Re: did Brakhage ever hand process or hand print?

From: Mark Toscano (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jul 21 2006 - 17:47:09 PDT

To my knowledge, he did not ever hand process his
films. Stan seemed to prefer to rely on the lab to
develop and print his films at all stages of
production. Western Cine handled pretty much all of
Stan's lab needs from his very first film Interim to
the very last, with the exception of some of the 35mm
films, many (or all?) of the 8-to-16 blowups,
occasional outsourced processing, and the film Blue
Moses (which was initially printed at Palmer's in San
Francisco). I believe some of the titlecards of the
very late films were hand-processed by Mary Beth Reed.

As for printing, he also generally left this up to the
lab, except for a number of the painted films.
However, I believe he only began to personally
optically print the painted films himself not too long
before he died, perhaps in the mid-to-late '90s.
Before this, he would have Sam Bush at Western Cine do
it, or Mary Beth Reed or Phil Solomon. And even after
Stan started playing with the optical printer, he
still would work with Mary Beth to print the painted
films. Mary Beth shot some footage of Stan at the
optical printer, some of which (I think) ended up in
their collaborative film Garden Path.

In working with Sam Bush, Stan would come up with
printing directions for him to follow, sometimes very
simple ones such as to triple print every frame of a
supplied painted roll, or sometimes really elaborate
ones. They would talk a lot about what Stan wanted
for a particular film, and Stan would formulate
sometimes very precise and complex instructions if he
wanted something more involved for a given film or
section of a film.

On a few films, he let Sam experiment more freely and
personally, maybe most notably on Cannot Exist, which
I believe Sam printed in response to the death of his
son (to which Stan then responded himself with Cannot
Not Exist).

I think a lot of the printing notes given by Stan to
Sam exist, and hopefully someday these can be put up
on a website or something. They're pretty fantastic.

Of course Marilyn can certainly
corroborate/correct/shed a lot more light on this

Mark T

--- "J. Mabe" <email suppressed> wrote:

> simple question and probably a silly one, too. but
> did Mr. Brakhage ever process or print his films
> himself? i've read a lot about him and by him, and
> his relationship with western cine is well known -
> but
> i've never seen mention of this aspect of his work.
> Thanks,
> JB "slightly bored at work, so prone to write too
> many
> emails" MABE

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