In scrambling around for information on alternative and historic processes I've come across some material in a roundabout way. One extremely useful publication was The World Journal of Post-Factory Photography published by Judy Seigel. In her own inimitable style, Judy sets forth in 9 issues stories of practitioners, methods and how-to's for alternative photographic processes.
The issues are invaluable. With articles by some of the foremost practitioners of the day, responses in subsequent issues, discussions of different approaches to a problem - more informal than a textbook - more approachable than a few fragmentary notes on the web.
In the next couple days I'll be covering my experiences with the cyanotype process. It was this simplest of processes that led me to track down Judy via the Alt Photo mail list.
I am not sure if the nine published issues are still available? Issue One is on line (a large scanned download). I got my shrink wrapped (clear plastic - no hiding my passion) set of issues and curled up for hours.
Issue Five was a gold mine of information about the cyanotype process. Invented by Sir John Herschel (a famous polymath) in 1842 it is one of the first photographic processes invented. Anna Atkins produced the first photobook, on British Algae, in cyanotype. The issue profiles perhaps the leading modern practitioner of the cyanotype process, John Dugdale.
The cyanotype process has one significant drawback for some people - it produces blue images (Prussian Blue to be precise). It was widely used as the blueprint process to copy design and architectural drawings. Dugdale's worked sparked my interest in this historic process - as he is able to transcend and express himself beautifully in blue.
More on the cyanotype process later.