The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes

Christopher James

"James brings the art of hand-coated and alternative photography to a new level . . . The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes will become the new standard text for alternative hand-coated photography."

Dick Sullivan, Founder and Co-Owner, Bostick & Sullivan

Photographic artists and students will welcome this full-color, comprehensive technical resource that explores every aspect of alternative photography.  Written in a highly accessible style, each of the book's chapters introduces the history of a technique, presents an overview of the relevant alternative or non-silver photographic process, reviews its chemistry, and provides practical guidance in how to make it work. Traditional and digital contact negative production are featured—plus an array of processes including cyanotype, Van Dyke, Kallitype, gum bichromate, platinum/palladium, Ziatype, Ambrotype, and hand-applied emulsions.


  • Covers historical, procedural, and interdisciplinary connections from generating hand-made camera negatives to the logical evolution of techniques from the beginning of the photographic arts to digital imaging.
  • Fully explains processes used by historical and modern photographic artists—most of which do not require a darkroom—offering exciting alternatives to traditional methods and opening new doors to creative expression.
  • Emphasis on the image-making process guides the reader to repeatable successes by exposing them to the idiosyncrasies of a wide variety of alternative and interdisciplinary process options.
  • Showcases historical archetypes and "sets the bar" with contemporary images by students and top professionals, including Sally Mann, George Tice, Jayne Hinds Bidaut, Luis Gonzalez Palma, Olivia Parker, Dan Estabrook, Bea Nettles, and the author.
  • Features an extensive section on chemical descriptions and safety considerations, making this book accessible and safe for use by the novice and experienced image-maker alike.

"The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes is both landmark and guide. It's where we've been, where we are now, and where we're going. Photography's classic methods and materials are explained, explored, extended, and reinvented, while marching well into the age of inkjet and digital."

Judy Seigel, Founder / Editor, The World Journal of Post Factory Photography