Silver Gelatin Printing?

My Silver Gelatine Printing Process

My work bench with enlarger, saunder easel, rolls of unprocessed film, and some 5x4 inch contact sheets, the wall behind is decorated with an assortment of prints postcards and other ephemera. The head of the enlargr is raise showing the cool soft blue light of my Zone VI enlarger head.
My work bench with enlarger, saunder easel, rolls of unprocessed film, and some 5×4 inch contact sheets.

Here’s my process for making a print on silver gelatine paper. Printing on silver gelatine paper is rewarding and relaxing. It is not cheap however, so my process aims to tease as much detail as I can out of test strips before commiting to a full sheet of 8 x 10 inch silver gelatin paper. It is the ultimate way to relax, if I am  not printing to a dealine, ie and exhibtion.

Process the film.

Two rolls of 120 format film hanging inside a drying cabinet
Two rolls of 120 format film hanging inside a drying cabinet

Dry it and cut into strips.

Two rolls of 120 format film, ready to be cut and sleeved, along with gloves a penci and 2 sleeves, with 2 strips to labelthe sleeves
Two rolls of 120 format film, ready to be cut and sleeved

Set up the sink.

With Developer, Stop Bath, Fixer One.

The first stage of prnt processing, using onlly Developer, stop bath and fixer in my grey sink with tongs in each tray. A white tray for developer a grey one for stop bath and a red one for fixer
The first stage of prnt processing, using onlly Developer, stop bath and fixer.

Make a contact sheet to edge black.

Edge black is the pont where the edge of the film disaapears.  So I start by making a test wedge usually of 3 second bursts. After the stop bath, and fixer a quick rinse. Turn on the lights and look for the time that the edge of the film no longer shows, that is my time for the whole contact sheet. This has 2 disinct technical advantages. I can assess my exposures and development of the film. Noting any deviations that may be needed at the enlarging stage.

A test strip of a proof sheet floating in the rinse water the tray is a modifed print procssing tray with grey tubes feeding water in and holes drilled along the edges to allow water to escape
A test strip for a proof sheet floating in the rinse water

Process the paper, Devloper 2 minutes, Stop 30 seconds, Fix 2 minutes.

Wash the final outcome for 10 minutes.

Dry and anotate, file away.

My filing sytem, showing a box labelled with dates anbd film format and 2 rolls of film with their numbers annotated inclding processing dates and sequencial number.
My filing sytem, showing a box labelled with dates anbd film format and 2 rolls of film with their numbers annotated inclding processing dates and sequencial number.

Choose a negative to print.

Peruse my contacts, and choose a negative. Either form my archive or from the current contact sheet I’m working on.

Set up ealarger making sure the negative is in focus, sometimes, I shoot out focus on purpose.

A Saunders easel with the other tool I use in the darkroom, a Peak Focus finder, a set of Ilford multigrade filters and an anti-static brush.
A Saunders easel with the other tool I use in the darkroom, a Peak Focus finder, a set of Ilford multigrade filters and an anti-static brush.

Print

Expose for the highlights and change filters for the shadows, or split filter, mostly split filter these days. Test until I’m happy with the outcome, this may mean some extra burning and dodging to acheive a ‘balanced’ print.

Other tools used in the darkroom, an opaque board to mask off areas of test strips and prints, glass to hold negatives flat while making a cotact sheet, multicontrast filters, anti-static bruch and top left my notebooks for taking notes as I work.
Other tools used in the darkroom.

Process

Process the paper, Devloper 2 minutes, Stop 30 seconds, Fixer one, 2 minutes.

Rinse.

Print processing, using onlly Developer, stop bath and fixer in my grey sink with tongs in each tray. A white tray for developer a grey one for stop bath and a red one for fixer.

Fixer two, 2 minutes, Hypo Clearing Agent, 3 minutes, and archivally wash [10 minutes for resin coated papers, 60 minutes for museum quality fibre based paper].

Dry, & flatten

Mount if I am exhibitig the work framed.


About the author.

Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century. Photobooks sit quite high on his radar too these days.
☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr | leave a tip, or buy a print

Robot Review of Books

This link dropped in my inbox recently.

From Gary Hall, Professor of Media. Director of the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University:

about


About the author.

Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century. Photobooks sit quite high on his radar too these days.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr | leave a tip, or buy a print

 

ProCamera

IPhone & ProCamera

The defualt phone on the iPhone is execellent. And as I look at the pictures made in the first few iterations of the phone I can see big diffrences in quality of the images. How much of this is software, and hardware it’s hard to tell. For example my current iPhone will produce a file between 75 to 100+ MegaBytes in Apple ProRaw. I have been using my  iPhone in conjuction with the default Camera, and an app called ProCamera, since at least 2016. The feature that sets these two apps apart is the abilty to apply exposure and focus separately, with ProCamera. As well as a slew of features from White Balance to exposure to both over and under and shutter speed choices. I have over the years come to rely on the CameraPro app for tricky exposure situations in particluar. One of those situatons is my Weekly photo taken on Saturdays at 17:17:00. This idea has a dedicated tumblr. The app icon sits proudly on my home screen, where I can reach it quickly and easily.

