Once upon a time, before the digital era, there was a photographic printing technique that called wet printing or darkroom printing or silver gelatin printing. You could print a photograph without using computer or printer by using this mysterious technique. Nowadays there are only a few master remain who knows the mystery. Hold on there, I will tell a secret. I am the master and I will whisper the secrets to you in this blog. Keep this secret with you.
Last two weeks were too busy for me. It was started with a flood in the darkroom. We had trouble times. After that there was annual RFF EuroMeet in Istanbul and I joined the gang. I had very joyful times and met some fabulous people. Then busy working days and finally I found some spare time for uploading a print.
Today I want to upload a photo printed on a discounted paper. Paper is Kentmere F.G. Warmtone fiber paper. It has semi-matt, warmtone and textured surface. For detailed information you can take a look to the website of Kentmere.
After the merger of Ilford and Kentmere, Ilford released a new paper called Art300. Unfortunately, I couldn't have any opportunity to try but on the light of writings on it I resembled its surface to the Kentmere F.G. Warmtone. After reading a Turkish blog that resembles too, I decided upload below print.
And below there is 100% crop of the image. You can easily see the surface texture.
Here is a new image taken at 2007 in Istanbul. This image belongs to a project of mine about demonstrations. Hopefully I managed to finish this project and book of the project is on the way of print. I will share it when I take the first copy.
And here are the details of the print: Paper: Ilfrord Multigrade IV Fiber 1K Glossy Paper Size: 24x30.5 cm (9½x12in) Image Size: 19.1x28.9 cm (7½x11½in) Developer: Dektol 1+2 (2 min.) Toner: Untoned Film Format: 35 mm
I signed the image with a permanent silver marker as you see. There are lots of opinions about how to sign a print but as I can understand there is not a consensus on this issue. I am also confused. I couldn't make a decision and I don't have a standard. I am just signing my prints as it comes.
Yesterday I was in darkroom and take some photos about my print procedure. I want to tell about it by these photos.
1) First of all and most hard step is choosing a negative for print.
Before the digital, we spent lots of time on the light table. Generally frames were chosen over the contact prints. I was generally selecting from directly negative. Nowadays I am scanning all my negatives and I select the negative by using computer before the print day. I try not to decide the frame at the darkroom because it is very time consuming.
There is a yellow wheel on the middle of the enlarger seen above photo. This wheel is multigrade wheel and you can easily adjust multigrade filters. In addition this filter system is changing continuously therefore you can adjust between whole number.
4) I adjusted masking frame for the appropriate paper size. Also I focused the image by using a focus finder. By the way I selected Ilford Multigrade FB Glossy paper and paper size was 24x30.5 cm
5) Time to test print :). When you work in same darkroom and with same enlarger, you can easily estimate the exposure time. I used to darkroom and enlarger, for this reason I can easily estimate approximate exposure time. In test print I just cut some pieces and put them important sections of the print. I generally prefer to work at around 40 seconds as exposure time. I feel comfortable at this exposure time in the means of burning and dogging.
I always dry test prints for decision. It is very important because there is big difference between dry and wet print. Most of darkroom user are using microwave for drying test prints. I am using hair dryer for this job. It is smaller and movable than the microwaves. Also you can dry almost everything such as your hands. Moreover, I am using it to heat the developer.
6) After getting test prints I decided to print at a grade between 1 and 1.5 as shown below.
7) And the final image hanging on the wire.
8) Generally I prefer to print 3-5 edition in a session.
9) At the end of the session. I printed 2 different image with 3 edition. Also I tested some old paper which are hanged at the end of the wire below photo.
10) Other photograph that I print at this session.
10) Dried prints. Below two photos taken under the daylight condition.
All session was take approximately 4 hours included preparing solutions, printing and cleaning.
This image is one of my unpublished images. It belongs to one of my project which is about graphite. Although this project was finished, I couldn't get any opportunity to exhibit. Image was taken in Istanbul, 2005. Here are the details.
Paper: Ilfrord Multigrade IV Fiber 1K Glossy Paper Size: 24x30.5 cm (9½x12in) Image Size: 19x29.2 cm (7½x11½ in) Developer: Dektol 1+2 (2 min.) Filter: 4 Toner: Untoned Film Format: 35 mm
This photo was taken at night in a dark street. There are two copies of this print. One is hanged at the wall of a restaurant Koycegiz / Turkey. Loaded image is my copy and slightly darker than the other. In this image I especially like the expression on the face of cat and white tones on the face.
I want to load this image for my first blog post. I feel very relaxed whenever I look this image and details of the print are here:
Paper: Ilfrord Multigrade IV Fiber 1K Glossy Paper Size: 24x30.5 cm (9½x12in) Image Size: 18x27.5 cm (7¼x10¾in) Developer: Dektol 1+2 (2 min.) Toner: Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner Film Format: 35 mm
This paper is one of my favorite paper. It has a delightful Dmax (maximum density of blacks) and pure whites. Moreover it has a glossy surface. Also it reacts well with the contrast filters 0 to 5 grade. In selenium toner blacks are turning a little purple blacks and they gains more details. My only complain about this paper is its thickness. I would prefer more thicker one. For more detail about paper you can click this link.