About Technique

Printing & Matting

Archivally-processed selenium-toned fibre-based silver-gelatine black & white prints. "Silver gelatine" is the traditional black & white photographic print medium. Silver is the metal used to form a permanent image in the gelatine coating on the paper. Fibre based means the print substrate is paper, not plastic, and is made acid free by the final print processes. Selenium toned, and for some prints gold-toned, refers to the layer of selenium or gold coated on each crystal of silver to protect the image from city or industrial pollution. Archival processing means the print has been treated with care and all acid and sulphur compounds from fixing the image have been removed

Rag board mats are the board backing and board frame supporting the print, which are Crescent Rag-Mat 100% cotton, acid-free and lignin-free. These are amongst the best acid free museum quality boards available. The print is held in the mat by two acid-free paper hinges, which allow the print to move when changes in humidity occur, such as when a print is taken from a gallery to a house. This movement is caused by the changes in humidity affecting the layers of the print at different rates. The print will settle flat again in a few days or so.

Darkroom

The enlargers in my black and white darkroom are the finest available. The monster at the far end is a 10x8", 20x25cm, negative size DeVere 5108E. The DeVere and Leitz enlargers are the vehicles by which my black and white negatives become the silver gelatine prints I take great joy and care in producing

I only use the very best modern German enlarging lenses. While it can be fun to work with old or odd camera lenses it is crucial that the most modern and efficient German enlarging lenses are used in the best available enlargers. The enlarging lens in the means by which my images are made visible and I refuse to use an inferior lens at this stage

darkroom

Cameras, Obscura Objects of Desire

Every so often I still hear the phrase "The camera makes no difference etc. . .". Try selling this idea to a concert pianist, or a cabinet maker, or painter, or car mechanic. The properties of tools do affect the the nature of a work, so a pianist might choose a broken piano for specific effects or a photographer use a pinhole camera because of its particular properties. The cameras chosen do affect the work produced and must be chosen with as much mindfulness as a violinist would choose between a Stradivarius or Guarneri


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