Mackerel (gum bichromate)


This fish seemed like a good candidate for my first attempts at gum printing –  (original digital mackerel here). Still a lot to learn / improve upon, but things seem to be going okay… so far…

Oseary Drakoulias: “…you must swear, legally swear, that you will not kill that shark, or whatever it is, if it actually exists.”

Steve Zissou: “I’m going to fight it… but I’ll let it live. What about my dynamite?”

Oseary Drakoulias: “Phillip, dynamite.”

– Michael Gambon & Bill Murray – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

About this image: digital photograph (Canon 300D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop and printed in negative  – negative contact printed on 9″x12″ watercolor paper with/in gum bichromate


77 thoughts on “Mackerel (gum bichromate)

    • Awesome! I’m very happy to hear that!
      Not too complicated, but a lot of variables to keep track of! Makes the multi-colored prints seem even more impressive to me now!
      A lot of fun, too, though – I suspect you’d really like it!

  1. Oh, I really like this one! I love anything marine!! It seems like a very complicated process, this gum printing. To me, it looks like it turned out perfect, SIG. Wasn’t that one of the weirdest movies?

    • Awesome! I’m so happy to hear that, B.F… thank you!
      It’s kind of funny in that the steps aren’t too bad… but there are so many little variables that seem to make a big difference… it’s a bit difficult to nail-down how to find the right balance of things… I think things are improving, though (so that’s good)!
      Hahaha… it is very unique, isn’t it?! I think I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched Wes Anderson Movies (we just watched ‘Bottle Rocket’ again last night, too)!

  2. You know how much I love black and white, so this one looks very nice, but I also like the other one very much too! Why do you give me so many choices? 🙂 Very nice work, Sig!
    Have a great week! 🙂

  3. I’ve never heard of this method, but neat! Who doesn’t love an old-timey fish? I think I actually like the original a bit better because it has more detail around those creepy, creepy fish eyes, but I’d hang a bunch of different colors of this on my living room wall in a second.

    • Agreed, U.M!
      One of the challenges has been trying to find a wider tonal range…
      of course sometimes you want things to be super-contrasty… but I’m still looking for a bit more control there…

  4. Hi Inky….I’m not familiar with gum printing either…I have been seeing a lot of buzz about some kind of gel printing. It’s always fun to try a new ways of making our marks 🙂

    • Very interesting, Mary – I hadn’t heard of gel printing until you mentioned it! At first I was guessing it was almost like a gel medium transfer, but after looking around a bit it looks like a plate to make monoprints… (if I was looking at the right thing, anyway) very cool!

  5. Baker: ” By gum ! That is some Mackerel your Holiness. ”
    Butcher: “Burping…”
    Candle Stick Maker: “Have you tried bicarbonate of soda for that gas ?”
    The Dalai Lama : ” You must be as calm as the tiger.”

    Deleted scene From “The Life of Pie”

    Love your range of creativity.

    • Thank you so much, L.B! That’s another cool thing about this process… being able to choose what color to use… or colorS even! A multiple color / layer print might take quite a bit of practice, though (I’m still trying to figure out a single color)!

  6. YMMG, of course (you made me google), SIG. I am even more impressed now that I read the opening lines of Wikipedia on this topic:
    Gum printing is a way of making photographic reproductions without the use of silver halides. The process uses salts of dichromate in common with a number of other related processes such as…. etc
    that’s about where i got lost. well i actually got lost in the silver halides already. blows the mind what you do. so talented, and very creative once again! thanks for sharing.

    • I probably made it sound more difficult than it really is… the steps / materials are fairly basic… just that there are SO many variables within those steps. The kind of thing that just takes a bit of time / practice to figure out, I suspect. But that’s the fun part, so no complaints here (as long as I get SOME kind of result to show for myself, anyway)!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by! And for leaving such kind comments as well!
      It was quite a bit of fun! Well… once I got SOME results, anyway. I’ve still got a long way to go… but I love alt. processes, so no complaints about that!

    • You are always far too kind, Ms. K, thank you!
      Hahaha… he looks a bit like he’s seen me experimenting with gum printing and is wondering, ‘What is wrong with that guy now?’!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s