Much to my parent’s slight distress my earliest photographic experiences were as a teenager having converted the family bathroom into a make shift darkroom. This meant blacking out all of the doors and windows usually with an ad hoc selection of old blankets, bits of string and tape and concocting a number of generally quite unpleasant chemicals in the dimly lit gloom. There is still a certain romance to this “real” photography for me and I still, on occasion, black out the bathroom and create prints the old fashioned way using film, chemicals and literally painting with light. One of the loveliest aspects of the darkroom experience is learning to literally craft the photographic print with light. This involves “dodging and burning” to shape the print into an almost three dimensional form – as the viewer’s eye is instinctively lead to the lighter parts of the print it’s possible to lead the eye around the print and give it a beautiful sense of depth and form.
This early photographic experience has informed what I do today with every single print that I produce. The computer has replaced the trays of chemicals and the light from the enlarger but the principal is exactly the same – to shape each and every print, to fine tune it to it’s optimum printing potential and to give it an individual and hand produced finish..
As this is very much behind the scenes I thought it might be interesting to make a short video describing the process and actually demonstrating what I did on an image from a recent wedding. So, with a great sense of stage frightened trepidation I hit record and the result is below – it’s somewhat rough around the edges and its hardly an oscar winning performance from me ( I sound like such a pretentious wally!) but the sentiment is there
Click on the final image below to watch the video…..