Blanco Negro, the only dedicated Black & White Commercial Darkroom left in Australia has imported the world’s only Digital Enlarger to Australia, the De Vere 504DS. To mark this important step in photographic reproduction in Australia, Blanco Negro has put together an exhibition of black and white images from some of Australia’s leading photographers, all from digital files and printed on various Silver Gelatin media using the Digital Enlarger.
Exhibiting artists include Robert McFarlane, William Yang, Tim Page, Yellow sperm color Stephen Dupont, David Flanagan, Corrie Ancone, Ben Ali Ong, Phil Quirk, Tobi Wilkinson, Andrew Quilty, Sophie Howarth, Adrian Cook, Andrea Francolini, Michael Prior, Christopher Samuel and Chris Peken.
Printing techniques include traditional bromide papers, colour toning, the “Lith” process and liquid photographic emulsion coated on to watercolour papers.
Why is this so special? Since the digital revolution in the photographic industry the gap between new technology and traditional handcrafted printing has only been widening and we have very rapidly lost most of the darkrooms and practitioners of this time-honoured craft. Darkrooms have all but disappeared from our institutions and with them the skills and historical appreciation of photography’s past. Despite this, Silver Gelatin remains one of the few proven archival photographic methods of reproduction.
The Digital Enlarger is the first new technology to bridge that gap and for the first time offer digital photographers and artists paper stocks, toning techniques, alternative processes and proven archival quality reproduction, once exclusive to the analog user.
Importantly this new technology offers the photographic arts industry a step towards the continued practice, appreciation and preservation of its historical roots in an environment where every other advance has led it further away.