This print is very much a hybrid of new and old technology. It was shot on Ilford Delta 100 film and scanned and processed digitally before being printed on an Epson R3000 inkjet printer. The film was processed using Ilfosol 3, a developer that works very well with Delta 100, if one wants to emphasise fine detail.
I had made a darkroom print before I went down the digital route. I had envisaged this image as a very crisp and tonally varied one, something that my darkroom print didn’t quite achieve. Admittedly, I hadn’t spent too long on it in the darkroom, and remember filing the work print for further work. I must have been trying out some new ideas in digital processing, because I scanned the negative knowing what was in it and began to work on it in earnest.
One of the joys of modern technology is control. I think the analog darkroom has more than enough control in itself; the digital darkroom multiplies even this much further. The image needed some substantial perspective correction (you can see I am looking up from the camera position) and cropping as a result. I wrestled for a long time with the balance between emphasising the details in the architecture and conveying the grain in a way that I liked. You can’t have it all your own way: enhancing midtone contrast comes at the expense of adding noise to smooth areas. You are forced to protect certain areas (like sky) with carefully made layer masks. I went backwards and forwards for a long time with the tones and detail enhancement. I learnt a great deal about processing along the way.
I hadn’t really considered the print finished until a friend asked me to talk about my work and show some prints. It was at that point that I decided that I had a definitive version, printed on Epson Archival Matte paper. Looking at it on screen and then seeing the print brings a certain surprise. There is a fullness and depth to the print, a ‘rightness’ and balance that you can’t appreciate looking at a screen. It is as if the image can finally breathe. Happily, my first audience greeted the print with a lot of praise. As a photographer you do hope that others will enjoy the aesthetic decisions you make and share and understand a modicum of your vision.