© Susan Mullally, a student at Maine Media Workshops+College

As we move into an increasingly digital world, it becomes more and more important to

to preserve the delicate and ingenious processes that defined the early years of photography. Understanding historical processes is a key element to appreciating the work of the photographic masters, 19th century innovators who ranged from scientists to fine artists and everything in between. As paradoxical as it might sound, the future of photography truly does lie not only in the latest technological advances but also the artful and complex methods of our past. No one understands this fact better than photographer and educator Brenton Hamilton, who has throughout his career mined the processes of more than a century ago for new ways for contemporary artists to share their visions with the world.

In addition to working as a studio artist and serving as president and contributing writer of the non-profit Obscura, an organization dedicated to educating young people through photography, Hamilton is a core faculty member at Maine Media Workshops+College, where he runs a comprehensive program on alternative processes. This summer, the program will include an astonishing array of workshops, where students will learn to make everything from Cyanotype on paper and fabric to salted paper, albumen, and platinum prints. Adventurous students can also learn how to produce large-format pinhole photographs and apply emulsions by hand to various alternative printing materials. Additionally, workshops will focus on ziatypes, tintypes, wet-plate collodion processes, gum bichromate printing from digital negatives, and mind-bending methods like light painting, stitched panoramas, and astrophotography.

Since many of these processes are completed under sunlight rather than in a darkroom, participating artists will watch their images develop and take shape under the coastal Maine sky. Just like the beautiful surroundings, the pieces created by Alternative Process students at Maine Media Workshops+College are truly one of a kind, unable to be reproduced or reprinted in the same way twice. Alternative processes yield photographic objects that are entirely unique to their makers, rare works of art that once seen, reward in spades the hard work and care that goes into their manufacture. Sometimes, moving forward into a new era of photography means taking a look backwards at its unforgettable origin.


© Chris Fain, a student at Maine Media Workshops+College


© Sasha Hull, a student at Maine Media Workshops+College