Bromoil Prints by Klaus Bohn
My drive has always been to learn alternative processes. When I heard about the bromoil print process in 1994 I became quite intrigued. World renowned photographer David W. Lewis set up a class for two of us and we flew out to spend a few days with David in Ontario. It is one of the most difficult processes, but it has a rich reward in learning to master the process.
We began by making our own paper, while I believe David used paper that he had purchased from France. The steps we learned took my breath away. The chemistry, inks, oil, brushes from England, putty knives, paper, chammy, and so much more.
We were then instructed on how to expose the paper 25%, 50%, 100%, 150%, 200%, over or under, depending on the negative contrast density. Once we have this dialed in then the matrix had to dry until the next day. The next step was to super heat the matrix and start to ink the paper. This is the most difficult part, layer after layer, and the more layers the more beautiful the images become.
The process is quite complex, but suffice it to say that as you can imagine there is so much more to the bromoil process than is discussed here. I love the art of it, the longevity of it, the difficulty of it, and the beauty of it. It produces an image that could not be produced in any other way. The photographers of old truly were craftsmen and dedicated their lives to their craft without sufficient compensation, yet had the drive to do so.
David W. Lewis is still teaching bromoil classes. More information may be obtained at Davidís web site: www.bromoil.com. I would highly recom-mend these classes if you want to stretch your own personal learning curve.
Below is a photo of my very first bromoil print which I completed in 1994.