Photographic Alchemy Exhibition

A Salon of Traditionally Handmade Prints


Photographic Alchemy is a counter point to modern, instantaneous digital images. On show will be a salon of modern prints made by traditional nineteenth-century printing processes – salt, cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown, gum bichromate, platinum palladium, bromoil and with a nod to the modern – intaglio photopolymer. Each process takes many hours, even days, to produce an image which reflects the magic of light sensitive chemistry laid out on art papers.

Lyn Arnold, John Bardell, Susan Buchanan & Carolyn Pettigrew

When: 26 October – 13 November

Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm

Where: The Art Space On the Concourse

409 Victoria Avenue Chatswood (Next to the box office)

Opening Sunday 30 October 3pm by Chris Reid

Willoughby Council is gratefully acknowledged for the provision of The Art Space on the Concourse.



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Femininity & Memory By Wendy Currie

Chrysotype can offer varying degrees of results and is considered to be one of the most difficult methods printing. It requires a tremendous amount of skill and meticulous work to achieve the kind of standard present in Femininity and Memory. Featuring her Mother’s personal belongings, Wendy aims to frame a sense a glamour and time. The use of ambient lighting in the prints present a distant memory and softness, without losing sharpness in the image.

Opening night

6pm Tuesday 18th October

Please email info@localhost to register your interest.

Head to Wendy’s website for more info.

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Printing a digital photograph

1870's Albumen contact print

The original 1870’s Albumen contact print. Notice the purple cast.

The untoned print from the digital enlarger on warm tone paper. Next is selenium toning.

The untoned print from the digital enlarger on warm tone paper. Next is selenium toning.

Partial selenium (1.5) toning. Approximately 90 seconds.
Partial selenium (1.5) toning. Approximately 90 seconds.

Partial selenium (1.5) toning. Approximately 90 seconds.

Full selenium 5 minutes.

Full selenium 5 minutes.


Final print!

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We’re closed on the 8th – 14th August

We’re on a short break next week so make sure you get your orders in before Friday 5th August. All orders placed in break period will be processed on return. We have a new shipment of Foma paper arriving the week after. For more details email info@localhost.

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In the darkroom with Stephen Dupont

In The Darkroom Series is a closer look at the craft in collaboration with some of my favourite photographers and artists. The series aims to demystify the fine art printing process and provide the technical detail of the body of work – Chris Reid

Stephen Dupont
Original Print. Please note these are test prints only.


This week I begin Stephen Dupont’s latest exhibition – White Sheet – showing at Stills Gallery at the end of the year. After the initial testing we have decided to run with my original ideas.

Paper Type: Foma 131 warm tone Gloss. 20/24” and 40/50” murals.
Chemistry: Ferric bleach bath, then fixed and washed.
Toner: Selenium at variable times – Dilution 1:15.

The steps:
#1 Dev + Stop + Fix + 1st Wash + Hypo Cleared + Final Wash
#2 Bleached + Washed + Re-Fix + 1st Wash + Hypo Cleared + Final Wash
#3 Selenium toned + 1st Wash + Hypo Cleared + Final Wash

The Foma 131 will receive a 5 minute development time. This gives me more room to play with the printing process as most of the negatives are being printed between Grade 4 to Grade 5. Not too much room to play!

Once the prints are dried after archival washing I will choose two from each image. These prints will then receive a short bleach bath. I use a fresh Potassium Ferricyanide and Potassium Bromide bleach at a very weak dilution. This is due to the paper being a Chloro-Bromide type, which is highly reactive to bleach baths. Once I am happy with the bleaching of the prints, they will be placed into a fixing bath to make them stable.

Stephen Dupont
Bleached and fixed print. Please note these are test prints only.

I decided not to use a Farmer Reducer bath as this is a permanent reduction step, irreversible if I over bleach the print, but by making separate bleach and fix baths I have a second chance (get out of jail free!). An over bleached print can be placed back into the developer and returned almost to it’s original density. The print can then be bleached again. The reason for the bleach bath is to create a greater dynamic tonal range.

Stephen Dupont
Selenium toned print. Please note these are test prints only.

