You are here: Home » Artist Interview » The delightful image: an interview with photographer Diana Bloomfield

The delightful image: an interview with photographer Diana Bloomfield


Diana Bloomfield working in her studio.

Diana Bloomfield working in her studio.

The water ran in an endless trickle. Slowly the layer of chemicals and pigment began change its visual surface. What was once solid blue now showed signs of something different emerging – the image of a lone flower. Other papers sharing the rinse-water tray sported a cat, an ocean and a microscopic flower.

Photographer Diana Bloomfield peaked at her student’s work, often wearing a subtle smile as she viewed the magic of discovery found in photographic processes.

This was February and she was leading a gum bichromate workshop at Radford University.

After a few hours, several of her students completed their images, but not me (and isn’t it always me?). I stood by the sink, agitating my print in water baths. My fingers, even though I encased them in rubber gloves, resembled the moment between grape and raisin, when the fruit is neither one nor the other.

Time passed and the day grew short. My image was slow to develop. But Diana, with a lot of patience, waited with me for a few extra hours, like a midwife waiting for a slow birth, but the delivery isn’t forthcoming. This did allow several of us to get to learn more about her. Over the next few months, we’ve kept in touch. and Diana, workshop-leader Diana, continues to be a cheerleader for several of us.

And it appears our paths will cross again soon. She has work in a show, “Bellas Figuras,” at the Verve Gallery in Santa Fe. During the run of the exhibition, I am attending a workshop in that most artistic city and will get to see her work in person.

With this show, it’s a great time for an interview. And she kindly agreed to answer my questions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

© 2016. Diana Bloomfield

Diana’s words:

1. You are very much a queen of many different types of photography – why alternative processes?

A. Well, thank you. As much as I love that description, I’m not sure how accurate it is. I do very much enjoy learning and being challenged, and many of these 19th century printing techniques are quite challenging, with steep learning curves. The flip side is that they tend to offer endless creative possibilities. They allow me to shape my images, from start to finish, in a unique and hands-on way.

For me, the act of photographing itself occurs after a lot of looking, seeing, and imagining. Once I click that shutter, creating the image doesn’t stop there. I want to interpret my work in my own way, and ‘alternative’ processes offer a tremendous amount of creative freedom and seemingly infinite possibilities. I also never enjoyed working in a traditional darkroom, so the printing processes I use can be prepared in ambient light. They are contact prints, so no enlarger is needed. As contact prints, the images are only as big as the negative used, and they are exposed only by UV light. So the traditional darkroom, and immersing yourself for hours on end, in the dark, is totally unnecessary. Large original negatives can be made simply by using a large format camera; alternatively, larger negatives can be made via a digital printer. So the combination of 21st century digital technology and 19th century printing techniques makes this the perfect time to be a photographer and ‘alternative? process printer.

2. Which comes first: the image idea or the process? How do you decide which process to use for each image?

A. For me, it’s all about the image. So the image definitely comes first. I very rarely think about the printing process I might use when taking a photograph. Once I am home and looking through my images, I then decide how an image might be best printed, depending on what I want to say with that image. I often print an image in a few different processes, simply to see how it translates best.

3. What is your favorite subject matter and what about it do you find inspiring?

A. I love photographing people, and my favorite subject matter is my daughter, Annalee. I find the figurative work I do really lends itself to the narrative form, and— although I photograph lots of other subject matter— the imagery I make with her appeals to me most. I just think there’s more of a story in each of those images and so much that is said, without words— in the body language, the gestures, the form and shape— that is more immediate and evocative than, say, landscape imagery. She is a tireless collaborator, and we work very well together.

4. What are the three most important skills or traits a photographer needs for creating successful gum bichromate images?

A. Wow. Only three? I could probably name 50, but If I had to narrow it down to only three, I would say that— first and foremost— starting out with a strong image is crucial. No alternative process, no matter how adept the printing, will make a weak image strong. Secondly, the willingness to experiment (and to fail) is invaluable—and also just allowing yourself the freedom to be wide open to all the creative possibilities. A good sense of humor and patience, of course, are always helpful. No instant gratification exists with these processes, so you have to get comfortable with slow and steady. Wait. Was that four or five?

5. Are you where you thought you’d be when you first began contemplating a life and/or career as a photographer? If so, how did you accomplish this or if not, how have your ideas evolved to who you are now?

A. I’m not sure that I ever had a preconceived idea of where I would, or should, be at any given time— which might or might not have been a good thing. I really only knew that this was something I was good at and enjoyed immensely. So when you find something that appeals to you, and you happen to immediately feel right at home with it, and— at the same time— receive good positive feedback and support— from the get-go— you (or, at least, I) tend to continue with that life.

