Christopher James
Director M.F.A. Program in Photography
Department Chair / Photography
The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University
700 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215
800-773-0494 X 6684

Santa Fe Workshops


A heads up regarding my current plans for the summer workshop season. At the moment I am planning on spending the first part of the summer completing the 3rd edition of The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: Third Edition… A 850 page / 550 image beast that I have had precious little time to attend to this year. As a result, I’m limiting my summer to a three-week sequence at The Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, beginning June 17th and going through July 6th. Presently, my part of the line SFW line up looks like this:
I am also scheduling private one to three person workshops in my studio in Dublin, NH. Please write to me, tell me what you want to learn and when and I’ll call you to make plans.

© Christopher James, Rebecca & Wisteria 9-1-2010 (wet plate collodion)


Week I - June 17 – June 22
Introduction to Alternative Photographic Processes
In this first week, we’ll cover most of the processes my book, usually 9-10 processes in a week, except for wet plate collodion, carbon, and a few other more time consuming and complex techniques. If you have experienced this intensive overview you are more than welcome to come back and refresh your alt pro batteries and techniques. This is a perfect workshop to pair with Week II or Week III. Here’s a basic course description:

Investigate an extensive menu of alternative photographic processes in this adventurous, hands-on workshop. Christopher welcomes creative people from all artistic disciplines—especially those individuals who possess an active sense of humor. He encourages participants to jump-start their artistic energies by experimenting with a wide array of alternative and esoteric processes. The ultimate objective of this workshop is to reveal new options, restore creative energy, and inspire new directions for each individual’s unique vision and artistic growth.

Among the processes you will learn are cyanotype, cyanotype murals, kallitype, salted paper process, albumen, gum bichromate, platinum / palladium, and Ziatype, as well as hybrid process combinations, toning options and an introduction to wet plate collodion. Other topics include large-format pinhole photography, simplified digital negative production, paper preparation, post-print archival techniques and a survey of historical and contemporary alternative processes.

For those looking for extended instruction and additional processes, consider combining this workshop with the Wet Collodion Workshop June 24-29 and/or the Advanced Alternative Processes: Projects workshop July 1-6.

Week II – June 24 – June 29
Wet Plate Collodion Workshop (Wet Collodion Road Show)

This workshop offers photographic artists the opportunity to learn the beauty and complexity of the historical wet-plate collodion process from a contemporary perspective. Christopher provides a dynamic, hands-on, group experience in an energetic and supportive environment. Participants receive continual assistance and immediate feedback on works in progress, along with an open exchange of working concepts, ideas, history, and techniques. Demonstrations, and learning through repetition, successes, and failure, are a continuous part of the workshop. A sense of wonder, an appreciation of the accidental, and a sense of humor are especially helpful.

Using Christopher’s definitive reference text, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: 2nd Edition, and the new wet plate collodion chapter from his upcoming 3rd Edition, as our guides, we will make wet-plate collodion ferrotypes and ambrotypes. Christopher will have several antique cameras and lenses to work with, and all chemistry, tanks, and plates are provided. If you are interested in obtaining an inexpensive antique wet plate camera and lens of your own, Christopher will help you locate one.

We will begin learning about the process in our dedicated Workshop facility and then get on the road to make wet-plate collodion images using New Mexico as our studio. Plans include a location day in a Hollywood western movie set and other locations that will provide a variety of location options and opportunities.

Christopher’s workshops are a lot of fun, so bring your sense of humor and adventure and a curiosity about this magical process.

Week III: July 1 – July 6
Alternative Processes: Projects Workshop (including wet plate collodion)

This advanced workshop is designed for visual artists whose portfolios demonstrate a comfortable working knowledge of alternative processes or who have previously attended one of Christopher’s alternative processes workshop. The workshop offers photographers a week of processes, working time, a dedicated facility, chemistry and materials with which to refine their skills and focus their energies on a specific project or technique. In recent years there has been a specific interest in wet plate collodion, gum bichromate, and platinum & palladium.

Christopher’s workshops provide a dynamic, hands-on, group experience within an energetic and supportive environment. Participants receive continual and personal assistance and immediate feedback on work in progress, along with an enthusiastic one- on-one exchange of working concepts, ideas, history, and techniques. Individual process demonstrations will be provided on request.

Using Christopher’s The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, Second Edition as the workshop text, we are equipped to handle a wide range of processes, including: wet plate collodion, platinum / palladium, salted paper, albumen, kallitype, argyrotype, cyanotype, gum bichromate and gum combination techniques, Ziatype, and other processes and techniques that suit your needs. We also have a digital negative production setup in the facility. While most of our printing is done in the sun, UV exposure units are available.

This is an ideal workshop to combine with the
Wet Plate Collodion Workshop, June 24 – 29. Christopher’s workshops are a lot of fun so come prepared to spend a creative week, with a great group of artists, working in-depth on an alt process technique, project, or portfolio.

© Christopher James, Alison & Ruby Rose- New Mexico 7-13-12

Christopher James
Christopher James is an internationally known artist and photographer whose paintings and alternative process images have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the U.S. and abroad, His work has been published and shown extensively, including shows in the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, George Eastman House, and Philadelphia Museum of Art. His book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, receiving unprecedented critical acclaim, was the winner of The Golden Light Technical Book of the Year award, and is, in it’s second edition, recognized as the definitive reference text in alternative process image making. Christopher’s 850 page / 550 image 3rd Edition will be published in 2013. Having taught at Harvard University for 13 years, Christopher is presently University Professor and Director of the MFA in Photography program at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. He is also a graphic designer and a professional scuba diver. This is Christopher’s tenth year teaching at the Workshops. His web site is