her MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from North Carolina State University. Her work is represented in Raleigh by Adam Cave Fine Art, and by Tilt Gallery, located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

S. Gayle Stevens

S. Gayle Stevens has worked in antiquarian photographic processes for over fifteen years. Her chosen medium is wet plate collodion for its fluidity and individuality. She exhibits extensively across the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and China. Ms. Stevens received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She is an educator, speaker, juror, curator and an active member of the photographic community. Named one of the Critical Mass Top Fifty Photographers for 2010, she received second place in the Lens Culture International Exposure Awards in 2011 and was named a finalist for the Clarence John Laughlin Award in 2012. Her work has been featured in Fraction, Square, Shots, Diffusion, B + W Photography, South by Southeast and Fuzion magazines and in the recently published book Inventing Reality, New Orleans Visionary Photography. North Light Press published a book of Stevens’ work, Calligraphy, in their 11 + 1 Signature series. Christopher James will feature her work in the third edition of The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. Stevens’ work is widely collected and is part of the permanent collection of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Rockford Museum of Art and the Center for Fine Art Photography among others. A member of the Posse photo collective, she divides her time shooting in Pass Christian, Mississippi and Downers Grove, Illinois, where she resides. Stevens is represented by Tilt Gallery.

Additional Information:

Print Trade & Display

Optional Alt-Photo Print Trade

If you would like to participate in the optional print trade, bring a matted print made to these specifications and turn it in during Registration:

  • Original print made using Alternative Photography printing process (please note the process used on the back of the print or under-mat)
  • Matted, maximum dimensions 16x20
  • Wrapped in plain paper

We will use a ticket process (you will receive a ticket upon check-in) to randomly assign prints amongst those participating in the print trade.

Optional Alt-Photo Print Display

Bring along your Alternative Photography prints to display and share with attendees. There will be tables provided to layout and present your work.

Discussion Groups

Birds of a Feather Discussions

"Birds of a Feather Flock Together". Informal ad hoc groups for discussing anything related to alternative photography. Lead your own discussion group for a topic you are passionate about or attend a group hosted by another participant. The BoFs are intended to facilitate networking and information sharing among participants.

Event Details & Registration

Hosted by LightBox Photographic Gallery
In beautiful Astoria, Oregon
September 12-14th, 2014
Alternative Photo Exhibition
Speakers, Discussion Forums, Print Displays on the 13th and 14th

This symposium is geared to the beginner and the advanced photographer alike, interested in learning and using alternative printing processes, from Cyanotype, Van Dyke, Platinum-Palladium, Wet Plate Collodion to Salt Prints and many other processes.

The weekend is full of activities, with a juried group show of alternative process work at LightBox to presentations by 6 of the countries leading photographers and technicians of Alternative Process Photography.

Bring your Alternative Photography Prints to display and share with attendees. A great opportunity to meet, share with and learn from your peers from around the country.

Altered Views Call for Submissions


Event Price

  $125.00 Early Bird Special
  $150.00 After August 17th

Event Registration

Please contact to register and for additional information. Symposium fee can be paid by PayPal (preferred), or check in advance. Space is limited - payment in advance required to guarantee your participation.

Symposium Registration Form - Complete and email to

Registration Details

Pay Registration Online:

Location & Directions

Althernative Photo Exhibition will be held at the LightBox Photographic Gallery, 1045 Marine Drive, Astoria OR.

Symposium events will be held at the historical Liberty Theatre in Astroria, OR. 1203 Commercial Street, Astoria, OR. 97013
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Symposium Agenda

Friday September 12th at LightBox Photographic Gallery

6:00 - 8:00pm

  • Alt-Photo Exhibition Preview and reception for symposium attendees
  • Symposium Registration
Saturday September 13th at Liberty Theatre, 2nd Floor

9:00 - 10:00am

  • Symposium Registration, meet & greet continential breakfast

10:00 - 10:15am

  • Welcome from CPHT-Pacifica and LightBox Photographic Gallery

10:15 - Noon

  • Keynote Speaker - Mark Osterman

Noon - 1:00pm

  • Lunch break - lunch provided

1:00 - 2:00pm

  • Speaker Susan de Witt

2:00 - 3:00pm

  • Print Sharing

3:00 - 4:00pm

  • Speaker Doug Ethridge

4:00 - 5:00pm

  • "Birds of a Feather" meet-up groups
Saturday September 13th at LightBox Photographic Gallery

6:00 - 9:00pm

  • Alt-Photo Exhibition artists opening reception and Astoria Art Walk
Sunday September 14th at Liberty Theatre, 2nd Floor

9:00 - 10:00am

  • Coffee and tea

10:00 - 11:00am

  • Speaker Bill Vaccaro

11:00 - Noon

  • Print trade distribution and print sharing

Noon - 1:00pm

  • Speaker Diana Bloomfield

1:00 - 2:00pm

  • Lunch - on your own (Astoria Sunday Market outside theatre and nearby restaurants)

2:00 - 3:00pm

  • Speaker S. Gayle Stevens

3:00 - 4:00pm

  • "Birds of a Feather" meet-up groups