Printing: VanDyke Brown

We’re gonna focus on a process in lieu of a location for this post, in honor of today’s eclipse.  Meet the VanDyke Brown, a sunshiny, surreal, and slightly magical process for printing photos on a variety of materials without a darkroom.  Using UV light from the sun (or a trashy cheap tanning bed venue, in my case) to cast light upon a chemical-coated piece of material, the Vandyke Brown process allows for printing on a variety of textures.  Inconsistencies in the saturation of chemicals on the material create a foggy, surreal effect in the print, so high contrast images images look dreamy and soft.

I made these in 2011 using inkjet negatives:

Maya Angelou quote in Cass Tech on paper towel
Maya Angelou quote in Cass Tech on cardstock
The pedestrian tunnel of Gary, Indiana’s former Sheraton Hotel on cardstock
Peter Hayes of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on paper towel
Tornado damage in Millbury, Ohio on paper towel
Tornado damage in Millbury, Ohio on cardstock
Junkyard truck on cardstock
Junkyard truck on paper towel

The process does not require a darkroom, but the chemicals are highly toxic and should be handled with caution.



2 thoughts on “Printing: VanDyke Brown

  1. What an astounding effect this process creates! I’ve never heard of it before, so thank you for the beautiful introduction — though I’m too much of a klutz to work with “highly toxic chemicals” and try it for myself. 🙂


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