The Gumprint

A short video about the gumprint process, by Radoslaw Brzozowski.

The gumprint

Seeing an image developing in your hands is magical! I love to experiment and the history of photography is full of remarkable pioneers and techniques. It makes me curious! The gum print has my special interest and is unique in many ways. The images are exceptional durable and colorstable. We all know the yellow faded images from old photo albums but a gum print will still look the same in 150 years from now. The process was discovered around 1855 and is one of the first techniques that allowed the creation of color images. It showed that photography was more than making a copy of reality.


For my gum prints I use natural gum Arabic from the Acacia Senegal tree. The paper I use is high quality aquarel paper made of 100% cotton rags or other natural materials like bamboo. My colors are mostly high quality aquarel paint pigments from Daniel Smith but I sometimes also make my own pigments from plants and other materials I find in nature. At the moment I create prints up to A3 size (28 x 40 cm / 11 x 16 inch) but can create bigger size prints upon request.

Construction of a 3 color gumprint in 6 layers – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow

Layer upon layer

I prepare my own light sensitive paper and use high quality pigments that I apply in a mixture with Arabic gum solution. Every layer has its own color and becomes light sensitive with the use of potassium dichromate. I make a special negative for every color layer that is than exposed under UV light. The different color layers together will form the complete color image. During the development in water I decide with the use of brushes and water pressure how much pigment I want to remove from which part of the image. This makes it like “inverted painting”.