You also don't need to have a background in photography to get started, since the basics you learn are very simple technically. It does help to start with good images (35mm slides for slide printers, or 4x6 prints for the Daylab Copy System), but a wide variety of subjects and images will work beautifully.
Choosing a Method
I find that using a slide printer, or the Daylab Copy System for working with prints, is the easiest and most versatile method of creating image and emulsion transfers, especially to start with. The equipment is very affordable, can be set up just about anywhere, and you can make as many versions as you like of a single image from a 35mm slide or 4x6 print. Each transfer is unique, since the Polaroid negative - not your slide or print! - is destroyed in the process.
An added bonus for me in using a slide printer, or the copy system, is that I can draw upon images from my archives of work in 35mm slides and prints, giving me a vast range of subjects from which to work. In fact, when I initially viewed some of my slides, I knew that a straight color print would not adequately communicate my experience when photographing the image.
I have discovered that in many cases, the image or emulsion transfer process (and sometimes both) better convey what I had wanted to express. In addition, as a photographer I'm delighted to create images without having to work in the dark, or always at the computer.
About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kathleen T. Carr
Kathleen's photographs have been published internationally in numerous books and periodicals, including PhotoVision (featured artist), American Art Collector, Outdoor Photographer (featured artist), National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Esquire, and Decor (featured artist). Several galleries and private dealers represent her work.
Her books include Polaroid Manipulations: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating SX-70, Transfer, and Digital Prints, Polaroid Transfers: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating Image and Emulsion Transfers (Amphoto Books), and To Honor the Earth (with Dorothy Maclean, HarperSanFrancisco).
Kathleen has been leading photography workshops since 1984 on topics including beginning photography, Polaroid and digital transfers, beginning Photoshop for photographers, and digital Infrared. In addition to teaching for BetterPhoto, she offers one to seven day workshops and private sessions in Hawaii, Montana, California and other locals.
See her Pro BetterPholio: www.kathleentcarr.com