Meet the Gang at Bostick & Sullivan
Short History of Bostick & Sullivan
Photography is magic and to run a business that allows us to pass on the magic of 180 years of photographic history is a privilege and a joy.
It started with Richard Sullivan helping his father build a darkroom. This sparked his interest in photography. Almost by accident, he bought the EFG volume of an encyclopedia of photography at a garage sale. The gum bichromate process first interested him. He made gum prints and began to wonder about what other early processes he could explore. The platinum/palladium print was the very highest quality photographic process during the 1880s and was only cut short by World War 1 because platinum came from Russia. So naturally, Richard wanted to try making platinum prints, but could not find all the chemicals to do it. What does he do but set out to make his own compounds from scratch. After about a year and many trips to the UCLA chemistry library, he was successful.
Birth of a Business
The business was born in 1980 when one of our good photographer friends asked where Richard had gotten the platinum/palladium chemicals and, upon learning he had made them himself, asked to purchase some. Word got around, and we suddenly had the beginnings of our customer base. We took out ads in photo magazines (no internet or cell phones in 1980) and took orders over the telephone, fax machine and by letters sent to us. Richard kept his day job at the City of Los Angeles until he was able to retire in 1995 after 26 years. We moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico because it has a rich photographic history and we had 10 customers among its small population, assuring us of a social life. We bought an industrial building, making it possible to expand our product and kit offerings.
This is a family business! Melody Bostick, Richard’s wife of 54 years, is the business manager. Their son, Dana is the lab manager. His wife, Leigh, is our accountant. Richard continues to do our research and development. Mark Brown is our shipping manager and has been with us 20 years. Christi Wiltenburg, a former intern, has come back to work for us full time after graduating college. Over the years, we’ve had many gifted interns, full-time and part-time employees work with us. We consider them all our family!
Since 1980, we have been the primary provider for historic photographic kits and supplies. We manufacture the platinum, palladium, gold, and silver compounds ourselves using only the highest grade components for purity and consistency. We take great care to maintain the highest quality control.
We have always offered technical support to assist our customers with problem solving. One of us will know the answer to your printing problem or where to find the answer. Between all of us, there are decades of experience in alt-processes – a truly unique offering in today’s marketplace. We make, use and teach everything we sell.