For this final image of the series that were taken at Mossyard on the south coast of Scotland, I have turned to photogravure as my inspiration.

The process of photogravure involves transferring a photographic image onto a copper plate, etching the plate then printing using the intaglio method. In this, printing ink is worked into the etched pockets, the surface is polished, then the plate is pressed onto damp paper which lifts the ink, giving a tonal gradation like photography, but having a richness and sometimes a softness that is very appealing.

The process was initially developed by Henry Fox Talbot and others in the 1830s, but the modern process appeared in 1878 and was taken up widely for reproducing photographs. The greatest practitioners to my mind were Peter Henry Emerson, Alfred Stieglitz, Alvin Langdon Coburn and Paul Strand. A modern derivative of the process is the polymer gravure which is produced without the use of acids. I would love to explore this process.

My version is a take on gravure using various post processing techniques.

If you don’t know the work of PH Emerson I recommend that you go have a look.



5 thoughts on “Photogravure

  1. I saw a TV program that spoke about this technique and Henry Fox Talbot not so long ago. It looks really interesting but a bit complicated. Wouldn’t mind having a go sometime, if I could really get things together to do it 🙂 Might have to visit the art shop in Namur maybe … I’ll think about it a bit. Thanks for sharing John.. it’s a great picture.


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