I’ve probably done much more with my photography than I ever imagined or thought possible. Perhaps that says more about my expectations or my imagination, but I do feel that every positive event that happens for me, photographically speaking, is just bonus on top of bonus. I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to live this kind of creative life for so many years. I’ve met so many wonderful people, including incredible students, and have been invited to some amazing places— all so inspiring.

Success, of course, is relative and totally dependent on how you define it. I do view myself as a visual storyteller. I feel extremely fortunate, thankful, and consistently surprised by the interest people show in those stories— that my images might resonate with viewers is both fascinating and rewarding to me.

If there’s been any evolution, it’s probably been in how I think about myself and what I do, and in how I perceive others and what they do, creatively speaking. I continue to learn and am inspired by others. I think that requires a certain willingness to be open to all the possibilities. I certainly take more seriously what I do now and probably value it more, as opposed to when I first started. That’s helped me, too, to value more what other photographers and printmakers contribute as well.

6. Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you knew photography was the path for you (and if so, please describe it) or was it more of an evolutionary idea?

A. I was given a small 35 mm film camera as a parting gift from a job I was leaving, back in 1980. It was my first ‘real’ camera, so I thought I should take a course. I had no other intentions or plans, really, other than to take this course to learn how to take a picture and properly use the camera. I ended up in a course, totally by accident, that was “large format,” and that was certainly a learning experience and a pivotal one. In that very first course, and all that followed, I did feel— from the very beginning— completely at home. I received a lot of support and positive feedback from instructors, so that was affirming as well. Photography was honestly the first thing I had ever done where I felt I was actually good at it, and it was also something that came very naturally to me.

After that first course, I continued with more photography courses and started on this documentary series, which I continued for two years and which culminated in a State Art Fellowship (from New Jersey, where I was living at the time). To receive something like that, relatively soon after starting photography, was certain pivotal for me. I know we should all work for ourselves and not care what others think, but that kind of validation is definitely affirming and let’s you know that you might possibly be doing something right. For me, it offered a kind of confidence and freedom to experiment and try new things, too.

My father was a photographer in the Army Air Corps (now Air Force). I was recently given, by my uncle, about 100 absolutely pristine 4×5 black and white negatives that my uncle had held for decades and had only just rediscovered. They were negatives of images that my father had made of my mother, mostly before they were married. I had never seen these before, and they are truly stunning. To see not only what an amazing photographer he was— such beautiful compositions and smart use of light— but also to be privy to the stories he told in these images— which were never really meant to be seen as they were just a visual diary, or visual love story, of sorts— left me completely awe-struck. I now feel that maybe this is why photography has always felt so natural to me. Perhaps this need to tell stories with a camera, and have the ‘eye’ to be able to do it well, was simply a gift, passed down from father to daughter.

Gum prints by Diana Bloomfield hanging in her Raleigh studio.

Gum prints by Diana Bloomfield hanging in her Raleigh studio.

The outside of Diana's studio.

The outside of Diana’s studio.

my muse and my studio companion. Diana's muses: Annalee, her daughter, and Tucker, her trusty border collie.

Diana’s muses: Annalee, her daughter, and Tucker, her trusty border collie.

To learn more about Diana’s work visit:


The Unwinding Path is the blog of L.S. King – photographer, want-to-be printmaker and sometimes hypnotist. By day she is an arts communications officer at a rural university (translation: photographer, writer, and media content provider), and most of the rest of her time she is an MFA graduate student at Radford University.


  1. Pingback: Buy brand viagra
  2. Pingback: ciprofloxacin
  3. Pingback: coupon for cialis
  4. Pingback: levitra vs viagra
  5. Pingback: viagra
  6. Pingback: buy chloroquine
  7. Pingback: online pharmacy
  8. Pingback: cialis mastercard
  9. Pingback: vardenafil online
  10. Pingback: free slots
  11. Pingback: sildenafil 20 mg
  12. Pingback: parx casino online
  13. Pingback: slot games
  14. Pingback: buy viagra com
  15. Pingback: careprost review
  16. Pingback: loan online
  17. Pingback: loans online
  18. Pingback: real money casinos
  19. Pingback: pokies pop
  20. Pingback: viagra cost
  21. Pingback: generic cialis
  22. Pingback: generic cialis
  23. Pingback: cialis to buy
  24. Pingback: casino in usa
  25. Pingback: casino real money
  26. Pingback: real casino
  27. Pingback: sildenafil 100mg
  28. Pingback: generic viagra
  29. Pingback: canada ed drugs
  30. Pingback: female viagra
  31. Pingback: viagra online
  32. Pingback: generic for viagra
  33. Pingback: order viagra
  34. Pingback: Yeezy 350 V2
  35. Pingback: Yeezy 380
  36. Pingback: Nike Outlet
  37. Pingback: Jordan 11 Retro
  38. Pingback: Yeezy Shoes
  39. Pingback: Yeezy Shoes
  40. Pingback: Jordan 11 Concord
  41. Pingback: Yeezy
  42. Pingback: Nike Shoes
  43. Pingback: NBA Jerseys
  44. Pingback: Yeezy
  45. Pingback: Jordan 4s
  46. Pingback: Human Races
  47. Pingback: Yeezy 350
  48. Pingback: Jordan 1s
  49. Pingback: Jordan 11s
  50. Pingback: Nike UK
  51. Pingback: Yeezy Boost 350
  52. Pingback: Jordan AJ 1
  53. Pingback: Nike Shoes
  54. Pingback: Jordan Retro
  55. Pingback: Adidas Yeezy
  56. Pingback: Nike Outlet
  57. Pingback: Human Race Shoes
  58. Pingback: NBA Jerseys
  59. Pingback: Jordan 1 Low
  60. Pingback: Kobe Bryant Jersey
  61. Pingback: Air Max 97
  62. Pingback: NBA Store
  63. Pingback: Yeezy sliders
  64. Pingback: Yeezy
  65. Pingback: Cheap NBA Jerseys
  66. Pingback: Dior Jordan 1
  67. Pingback: Jordan 1s
  68. Pingback: Jordan Retro 4
  69. Pingback: Basketball Jerseys
  70. Pingback: Yeezy
  71. Pingback: Jordan 1
  72. Pingback: Air Jordan 1
  73. Pingback: Adidas yeezy
  74. Pingback: Nike Outlet
  75. Pingback: Basketball Jerseys
  76. Pingback: Yeezy
  77. Pingback: Air Jordan 1 Mid
  78. Pingback: Timberland
  79. Pingback: NBA Store
  80. Pingback: UGG Outlet
  81. Pingback: Yeezy Boost 350
  82. Pingback: UGG Outlet
  83. Pingback: Timberland Boots
  84. Pingback: generic for cialis
  85. Pingback: Nike Air Max 270
  86. Pingback: Yeezy Sneaker
  87. Pingback: viagra
  88. Pingback: cialis prices
  89. Pingback: buy viagra online
  90. Pingback: buy Cialis 60 mg
  91. Pingback: buy Cialis 20 mg
  92. Pingback: cialis
  93. Pingback: generic viagra
  94. Pingback: mexican viagra
  95. Pingback: buy viagra pills
  96. Pingback: viagra coupon
  97. Pingback: cialis not working
  98. Pingback: female viagra
  99. Pingback: slots real money
  100. Pingback: cialis miami
  101. Pingback: buy cialis brand
  102. Pingback: buy levitra in usa
  103. Pingback: viagra rx cost
  104. Pingback: buy college essay
  105. Pingback: heartburn cialis
  106. Pingback: generic cialis
  107. Pingback:
  108. Pingback: customized essay
  109. Pingback: write dissertation
  110. Pingback: urgent essay help
  111. Pingback: cymbalta for sale
  112. Pingback: buy custom essays
  113. Pingback: lamisil purchase
  114. Pingback: levaquin uk
  115. Pingback: antibiotics
  116. Pingback: drugs from canada
  117. Pingback: Malegra FXT
  118. Pingback: cheapest clonidine
  119. Pingback: buy cialis rush
  120. Pingback: cialis soft tablet
  121. Pingback: 141genericExare
  122. Pingback: jsxygbeb
  123. Pingback: mzrabwzv
  124. Pingback: buy cialis
  125. Pingback: buy cialis rush
  126. Pingback: azathioprine pills
  127. Pingback: viagra en farmacia
  128. Pingback: english essay help
  129. Pingback: buy cialis rush
  130. Pingback: amoxicillin 250mg
  131. Pingback: 100 mg furosemide
  132. Pingback: buy stromectol
  133. Pingback: ventolin inhalers
  134. Pingback: metoprolol usa
  135. Pingback: clomid buy
  136. Pingback: buy essays cheap
  137. Pingback: thesis coaching
  138. Pingback: metformin and ed
  139. Pingback: is paxil safe
  140. Pingback: plaquenil and eyes
  141. Pingback: buy cialis doctor
  142. Pingback: cialis insurance
  143. Pingback: buy wyeth ativan
  144. Pingback: no script pharmacy
  145. Pingback:
  146. Pingback: sertraline cost
  147. Pingback: online viagra
  148. Pingback: viagra pills
  149. Pingback: buy cialis now
  150. Pingback: ivermectin 100mg
  151. Pingback: viagra sample
  152. Pingback: how to buy cialis
  153. Pingback:
  154. Pingback: amoxicillin 500m
  155. Pingback: cialis bathtub
  156. Pingback: natural viagra
  157. Pingback: buy cialis
  158. Pingback: stromectol tablets
  159. Pingback: viagra soft gel
  160. Pingback: tadalafil buy
  161. Pingback: ivermectin price
  162. Pingback: z pack fever
  163. Pingback: zithromax for cats
  164. Pingback: sildenafil 100mg

We would love to hear from you!