As part of my ongoing work with my 10x8 camera, I'm happy to offer for sale 'Fallen Tree' as a darkroom print. I have made a very limited number of contact prints from the 10 x 8 negative, on Ilford's Warmtone Fibre Based paper. The image size is a little smaller than 10 x8, and the paper size is nearly 11 x 14 inches. This allows the print to be mounted with a paper border showing, should the buyer wish. As always, the screen image fails to do the print justice, which really needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
To date our customers outside the UK have been charged for shipping. The good news today is that we are scrapping that charge. From now on all prints ship for free, anywhere in the world!
Today I'm launching a new series of prints in my shop called 'pocket money prints'. The premise is very simple: printed to my usual standards with my normal materials, perhaps a little smaller than usual, these prints will share my love of printing at an affordable price. They will be signed according to my normal practice (on the rear) and will come with a certificate of authenticity.
To get the ball rolling, may I introduce you to 'Emerging Alliums'. The image measures roughly 10 x 15 cm and is printed, with a slightly warm tonality, on A4 Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper. It is priced at £15.00.
More good news for the would-be buyer is that I am scrapping my additional charge for postage outside the UK. The price you pay is therefore fixed at £15.00.
I will be shipping on a first come first served basis.
Today I thought I would share some thoughts with you on a print by John Blakemore entitled 'Lathkill Dale - from Lila’, 1978.
The image measures 17 x 22 cm and has been printed on a 23 x 27 cm (nearly 9 x 11 inches) sheet of fibre based paper. The image is not small, neither is it large; it has ‘stocky’ proportions which creates a sense of presence, perhaps making it look larger than it really is.
At first sight, the print presents as an even swatch of light, mid-grey. A sense of shimmering silver is there too. As the viewer moves closer the print shifts and changes, revealing a more complex tonality and a charming sense of depth and detail. Scanning up and down and from left to right, the viewer realises that there is in fact a quite staggering range of tone, from very near black to sparkling specular highlights. Mini-dramas unfold here and there, separate dioramas vying for the eye’s company.
The central trope of the image is a body of flood water. In his book Black and White Photography Workshop, Blakemore writes of the problems he had with the negative, which suffered from flare at the edges. Due to the temporary nature of the flood, Blakemore couldn’t return to make more exposures, and so had to make do with what he had.
The water is at once reflective and transparent. It is the reflecting reeds and leaves that gives the print its sparkle, reaching up the tonal scale. Yet imprinted on this, in almost ghost-like fashion, is a series of darker reflections. The viewer’s focus shifts back and forth between surface and reflection as the two aspects compete. Neither wins out, and in their interplay lies a wondrous tonal dance. The prints feels alive, shifting, sparkling, drawing one in.
Moving outwards again, a sense of settled, overall grey returns. The dominant tonal evenness reinforces the frame and prevents the eye from falling away. There is a serenity, a peacefulness; a state which belies the miniature dramas within. This is a print I could look at for a long time, and through framing, no doubt will.
I was able to acquire this print through John’s ‘Bargain Box’ which is available on his website here. It is a collection of test and alternative prints that John is kindly offering for sale at a much lower price than his regular work.
For a limited time we are offering a 50% discount on all prints in the shop. Simply use the code 'SPRING50' to claim the offer. You can use it against single or multiple items.
Like one of my images but don't see a print? I can usually accommodate requests for specific images, so get in touch.
Sometimes it's good to be wrong.
Not so long ago, I wrote about my experiences of printing one of my 5x4 negatives, and recorded my dissatisfaction with the image as a print. Readers of this blog will recall that I was especially disturbed by the large shifts in focus; I found myself putting this print on A4 paper to one side.
The other day I decided to re-visit the file and printed it onto A3+ paper. The result was a revelation. The focus issues weren't gone - I would hardly expect them to be - but they were certainly different. Crucially, they weren't nearly so distracting, making the print much, much more satisfying.
There are a number of factors at work here, but the key one is clearly the size of the print. I think there is much in the idea that an image 'wants' to be a certain size. There are relationships of depth of field, subject and background interactions, detail and subject placement that pull or push against a given size. Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that a 5x4 negative is leaning towards a bigger physical form in the final print.
I'm happy because this is the difference between 'this negative isn't going to make a piece' (of photographic art) and 'it is' ... just. For the time being I'm especially pleased to see the beauty of a negative realised in such a way that it hadn't been before. It is an image with some compositional and timing strengths, so this is a win for me.
Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to look at, or enquire about, my Alleyway, Menorca print.
Not long to go now! Anyone who'd like to buy one has until 8pm on Tuesday (28th). From that point on, the print will be withdrawn from my shop.
