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This series is an exploration of abandoned cotton and tobacco mills in North Carolina produced using the Vandyke alternative photographic process method and bound into an artist book.

While taking classes in alternative photographic processes, I began experimenting with toning Vandyke prints. There was not a lot of material out there, but one process that caught my attention was gold-toned Vandykes. To tone the images, the printed image is placed in a bath of gold chloride, thiorea, and salt. Gold replaces silver in the image, first turning it an eggplant color and then a pewter-like silver tone once humidity is added. Both stages of this are quite beautiful. All of the images I chose to print were of abandoned cotton mills and tobacco factories located in Charlotte, NC, and Wilson, NC. I chose this process because of its many layered connections to the images: the brown in the Vandyke process visually connects to the tobacco factories, printing on cotton rag paper alluded to the cotton mills, and using gold toning paid tribute to their once prosperous nature. I chose to make an accordion book with my prints, but instead of gluing the individual pages together I sewed them with cotton thread. Lastly, for the covers I chose a paper with fibrous inclusions, giving the appearance of having bits of cotton and tobacco in them.

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