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Sunday, 28 January 2018

The photograph

The photograph is the positive result of a long journey from making the negative to the print. Once you get to the point of printing it starts another odyssey of creativity, along with another set of decisions as to what materials you are going use to produce those wonderful photographs.

Recently a photographer said he only uses the materials of his chosen manufacture to produces his images. His position is they know best so why make things difficult by using different products. At one time I was the same using paired paper and developer to produce prints. But with the death my father I'm questioning this approach; it has made me seriously think about the materials I choose to use. Why? Because life's too short for such restrictions and I've started to believe that the choice of materials you choose to use has a direct impact on the look of the final image and therefore it's style.

In today’s world of analogue photography there is not the vast array of papers there used to be. Light sensitive papers fall into three tonal types: neutral, cold and warm and come as resin coated and fibre base with a number of different finishes. Now-a-days the main stream papers are variable grade meaning you no longer need to stock a number of set grades of each type of paper you prefer to use. This has given greater freedom to stock a number of manufacturers paper types. For example I have stocks of Ilford, Foma, and Adox on the shelf in warm, cold and neutral tones. This has given greater creative latitude when it comes to exposing negatives, this has lead to less stringent light meter readings and less time trying to make the conditions fit the grades of your printing stock. I have in the past used a particular developer for my prints so it conveys a feeling on the subconscious level, for example, adding warmth when in fact the scene is cold. Is this not part of the creative process? For some it would seem not.

Analogue photography is all about the photograph. If you do not hand print your pictures you are missing out.

Accompanying pictures: 

All images scanned from photographs. The papers used in order of appearance, Kentmere VC select RC gloss, Ilford Multigrade RC gloss, Fotospeed RC gloss, Foma 542 chamois FB gloss. 

Since writing this the wonderful Foma chamois has been discontinued.