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Tom Wise is a photographer currently living in New Mexico. Tom’s interest in photography was instilled by his father who loved nothing more than to photograph the prairies of Nebraska, then return to his basement darkroom to develop film and make silver gelatin prints.

Tom spent his adult life as an educator in the Omaha, Nebraska area. He returned to photography as he neared retirement. Initially, Tom’s plan was to focus on digital photography, taking classes at the local community college. The first class he took, was “Basic Analog Photography” where the medium was black and white film. This rekindled those memories of working in his father’s darkroom when he was much younger. Tom subsequently focused on analog (black & white) photography and on his own, started working with alternative processes.

Initially, Tom taught himself how to make cyanotype and kallitype prints using available resources. Tom wanted to create prints with a wider palette so he enrolled gum bichromate workshops taught by Christina Z. Anderson, and later, Diana Bloomfield. Since then, Tom has been creating monochromatic, duotone and full color prints using kallitype, cyanotype and gum bichromate processes.

Artist Statement

I am an artist who uses alternative, historical processes to create my photographic prints. I begin with a photograph I have taken with a digital camera, which I then convert into a negative. I place the negative on top of paper which I have coated with a light sensitive compound. I then expose it to ultraviolet light. I convert the exposed print into a finished image using one of the following processes:

  • Gum bichromate, which was discovered in the 1830’s, is a process using dichromates, gum arabic and pigment to create color images.
  • Cyanotype, which was discovered in the 1840’s, is a process using compounds that contain cyanide. The process results in prints that have a distinctive blue hue.
  • Kallitype, which was discovered in the 1880’s, is an iron-silver process. When toned with palladium, it produces a black and white print with a wide range of tones from dark to light.

My work consists primarily of landscapes, close-up botanical studies and recently, vintage automobiles. In my landscapes, I try to evoke the memory of place. With my botanicals and automobiles, I try to honor the subject. Ultimately, I try to coax the viewer to see a fresh or new view of objects or scenes they might otherwise lightly brush over or pass by altogether.

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