I have had a vision for my prints for decades.. and it is far more laborious than simply pointing a dSLR at a nude model and snapping off a thousand images at a time hoping to land one dialled in work of art. No, I'm not a hipster photographer.. I'm an old school print shooter and I prefer printing in the darkroom.
Darkroom Printing is a nuanced practice and while my habit is clearly unformed, I developed a clear idea of where I wanted to go with printing. And now, after more than 10 years in the commercial painting industry, I am practiced for the process I originally envisioned.
- The first key ingredient is borrowing the concept of "overprinting" the images from none other than Ansel Adams. In this, the image is exposed longer than ideal such that the blacks are decidedly darker than normal and the "white" areas might take on a "grey" or muddy look.
- The next step is to "bleach" the image using Farmers Reducer which brings the muddy greys back to clear and crisp white.. but it will only be cleaning the greys.. not taking the blacks out of their heavy and rich tones. This creates more of a two- tone image- black and white not black with myriad shades of grey.
- But, prior to ANY of this.. I will be laying down layer upon layer of lacquer on to stretched artists canvasses.. canvasses measuring 16" by 20" and larger. Using the aforementioned lacquer, the printing surface of the canvass will be thoroughly smoothed out rather than rough and porous like canvass normally is. In essence, it'll be more like smooth paper while being a far more durable product to work with.
- And still prior to exposing the image(s), the prepp'ed canvass will need to be Hand Sensitized- the photographic emulsion will need to be hand painted using camel hair brushes and in complete darkness.. so, there will be areas that will be under- painted and areas that will be over- painted.. edges will be messy and the end result will be... No Two Prints will Ever Be Alike!
- Back in the darkroom, after the print(s) have been exposed, processed, and bleached.. I'll be Hand Tinting each print for emphasis and enhancement.. taking one or another part or element of the image and hand tinting that one specific area with a "wash" of colour. This ensures the uniqueness of each image...
As if that wasn't enough...
- Once the image has been exposed, processed, and hand tinted.. MORE layers of clear lacquer will be applied. This final few layers will protect the finished image from aging.. and it might be 100% clear.. it might have a slight amber tint to it resulting in an overall "Sepia" look that'll be 100% unique..
No Two Prints will Ever Be Alike... it's a vision- it's my vision and I've been working towards this goal for my entire photographic life.