Alternative Process: Behind the Scenes with Exhibitor Rachael Edgar

Our Alternative Process exhibition is still available to see at The Engine Room (but only until 7th December!), Manchester, featuring creative and innovative photography by artists working with Polaroid Lift, Wet Plate Collodion, Gum Bichromate, Photogram, Pinhole, Mordançage, Photogravure, Cyanotype and more. The show has prompted questions from visitors about the processes involved and the stories behind the works, so we thought it would be a good idea to meet the artists individually to find out more by way of some short interviews. This time we talk to Rachael Edgar about her work…

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, my name is Rachael Edgar and I guess I would call myself a fine artist. I work with all forms of printmaking from etching through to lithography as well as photographic processes. It was printmaking that led me to alternative photography processes – I get the same thrill from watching a Van Dyke photo develop as I do from lifting that first print from an etching plate. There is always the element of the unexpected.

I have just been announced as one of four artists awarded a Graduate Award at London Print Studio. I'm going to be using the time and expertise it affords me to further develop my alt photography work, combining gum bichromate with lithography so that i can work through combining photographic elements with drawn mark making. That's the plan anyhow!

What did you exhibit?

I exhibited some gum bichromate work with gold leaf additions. They are three layers printed in lamp black. They are from found and altered photographs.  Both of them are actually negatives of positive images and are single separations – I split them into CMYK channels and chose only one separation to make the final images, based on the image I had in mind for the end result.

I exhibit a mix of work, from one process work such as my etchings through to mixed media work such as my gum bichromates on glass with paint and gold leaf on the reverse of the photo/glass. They have just been in the Wiseman Gallery as part of the new biennial Oxford Photography Festival.

 What made you take part in this exhibition?

I am new to alt pbotography really and I was researching photography when I came across the Shutter Hub exhibition. I wondered how my work might look next to that by people who would consider themselves photographers but I just gave it a go and happily it was chosen.

Have you attended the exhibition in person and if so what did you think?

I went to the PV of the exhibition and  I was really Impressed but, more than anything I realised there is so much more to learn. Wet collodion next? Perhaps I need a bit of help with that though – not sure I fancy doing it wrong and poisoning myself/blowing up my shed….


You can see the exhibition for yourself until Sun 7th December 2014, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm at The Engine Room, Mill 1, Woodend Mills, Manchester Rd, Mossley, Ashton under Lyne, Lancs, OL5 9RR.(Viewing by appointment during the exhibition, contact John at The Engine Room on 07736 849 388) For further information about the exhibition see our previous post here.

You can see more of Rachael Edgar's work at her Shutter Hub profile here. You can also read our previous interviews with fellow exhibitors Brittonie Fletcher, Melanie King, Charlotte Davenport, Anthony Carr, Andrew Chisholm, Anthony Firmin, John Brewer, Emma Graney and Amy Rockett-Todd.

Look out for more interviews with our Alternative Process contributors over the course of the exhibition!