The Book Of Alternative Photographic Processes is an examination of a wide range of developmental process for creating photographic images. These range from well known ones like pinhole and Cyanotype, to more bizarre ones like Gum Bichormate, and Salted Paper.
Author Christopher James, a photographer and Harvard University professor, takes you through all of the chemistry and materials that are needed for each process. He gives a number of ways to make negatives and prepare the printing paper, as well as coaching you to help your understanding and accepting of the enormously variable effects of each method. Alternative is 660 pages and is divided into 23 chapters.
Chapter 1, "The Pinhole: Making Pictures with a Box of Air," begins not only with the background of the pinhole camera, but a good history of photography in general. As the name implies, a pinhole camera is one that uses a simple opening to let in the light on the photographic media.
Chapter 2, "The Salted Paper Process," is the first type of paper print used in photography. It uses salt as one of the main ingredients and was popular until around the 1850s. Chapter 3, "The Calotype Process & the Art of Fixing Shadows," shows you how this and the salted paper process share the same basic history. Here you will see how to make a calotype paper negative that can be utilized for contact printing with the salted paper process.
Chapter 4, "The Negative: Alternative Process Options," now looks at options within the rapidly shrinking availability of negative film world. These include the use of photogram materials, acrylic lifts, and calotype-like paper negatives. Chapter 5, "The Digital Options: Odd History, Workflows for Negatives, and the Digital Arts," examines the new world of digital photography, and how, with the use of Photoshop, you can simulate techniques that would take an exceeding long time in the traditional lab.
Chapter 6, "The Anthotype & Chlorophyll Process: The Art of Printing with Flowers and Vegetation," is a very simple process and easy to do. The biggest problem is the care and handling to preserve the final images. Chapter 7, "The Cyanotype Process," is generally one of the first processes learn in alternative photography because of it's almost failsafe technique.