Archive for Techniques

Robert Balcomb’s “After Series”

Influenced by Vermeer’s “Milk Maid,” William Mortensen produced a signed three-color Pigment print of his own “Maid Pouring Milk,” or “Pouring Milk.” During my last visit to his Laguna Beach home studio in 1957 he saw how taken I was with the print and gave it to me. Much later, after Mortensen’s death, Myrdith Mortensen sent me a large box containing notes and samples of his Pigment Printing that he and collaborator George Dunham had amassed during their long sessions of developing the process, his answer to the old laborious Bromoil printing. In those notes were the three color prints (red, green, and black) he used in making the final print, along with several trial prints. I later donated the collection to the Center for Creative Photography at The University of Arizona in Tucson AZ.

Many of the notes and samples, along with an explanatory treatise, can be found in TheScreamOnline.

After several years I began my own attempts of producing similar prints depicting my interpretations of the works of the great master painters. My first model was a girl from Germany, whom wife Mary Balcomb fixed up with a head scarf. The result was a print that reminded me of another Vermeer, “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” That print began for me a series of studies that I have named my “After Series.” Click to see my “After Vermeer.”


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