My home screen on my iPhone 14 Pro On Friday the 21st of June 2024
My home screen on my iPhone 14 Pro On Friday the 21st of June 2024

Software Bug?

Last Saturday when I opened the app in readiness to take my weekly picture, after taking the shot I was presented with a screen that touted the benefits of puchasing the app. I had bought this app sometime prior to 2016! What the hell? Even by scrolling down the huge screen of which only the top portion is shown, there was no option to buy the app? I was perplexed. I immediately jumped online and started looking for clues or help. In the end I ended up in the support section of the company’s website. I dashed off a support request and attached the screengrab. As it was Saturday here and the company is in Europe, making it early Saturday morning there, I wasn’t holding out much hope for the next few days. So I contemplated deleting the app entirely and readjusting my home screen on my Phone to replace the missing icon.

The screen that asked me to pay for an app I had already bought in about 2016
The screen that asked me to pay for an app I had already bought in about 2016

Prompt & Efficient Service

Fast forward to Monday and I had received an email aknowledgement, that problem seemed to be a bug, their developement team were looking into it. Could I offer more detail? This I did.  The NEXT day I was emailed a promo code for the app. This I promptly redemeed and hey presto I had my favourite camera app back. Fully funtional.

This is top notch cusotmer service. I cannot recommend this app enough both for its usefulness and for the company’s customer service.

Thank you Cocologic, and thank you to your support team as well.


About the author.

Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century.
☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr | leave a tip, or buy a print

Online tip jar and shop

A screengrab of my Ko-Fi storefront on Thursday the 20th of June 2024
A screengrab of my Ko-Fi storefront on Thursday the 20th of June 2024.

Recently, as a small experiment, I setup shop using the Ko-fi platform, you can tip me $5.00 and it will go towards my hosting costs. If I get enough tips they will contribute to purchasing more silver gelatin paper and film both 120 and 5×4 inches and my server costs. I chose Ko-Fi because their setup was easy and fast and they only take 5% on sales, they take nothing on tips. Sadly the lowest I could set the tip jar to was $5.00.

I also have a shop set up. You can buy prints I have printed specially for the purpose from there too.

I also have at this stage a single members tier, for those who want to purchase a silver gelatin print from this album on flickr.

There is an easy button on the bottom left of the screen that helps, too I hope?

a screengrab of this blog showing the Ko-Fi button
A screengrab of this blog showing the Ko-Fi button

Altfotonet?

Screen grab of the final version of Altofotonet.org website taken from a backed up archive
Screen grab of the final version of Altofotonet.org website taken from a backed up archive

Many years ago, I registered the domain name, altfotonet.org. It was an attempt to build a community of like minded folks who were creatives using cameras but who weren’t entrenched in the commercial art scene or the academic world of art theory and criticism. I even went out and registered an ISSX number for it, ISSN 1836-845X.

It was intended to be an online Zine kind of publication. I pubished 3 issues and they are archived at the National Library of Australia’s site trove.  The archived summary reads:-

Welcome to altfotonet.org, we feel a unique idea, possibly the net’s first, peer based art review magazine/gallery, focusing on lens based practices, [no pun intended]. A kind of artist’s run cyber-gallery for image makers, using lenses in conjunction with light sensitive materials.

From the about page:-

This site sits somewhere between the democratic cacophony of sites like flickr and corporate styles of many commercial galleries, without the formality of state run institutions.

After those 3 issues the site lay farliy dormant. I did relaunch and rebuild the site at one point when I switched my hosting service. But after a couple of blog entries it again remained dormant. This year I decide not to renew the domain registration. So now other than Trove and the Way Back Machine, Altfotonet does not exist.

I did however set up a group on flickr to source images for it. That group still exists and ticks away quietly. Named obviously altfotonet.org.

This week I discovered I could run mulitple wordpress intallations on my website. And seeing as the internet is pushing back and trying to get weird again, I thought I would add a wordpress blog to try and keep the idea alive and running. I’m also really behind the idea of the small web too, and this seems a perfect use case.  Because Silicon Valley is getting less and less popular, thanks to Sam Altman Meta, and AI and the enshitification of the web amongst other things.

The address is http://stunik.com/alfotonet/ . My plans at this point are loose, treat it as another blog albeit a bit more focussed than this one. Perhaps I may have guest editors, interview photographers, we shall see.

