Edit in Darkroom
Whether you have the practice of printing your photographs or not, holding a physical copy of an image is always a different experience.
The printing process grows your relationship with your image. When you select and prepare an image for printing, you build a relationship with it. Time creates depth. Without this step in photography, it is hard for your image not to look flat.
In my practice, I have decided early on to print my images through the traditional darkroom method. These are my steps in creating a picture:
- Capture the image
- Develop the film negative
- Scan the film negative
- On the computer, evaluate and select which image to print
- In the darkroom, print the image with a general exposure
- Adjust contrast
- Burn and dodge areas of the image to create balance, highlights and layers in the image
- Remove dust and white spots through 'Spotting'— a process where pigment ink is applied on paper to hide white spots
On the left:
The first image is an as-is print of the image with a general exposure,
the second image is marked with notes for the burning and dodging process, exposure timing, and contrast filter,
and the third image is the final print.
The fourth image shows the result of the spotting process.
In this process, creating a picture is like courtship. In the beginning, I pick the first image from the roll of negative that jumps out to me— the first impression. I take the time and pay attention to every detail. As I get to know it, I will notice some flaws and decide if it is something I can work with. As I build my relationship, I learn of its strengths and highlight them. When we are ready, I show us off. Many times, especially in film photography, you do not realise the true beauty of what you have until you take the time to uncover it.
Darkroom printing is not for everyone. It is a tedious process that demands commitment. However, this methodology creates an ecosystem for an artist to create masterpieces. One-of-a-kind pictures that came from a long and meaningful journey with its creator.