NWC News Desk

Photo show opens Jan. 20 at the Beta Coffee House

Posted January 8, 2007

P O W E L L, W y o. - "Through the Alternate Eye," an exhibit of photography created through the use of alternate processes, opens Saturday, Jan. 20, with an 11 a.m.-1 p.m. reception at the Beta Coffee House in Cody.

The exhibit represents the work of 12 Northwest College Photo Theme House students who are exploring alternate and uncommon image-producing processes sometimes used by the contemporary photographer. They'll showcase a half dozen or so processes in the exhibit and will be on hand to explain them during the opening reception.

One of the featured processes is cyanotype, an old monochrome printing process which exposes the print to ultraviolet light (such as sunlight), creating a cyan-blue color image. It was discovered initially in 1842 by English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel, but it is Anna Atkins who's credited with first using the process in photography. Her series of cyanotype books documenting ferns and other plant life gained her recognition in 1843 as the first woman photographer.

Viewers can also count on seeing Van Dyke Brown images, accomplished through another early photographic printing technique. Using this process, images can be printed on materials as diverse as metal, glass or tile that are first sized with gelatin, arrowroot or a similar substance. The process earned its name because the resulting prints are similar to the color of a brown oil paint named for Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyke.

Examples of infrared photography, a more contemporary process popularly used by the scientific community, will also be included in the exhibit. Infrared film is unaffected by all or most of the visible light spectrum, resulting in images with a surreal or sometimes lurid appearance (filters are used in digital cameras). The first published infrared photograph was taken by Robert Wood in 1910 using experimental film.

The United States used this process during World War I to improve its aerial reconnaissance photography. In the golden age of black and white movies, infrared film was used to enable night shots to be done during the day. Recording artists in the 1960s, including Jimi Hendrix, Donovan and the Grateful Dead, used it on album covers because of its unusual or psychedelic qualities. A related type of infrared imaging is used today to test remotely for the health of foliage.

The NWC Photo Theme House students' alternate process venture is a far tangent from their previous project completed just last month - a 2007 calendar of sepia-like images showcasing the everyday artifacts of cowboy life.

Theme house students who will exhibit works in the alternate process show are Trisha Casey and Esther Lee of Billings, Mont.; Aleeshia Denison from LaBarge; Blake Hendrix, Idaho Falls, Idaho; Kari Neff, Gillette; Michael Reimer, Newcastle; Teala Starr, Ennis, Mont.; Melissa Wagner of Harrison, Mont.; and Barb Girard, Jayne Johnson, Brian Schwarz and Eva Shuman, all of Powell.

NWC's Photo Theme House advisers Anthony M. Polvere and Rick Rivard also plan to contribute some of their alternate-process images to the show.

"Through the Alternate Eye" will be displayed through Saturday, Feb. 10. The Beta Coffee House, located at 1132 12th St. in Cody, is open from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends.