Alternative Photographs Capture Ordinary & Wondrous Moments

Posted December 22, 2011 in Press Releases

Houston Center of Contemporary Craft presents The Handmade Print, an exhibition of photographs on handmade paper by Virginia artist, Alyssa Salomon. Her first solo show outside her home state, The Handmade Print is also the premier exhibition of her recent collaborations with papermaker, Helen Hiebert.Alyssa Salomon is a photographer, poet, consummate craftsperson and, also, a bit of a mad scientist. Using her own recipes for the nineteenth-century photographic processes of cyanotype and van dyke printing, Salomon makes handmade prints that “recall an accumulation of sights seen and linked by treasured recollections.” Her images record moments—snippets of experience—which seek to connect what is human with what is wild: tree branches against a stark winter sky, birds frozen in mid air, a private moment relishing the feel of water. Salomon’s camera becomes the human eye, winking on these moments of serenity and delight, connecting disparate subjects that invoke the richness of our senses.

Salomon infuses her images with emotion through her masterful use of these antiquated processes. She heightens the velvety surfaces inherent to van dyke and cyanotype by printing on handmade paper and sealing the surfaces with wax, creating images that are suffused with romantic abstraction. In addition to traditional framed photographs, this exhibition features her newest series of works on handmade, stretched abaca-paper disks. The result of a recent collaboration with renowned papermaker, Helen Hiebert, these pieces allow light to radiate behind the images. They appear as portholes, eyes into another, quietly magical world. As Salomon says, “ordinary and wondrous phenomena are my means and my subject.”

Alyssa Salomon lives and works in Providence Forge, Virginia, where she has been a leader in alternative photo processes since the late 1990s. She has taught extensively, including workshops at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina; the Ah Haa School in Telluride, Colorado; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School in Richmond, Virginia; and Virginia Commonwealth University, among others. Her work is included in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Ritz Carlton Dubai, Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, and many other public and private collections. Salomon is a two-time recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship.

With two photo-related exhibitions, The Handmade Print (on view in the Artist Hall) and Bridge 11: Lia Cook (on view in the Large Gallery), HCCC is pleased to be a Participating Space for FotoFest 2012, the Fourteenth International Biennial of Photography and Photo-Related Art. Located in Houston, Texas, the FotoFest Biennial is the United States’ largest and longest running international photography festival and one of the oldest international showcases for photography in the world today. The festival takes place March 16 – April 29, 2012. For more information, visit

Exhibition Dates
February 4 – April 8, 2012
Opening Reception
Friday, February 3, 2012
5:30 – 8:00 PM
In conjunction with the openings of Bridge 11: Lia Cook and Transference: Andy Paiko & Ethan Rose. Featuring open studios by the current artists-in-residence.

Master Alt Photo Workshop with Alyssa Salomon
“The ABCs of Alternative Photographic Processes”
Saturday, March 17, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
at the Museum of Printing History

Mary Headrick (
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
713.529.4848 x 107