After another archival wash sequence, the prints will be placed into a 1:15 Kodak Selenium toner. This will convert the print to a purple/magenta tone, again affecting the tonal range as well as the overall colour tone of the print. The reason for the toning is to help create a sense of unity between the images. There is a large selection of images from different locations around the globe as well as different subject matter. The Selenium toning will tie the prints together and make them easier on the eye as a whole, yet give each print its own unique identity.

Stephen Dupont
Comparison. Please note these are test prints only.
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Southern Exposure Exhibition


Twenty prints by twenty Australian photographers from the Blanco Negro Archive.

Photography has been my passion and obsession for over 27 years now. But the appreciation of the fine print or exceptional images has taken years of experience to be appreciated. My first ever purchase of a hand made photographic print was back in 1998, a Polaroid transfer. Yes, my first ever purchase was a Colour photograph!

Joyce Evans
© Joyce Evans 1995 – Tallaringa Springs Rainbow

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to print for some of Australia’s finest film photographers as well as some non professionals with a unique eye and style. I can appreciate the dramatic as well as the artist, but every print always leaves me with a sense of well being. Knowing I can gaze upon there beauty at anytime does not make them commonplace, it’s the opposite in fact. I can look upon a print I have hung on a wall for a decade and notice something new, a detail never noticed or a shade of tone yet to be appreciated. I feel very lucky to own this indulgence. The common thread for all my prints is that they have been exceptionally printed.

© Rennie Ellis 1973 – Sharpies, Melbourne

With thanks to fine art collectors who have passed on their knowledge and the teachers who have educated  me in the historical print techniques, I have come to understand certain nuances that each process possesses. I have always believed that to learn a new printing process now you must own a reference print – a fine example of the process that becomes embedded in the psyche. When we are all alone in the darkroom we can call up our memory for guidance, as a reference and comparison. To make sure the print is worth the effort and that the attributes of a fine print are obvious.

© Tracey Moffatt 1960
© Tracey Moffatt 1960 – Up in the sky

Just because a print is made by hand does not give it the right to hang on a wall. If only printmakers today were as conscientious as printmakers in the past – when only the best was acceptable. But when the prints are fine, then I’ll buy their work to add to my collection…

Southern Exposure Exhibition now showing.


Corrie Anconie
Ben Bohane
Anthony Browell
Adrian Cook
Stephen Dupont
Rennie Ellis
Joyce Evans
David Flanagan
Bob Kersey
Tracy Moffat
Nancy Montane
Shayne Pearce
L. Seigar
David Tatnal
Ioulia Terizis
Stephen Tester
Gordon Undy
Jozef Vissel
Tobi Wilkinson
Ellie Young


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Exclusive: Landshapes by Bob Kersey

On Friday 1st April, Bob Kersey will be selling his exclusive Artist Proof prints at Blanco Negro to raise money for an exhibition in the US.

A fusion of the landscape and still life, Landshapes suggests the geometry of the natural world resolves to imply a metaphysical message, accessing a vision a step beyond the mundane.

They will be also be available for limited viewing on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April. Help support an great artist by joining us for this special exhibition.

Artist Intention

As suggested in the title LANDSHAPES the work is, either specifically or loosely, a fusion of the landscape genre and still life. The intention in shaping such a fusion of ideas and form is to provide a creative vehicle to express current concerns and emotions along with a more penetrative view point. The use of smaller, more spontaneous cameras has allowed for the freedom to realise these aims.

As the title also suggests, the geometry of the natural world resolves to imply a metaphysical message and accesses a vision a step beyond the mundane. I feel it is right for me now to disdain objectivity and work from pure instinct. The photograph is about nothing except itself and whatever it may or may not be connected to… In a nutshell, no longer am I reporting the truth. Now I am making it up. A much more honest approach I feel.

Form of the picture

Beginning with image capture: as stated, small cameras have been used in order to “get through”. Small formats, unlike large format contact photographs of which detail is paramount, tend to combine with film grain to produce larger “brush strokes”. It is a simple choice between delicacy and presence. The abstractions implied in LANDSHAPES are best served by a more emphatic presence.

Formats used are 35mm, medium and 4×5. Films are Delta 100, FP4 and Tri X developed in XTOL and D76. This is the classic film “look” and is an integral part of the creative process.