On the to do list is a plan resurrect as much as I can in terms of text, at the minimum. So an about page is in order and  perhaps a submission page too. If you want a body of work submitted contact me. Already in place a links page, contact me if you want your site added.

The 25 Photos That Defined the Modern Age

A Gordon Parks colour photograph from the 1950s, depicting a black women and child on a street outside a movie theatre. Source:-https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/03/t-magazine/photography-robert-frank-gordon-parks.html
Gordon Parks, “Department Store, Mobile, Alabama,” 1956 Source https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/03/t-magazine/photography-robert-frank-gordon-parks.html

In my inbox recently, from Jorg Colbert came a link to an  article by a panel of experts at the New York Times who decided what the 25 most infulential images since 1955 are.

Definitely an arbitary date to choose from and some obscure images which I had not heard of and a couple of insigtful texts to accompany some of them.

It begins by lisitng the obvious omissions, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, Richard Avedon, Dawoud Bey, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Imogen Cunningham, Roy DeCarava, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn.

A group of experts met to discuss the images that have best captured — and changed — the world since 1955.

They were: the Canadian conceptual photographer Stan Douglas, 63; the Vietnamese American photographer An-My Lê, 64; the acting chief curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, Roxana Marcoci, 66; the American documentary photographer Susan Meiselas, 75; the American photographer Shikeith, 35; and Nadia Vellam, 51, T’s photo and video director.

Sadly behind a paywall. A definite add to my bookmarks.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

iPhone 14 Hardware & Software at night

Ever wondered how an  iPhone 14 Hardware & Software will perform at night?

My current iPhone, a 14 Pro, has been performing spectacularly since I bought it. This is an example of what it allows me to photograph. A situation where film would be almost impossible without a ton of pre-planning, and a healthy does of luck. And even with a DSLR some extra equipment. As it is, I stood in the one spot held the camera steady enough and the hardware and software took care of everything else. Three snaps later we moved on and got in the car to go home.

Moonee Ponnds 2024-06-14 20:46:07. How my iPhone 14 pro perorms at night? A hand held photo of a busy road in Moonee Ponds. I’m standnig by the side of the road on the nature strip as cars whizz past creating light trails. A trolley occupies the foreground, along with a pole for some utility, and a parked grey ute. Trees peter out in the distance and the sky is an incandescent blue.
Moonee Ponnds 2024-06-14 20:46:07

This images forms part of another project hosted on Tumblr

I couldn’t be happier with how my iPhone 14 Pro performs at night.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Technobabble

Google recently advised me of over 100 pages on my site that were returning 404 error messages. After a bit of digging I discovered a small snippet of code had malformed quotation marks, curly (“) instead of straight (″) . It took many hours of work to fix this. As my career draws to a close I’m hoping to set up shop on somewhere online to try and garner some small level of income. So Google ranking may be important for me moving forward, even if I object to the enshitification of the web. I am also trying to contribute the the small web too.

Anyway during the process I noticed that Safari was hogging a lot of resources. So I switched to iCab an excellent alternative. And it turns out far less resource hungry. As I’m currenlty relying on my 2015 work issued laptop having tools slow is a nuisance. To be expected, but bothersome none the less. Moving forward if this helps generally in my day to day work flow and can keep using this older laptop; great. The alternative is to splash out on a new desktop while not impossible not quite that high in my priorites right now.

Arc is another alternative, but I doubt it will offer the benfits that I’ve noticed in iCab. Vivladi is also a good browser.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Flickr as archive?

A block of red, red concrete to be exact. If you look closely you may see a hand suggested in the shadows of the image. As a Nick Cave fan I felt the title of Red Right Hand appropriate here. Made in August 2005. This resurfaced in my flickr stream due to it being favourited by a stranger. This is one of the joys of flickr for me., rediscovering aold work.
Image titled “red right hand”from flickr taken on the 16/08/2005

Recently on flickr, the above imge that I had uploaded nineteen years ago resurfaced. Thanks to a coment from a stranger. On the day I was using flickr’s excellent iPhone app to monitor my feed. One drawback of the mobile app is it is difficult to determine the context of any interactions and the  image itself in this situatiuon. Once I was able to acces flickr on a desktop I was able to see that the image is in an album called concrete canvas.

I also was able to see if I had origianlly captered it as a raw file by using Neofinder to search all my drives. If I had it would enable me to reprocess the file and perhaps present it in a better way. Afterall digital editing software has come along way in the last ten years never mind nineteen. So I found the file opened it an pocessed it again even though all I had was a jpeg.. This is the outcome.

What still perplexes me though, is that the image somehow surfaced in a strangers stream all these years later? I can see they added it to their favourites so I’m grateful for that.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photogrpahs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Wordless Wednesday 20240612

Thornbury Abaonded trolley 2024-06-12 07:52:12

About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr