Personal work in any art, including photography, is a necessary part of the learning and expression process. It allows me to practice new techniques, experiment with different equipment, and express myself in a way that makes me happy.
While I certainly enjoy shooting digitally and manipulating images in Photoshop, there's something special about the practice of Alternative Processes. One of my favorites is emulsion lifts, where you take instant film (traditionally Polaroid 669, but that's no longer made--and yes, I do have small stockpile--so Fuji 100C is used) and, with a little bit of hot water, patience, skill (and luck), you separate the film from its backing and transfer it to another substrate. Most of mine are transferred to cold-press watercolor paper. The imperfections resulting from the process are what I like the most; they give each image their own character and uniqueness.
Another process I enjoy is a bit more involved: palladium prints. This is a time consuming process that involves sensitising paper with various solutions, and then contact printing the image from a specially processed negative. Each print is unique due to the way the solution was applied to the paper (I use brushes, cloths, sponges, etc to apply the sensitiser). The resulting image has a quality that's interesting to look at. Each image I make always brings out a sense of wonder and admiration for the early pioneers of photography who discovered and created these techniques.
In most of my Alternative Process prints, I like to show the entire print "in the rough" to get an idea of the entire process. I generally prefer this more rustic, less refined presentation.