Because the end product is a platinum palladium print, the next set of steps need to be planned to perfection.

The critical intermediate stage is the scanning of the negative and production of a digital file. There can be no alternative to this step. Modern day scanners and “editing” software is simply unbeatable. And there is no quality loss at all. However, the next stage, during which the enlarged platinum negative is made, needs to be considered carefully.

Having taken pains to produce a gorgeous FP4 in XTOL sky, I don’t wish to wash it all away. This would happen if I were to print out a digital negative off an ink jet printer. The pixilation would wash it clean. No amount of iron and platinum in the final print would protect it from that “homogenised” look. Why, therefore would you go to the trouble of using film in the first place?

No, it is necessary to get back to film immediately to maintain the film “look”. ADAA. The “D” is the best use and only use of the digital medium.

The file made then writes to a film recorder which produces an enlarged negative, corrected, spotted and balanced for the platinum palladium scale.

Approximately 9×13 inch image dimensions are printed onto 11×15 inch Revere Platinum cotton rag. The formulae, which is mainly palladium is carefully worked out for compatibility with both the Duraclear negative and the paper of choice. Using a special coating technique, each print is given 3 coats of sensitiser before exposure to ultraviolet light and developed in warm potassium oxalate before being cleared for archival longevity.


The set contains 15 images approximately 9×13 inches Palladium on cotton rag.

Submission to Photo Independent, Hollywood LA, opening April 29 2016 has been successful.

I will be carrying with me an edition of 2 of each image, to be matted and framed in the USA,

Having made the edition for Photo Independent I have decided to release the single artist proof of each image at a substantially reduced price as means to assist in the financing of this project.

Each print designated AP is perfect, mistake free, blemish free. It is simply the print I arrived at in order to serve as a template for the edition. It contains only the natural variations typically seen in any hand made process. The prices for the Photo Independent exhibition will be listed as US$. Prices for the sale of artist proofs will be approximately half the US prices however in A$.

I am hoping that by releasing the work here in Australia at Blanco Negro I am equally serving the local collecting community and also myself, so that I may benefit from the opportunity to exhibit LANDSHAPES in the USA.

Bob Kersey

BobKersey_copyBob Kersey is an Australian filmmaker, publisher, photographer and artist. Kersey produces images in platinum palladium; images that are distributed Australia wide and worldwide. Since re-emerging as a photographer in the early nineties, having spent the previous three decades in motion picture production, Bob Kersey has produced an archive of photographs covering many genres.

Always at the forefront of innovation, he is currently developing the Light Path method of making enlarged negatives for historic process printing.

Bob Kersey is publisher and editor of Australian Photography and Gallery Compendium and Photo Compendium Australia. Kersey is director of Black Mountain Photographic Workshops and Black Mountain Platinum Atelier.

Her lives with wife and partner, Mary Meyer, in the Great Dividing Range. With the kangaroos.

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We can print from your phone

We store 1000s of photos on our smartphones but are there some that you wish you could put on your walls, or gift to a special person?

Our Digital Enlarger was the first in Australia and one of a few today. All you need to do is email us a copy from your phone and we can print your photo on the best quality paper in B&W.

For that extra special touch we have a range of processes, toners and paper types to suit every taste. You can even personalise it with some text. Contact us and let us help you personalise your photo.

For more info click here or email info@localhost.


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Blanco Negro presents Drape by Leanne McPhee

Drape considers the forms that emerge from the folds, twists and creases in drapery. Rhythmic lines, geometric shapes and shadows hint at a presence within. Sensuality, drama, and quiet disposition are characteristics that emanate from different configurations.

Drapery can insist on revealing its own ‘character’ and oppose efforts to change or alter its form for another purpose. Challenging this is the use of drapery throughout art history as a device to signify decoration or movement in a scene. This series of work deliberately introduce objects to the world of the recalcitrant drape to challenge the notion of drape as supplicant. In this context, does the personality inherent in the folds and weaves of the drape diminish, or is it strengthened?

The hand made photographs in this series have been captured on 8×10 and 4×5 inch Ilford FP4 B&W film and contact printed onto Bergger COT-320 100% cotton paper using the New Chrysotype and Salt printing processes.

The Salt Print and New Chrysotype are printing-out processes where the image appears as it is exposed to ultraviolet light. Images are produced via a contact print, where the film negative is placed in direct contact with coated paper before exposure. The image produced is therefore the size of the negative.

The long tonal range and delicate monochromatic colours afforded by the combination of film and these photographic printing processes serve to ‘animate’ the forms and characteristics within the drapery.

Leanne will be opening the exhibition with a floor talk on her photographic processes. As a previous student of the legendary Dr Mike Ward, the talk will be very interesting indeed!

Space strictly limited. RSVP at info@localhost.


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Ambrotype and Tintype workshops with Ellie Young

BOOKED OUT: Blanco Negro presents – Ambrotype and Tintype workshops with Ellie Young

Email info@localhost to enquire about future specialised classes.

Ellie Young takes a break from her busy schedule at Gold Street Studios in Victoria to present some very special workshops in Ambrotype and Tintype processes.

Since 1994 Ellie has been practicing and studying the art craft and science, of ‘alternative’ photographic processes. Ellie conducts workshops in a number of alternative processes in her studios, and at times also teaches these processes in collages and institutes around Australia. Ellie constantly exhibits and sells her work nationally and internationally.


ElliehorseAbout Tintypes

Tintypes or ferrotypes are positive images created by a wet plate process. The black “tin” plate is coated with collodion, exposed in a large format camera and processed in a darkroom before the plate is dry.

History of Tintypes

The tintype was also know as the ferrotype and melainotypes became popular in the 1850’s as a cheaper and faster version of the daguerreotype. This wet emulsion was replaced with dry plates by the 1880’s.

About the workshop:

The day involves understanding coating – exposing and processes the plates. The chemicals use are volatile so it is not for those who have concerns about handling chemicals. The workshop includes chemical handling and safety issues.

What to bring:

4 x 5 camera including lens, dark cloth and shutter release. Special darkslides to hold the glass plates will be provided. Bring an apron or lab coat or old comfortable clothing. Lunch will be provided.


COST: $400 per person. BYO camera. Camera available for hire by request.


EllieteapotAbout Ambrotypes

Ambrotypes are under exposed negatives that appear as positive photograph. The black or clear glass plate is coated with collodion with added salts, light sensitivity is created by “dipping” coated plate into silver nitrate bath. The plate is exposed in camera and processed in a darkroom before the plate is dry. Each photograph is unique – “one off”. When protected with varnish they have an enduring life.

History of Ambrotypes

The ambrotype was discovered in 1850 – 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer. also well know as the and melainotypes became popular in the 1850’s as a cheaper version of the daguerreotype. This wet emulsion was replaced with dry plates by the 1880’s.

About the workshop:

The day involves understanding coating – exposing and processes the glass plates. The chemicals used are volatile so it is not for those who have concerns about handling chemicals. Material handling safety issues are included as part of the workshop.

What to bring:

4 x 5 camera including lens, dark cloth and shutter release. Special darkslides to hold the glass plates will be provided. Bring an apron or lab coat or old comfortable clothing. Lunch will be provided.


COST: $400 per person. BYO camera. Camera available for hire by request.

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InPrint-Is Exhibition Opens

Thanks to everyone who made it to the opening on Wednesday night 27th January.

InPrint-Is presented some beautiful work by Adam Finkleston, Amy Parrish, Angela Franks-Wells, Bill Moseley, Jodie Hooker, Priscilla Smith, Margarita Skiadas, Robyn Davis and Wendy Currie. The exhibition also debuted an accompanying book publication which is available through Amazon. Click here for more details.

This collection of prints spans over a century and a half of photographic practice. Ambrotypes with a blend of inkjet, handmade Chromogenic prints and the beautiful Chrystotype process; printing with gold salts onto hand coated paper.

The exhibition will be open to the public this Sunday 11:30am – 3:00pm, and every Saturday and Sunday until February 27th. There will be limited viewing times during business hours. Please call ahead of time to make sure someone is present on (02) 9698 4552.

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To celebrate @blanconegrodarkroom reaching 1000 Instagram followers we’re offering a 10% discount on all film, chemistry and paper purchases over $20!

*Valid 11/01/16 to 12/01/16. Discount is applied automatically to cart for online orders.


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