A new addition to the tools in the studio is a Makerbot Replicator2. This 3D printer uses recyclable PLA plastic to build objects up to about 5″ x 5″ x 9″. It was purchased to work on the Ascent Project and is also integral to the creation of the Gutenberg sculptures.
The photogram technique is at the heart of Bill’s style. Objects are taken into the darkroom and placed on the sensitized materials and an exposure is made. The picture is processed immediately, the image is viewed and analyzed, refinements are made and then another exposure for a second version. This process of exposure and refinement continues until the desired image is captured. This quick feedback allows for efficient evolution of the image to best achieve the desired results. Pictures are scanned and sent to clients worldwide for review and approval.
These original photograms are made onto a variety of color or black and white materials – depending on the desired result. For color, Bill uses Ilfochrome with a vivid palette, for black and white, either conventional silver-gelatin prints are used or the collodion glass plates which provide a unique hand made appearance.
Working in the studio is often a case study in time travel. Often a picture begins as a collodion photogram: that is a camera-less photograph printed onto a collodion glass plate, as was done in the 1860′s – with a few modern conveniences added. Then this 19th century plate is digitally scanned, and enters the 21st century post-production phases of retouching and output. All digital work is regularly backed up on multiple NAS drives. After any digital post-production is done delivery of the final artwork is by internet, portable hard drive CD or DVD.