Today I’m happy and excited to announce a new print offer. I’m also trying something different, by offering it for sale in my shop for one week only (starting today). I may make more in the future, or I may not (so it is strictly speaking an ‘open edition’ print), but it will be certainly limited by this time constraint for now. Who knows, I may never offer this image for sale again, so there is plenty of scope for purchasers to land themselves a very low-number work of art.
The piece is Alleyway, Menorca, a black and white inkjet print with a full-bodied tonal scale. It was shot on a Leica M6 TTL earlier this year, using Ilford HP5+ film, before being scanned on a negative scanner and edited digitally. The paper is the venerable Canson Baryta Photographique, which holds the fulsome tonality well, and accommodates the subtle darkest greys. The print is on A4 paper, with a generous border for framing. Image size is approximately 15 x 22 cm. As is my custom, I will sign the print in pencil on the rear and will ship it with a certificate of authenticity.
The print can be purchased in my shop now, but the sale will end on Tuesday 28th November at 8pm, London time. It will then be removed from the shop. If you are interested, my advice is naturally to place your order asap, something that is doubly important if you have the print in mind as a potential Christmas gift (and what better gift that a handcrafted print made by the photographer?). I'll do my best to make sure that any orders reach you in time for Christmas, but please be aware of shipping timescales and potential for disappointment if ordering from overseas.
Regular readers will know of my regard for printing and the pleasure it potentially brings. Seeing an image move from screen to fine paper can be nothing short of a revelation. New tones, colour relationships and detail are revealed, and there is a strong sense of a veil being pulled from in front of the picture. It does, however, have a ‘negative’ side too: it has the power to show up the flaws. The print makes you work harder: you have to be more critical of your image and must be willing to solve all the issues before it sits right.
I was reminded of this just the other day when I made a print of my fern picture (see this post here). If you read the post about this image, you will know that I am an apprentice large format photographer, and was wrestling with a one second exposure in windy conditions at f16. All seemed to be well in the end, that is, until I printed it.
The problem is there are some significant - and visually unattractive - shifts in depth of field. The chosen aperture of f16 is simply inadequate to give the kind of generous clarity I had visualised. Thinking about it, it’s hardly any wonder: I was looking down a fairly steep slope and there was no way I was going to bring the film, lens and tree planes into alignment, even given the tilt options of the field camera. Trees aren’t very considerate too, and tend not to grow straight upwards!
There were good reasons for not wanting to go longer than one second at the moment of exposure, so this limited my aperture choice. I didn’t have any faster film with me at the time, although even HP5+ (a sensible alternative) probably wouldn’t have solved the issue. I chalk this up to part of my learning experience with large format: 35mm photographers are blessed with few problems when it comes to securing adequate depth of field. Indeed, it’s something of a historical irony that in these days of ultra-fast lenses and small formats, photographers often strive for less depth of field, when photographers of the past sought more. To move ‘up’ the formats is to encounter these self-same problems. Adequate depth of field is now on my picture-making radar (as an experienced LF photographer would doubtless have counselled me).
The print may be a hard taskmaster, but it’s a teacher too. All the parts of the process are connected. What a wonderful medium this is.
Thanks to everyone who has purchased one of my Young Corn prints. I will be offering a 50% discount to celebrate the launch of this print for one more week from today. Please use code CORN50 at the checkout to take advantage of this offer. You can find this and my other prints here.
I have been busy on lots of fronts of late, but especially with teaching, as it the start of the academic year. My Pebble Project is in full swing, and it too has taken no modest amount of time, demanding my concentration and discipline.
So it is easy for me to forget that some of the best pleasures in doing photography are simple ones. A little time in the darkroom the other day served as a reminder.
Despite some reservations, I went ahead and printed a somewhat underexposed negative taken with my Yashica Mat G medium format camera and Ilford FP4+ film. The image is inescapably dark, so I went along with this, hoping to stay just the right side of 'meh, too dark'. The negative is indeed thin, but is it nevertheless amazing how much detail still resides in even the thinnest of areas.
In a case such as this, one's printing choices are narrowed and fine margins become all-important. My first print was too dark and lacked contrast. Still, I could see that the image struck up a relationship with the paper and its pearly, pitted surface, so I pressed on. I went up by about half a grade, and reduced my exposure. The tonality was now much more open and the image remained suitably dark, but gained much more of a sense of the light beyond. I finished the print with a gentle vignette, maybe heavier than my usual, and dodged the flowers a little to lift the lightest tones and draw the eye to the melancholy memorial.
An hour's printing with this forgiving, flexible and tactile medium that is darkroom.
For more about this print click here: