Folios and Lith print…

Digital enlarger

Over the last few weeks I have restarted an ongoing portfolio. This current body of work has spanned well over a decade and the images have been used for book publications as well as exhibitions both here in Australia and internationally. The set below was printed using the Devere Digital Enlarger. The machine ensures consistency throughout this body of work, regardless if the images were shot on film or digital.
Reproduced courtesy T. Wilkinson

The folio

Portfolio printing goes back to the beginnings of photography. Think Anna Atkins  & Fox Talbolt who created one of the earliest photographic books / folios.
I recently embarked on a new photographic journey, the plan was to create a new folio, my  previous being made over twenty years ago.
Working as a  darkroom professional for the last twenty six years left little time for self development. Pun intended. But a constant niggling over the last few years forced me to MAKE the time. A few months ago I began, and a set of test images and prints were created. These were just for me, no commissions and not for profit, but purely for the thrill of making something new, for me.
Below is another of my tests, made using the Lith printing technique, a processed I first learned back in 98-99 thanks to Tim Rudmans iconic book on the process, “The Master Photographer’s Lith Printing Course” 

The Lith print

Although most of the Lith materials are no longer with us, the specialised chemistry is still being produced by Wolfgang Moersch and Foma warmtone papers remain to work beautifully.

Next week I’ll be reshooting using Fomapan 5″/4″ films, which will be dev’d in D-23, PMK Pyro and Foma’s Retropan developer. Then to print using Liquid Emulsion and Cyanotype and even possibly onto Salted paper. Fingers well and truly crossed…
Dragonfly printed on Fomatone 131, dev’d in Kodalith. Untoned
Chris Reid, Laguna NSW
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B&W mural printing, short and long of it…

I’m getting old…

I realised this once (again) when I began setting up for a 54/42″ fibre base mural commission for Ash. Garwood.  Ash is currently residing in L.A. so I was flying solo. Usually when Ash is in Australia we tend to work together in the darkroom. I find this direction useful as I can ask questions and to get a feel what the photographer is after. This creates a bond and trust that is helpful when a client is O.S. They trust me to do my best… And you’re only as good as your last print.


Over the last two days I made a print. The process included setting it up, exposure and processing, then toning, final processing and finally drying & retouching.


So getting back to feeling older… Set up for a mural print is a time consuming process, there is no short cut. Anyone who has made a mural will surely agree. It’s has been a while between murals and I really did feel my age, I forgot how taxing on hands the rolling can be.

The first thing on the menu was to aline the enlarger. At max. projection the alignment needs to be as perfect as possible. I used a clever little device recommended by my friend and fellow darkroom printer Sam. B. The PARALLEL by Versalab takes away the guess work of alignment.



Now it was up and down the short ladder for my short legs, sizing up, focusing, measuring again and checking the focus once again. Lock all off. Now the chemistry, about 20 litres in total for the Dev ( an extra litre in a jug for topping up ), Stop bath, Fix and H.C.A.

The exposure tests begin. When the first test print requires the equivalent of four  20″/24″ pieces of paper, you make a lot of tests. I took a punt for the first and estimated an exposure time of 180 seconds @ f16, dev’d in Fomatol P stock, for 4 minutes, stopped for 60 seconds and fixed for 2 minutes using rapid fixer 1:4. Each test takes around 15 minutes including cutting the 42″ test strip from the roll.


As a result, the final exposure time was just shy of ten minutes, including the half stop burn. Time consuming. The processing completed, the print received a decent 10 minutes rinse wash, then 5 minutes through Hypo Clearing Agent.  Another brief rinse in water it’s into the final wash sink for another 60 minutes in H2O. Water is recycled into the garden

12 hours after drying in the morning it was time for the added archival permanence of Selenium toning. Two and a half minutes in the toner at 1:10 dilution, then the wash sequence once again. Wait to dry, then retouching clean up for final display.

Although the Mural process may be challenging, I always feel rewarded once the print is spotted and ready to hang.

The video below will give an idea of the process of rolling the print during processing.

Chris Reid, Laguna.

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The family photo album.

This week I spent a day sorting approx. 500+ prints created over a 6 month timeframe. All the images are for a family photo album spanning the last 15 years.

To think that only 30 years ago anyone who took photographs of family holidays, birthday parties and the like could drop the rolls off to the local chemist or mini lab. Then usually within a few days they have the pleasure and excitement of the reveal. Moments forgotten, yet captured on gelatine to be remembered and enjoyed repeatedly. Each time the shutter was pressed you knew it was one less shot. And every roll of film was usually printed, edited and then placed in a family photo album or the shoe box, for easy reference of the good old days…

The attached pics of the sorting table shows that the family album still lives on. So wether your shooting film or pixels, try remember to take some time to edit and print off the best and pop them into a safe place. You never know, one day these pictures may be the only reference to times gone by.

Prints were made on Fomabrom 111, Glossy FB paper stock. Image size 5/7″, doubled up onto cut 10/7″ sheet of paper (chopped from a 10/8″ sheet). All prints are then spotted and heat pressed and cut to final 5/7″ size. 2x copies of each image and a spare for Murphy’s Law!

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New workshop @ Gold Street Studios May 9th

Due to the cancellation of the Alternative Photographic Process Symposium 2020 at Gold Street Studios due to the virus, Ellie has suggested I add another workshop to my itinerary. I am currently running my usual Liquid Emulsion and Lith Printing workshops (booked out) so I thought I would run a one day toning workshop in between. This will be a new thing for me as I normally incorporate toning at my 2 day Intro to Fine Print workshops. Over the weekend I will write the proposal and shall make an updated post once complete. And lastly, I found another image I made from my testing sessions from a few weeks ago…

Composite print with paper negative overlay +dragonfly with botanical photograms & cloud background image
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Darkroom Download Vol. 1

Welcome to my first post in many a moon… I find it a challenge to write about my doings in my darkroom, especially via social media etc, but here it goes.

Firstly, “Thank You” to everyone who touched base regarding the darkroom and myself during the fire season. We were very lucky indeed to escape major damage. Without the hard work of RFS and local residents, things may have been a whole lot worse.

Below are a few pics from the just above the darkroom and also from the upper Boree Track / Upper Yengo Creek Road looking West towards Yengo Mountain, about 20 minutes from the the gate.

Since the New Year, printing commissions have been fairly consistant. I recently worked on a series of test prints for Jo Cripps from Salt & Silver studio. On this project, Jo shot a number of different film stocks and hand processed them in various developers. A notable image was on the Foma Retropan 120, beautifully complimented by the tree dappled light. The use of Pyro developer also gave extra punch to some of the other images where the contrast was fairly flat. Jo isn’t shy of experimenting, which is useful for film photographers. For this project, our aim was to create a series of sample prints for the various silver gelatine printing options I can offer. All up, it was 4 days in the darkroom with about 20 odd tests, culled to a presentable 13 finals that made it to the press. These consisted of Lith prints, Liquid Emulsion and Silver gels. Toining options included Gold + Lith, and warm tone paper. Thiocarbamide on the neutral tone 112 and Selenium with the 111 gloss 131 warm tone. Finally a few Liquid Emulsion on watercolour paper. I also used different borders for added variety.

Detailed info is below, if you can be bothered. Otherwise skip to the pics.

Lith Prints: Printed onto Fomatone 132 & 131 warm tone paper. Developed in Kodalith A&B developer for approx. 6 – 8 minutes. Toning: Gold only ( GAF 231)

Liquid Emulsion: Printed onto Canson 230 gms watercolour paper. Double coated over 48 hours. Printed on day 3 and developed in Fomatol P 1:1 for 3 minutes. No toning

Silver Gelatine: Printed onto Fomabrom 112 & 111 neutral tone stock and 131 & 132. Prints were developed in Fomatol P for 3 minutes at 1:2. Toning of neutral tone stock consisted of a bromide bleach till complete, then after washing toned on Thio. #3 formula. Another print was Selenium toned for 3 minutes @ 1:10 dilution. Warm tome paper received Gold toner + Selenium, Gold only and Selenium only.

In other news, a new delivery has arrived from Foma which has replenished most of my stock. Back in town is the Liquid Emulsion and most “out of stock” paper. I still have a few items to stock, so if you would like anything special ordered, such as Graded papers, please drop me an email.

More stuff. Foma has announced that there will be a 5 %  increase to most of the product range, 3% to some other items. With the current exchange rates declining and freight costs increasing, I feel the necessity to adjust the current prices presently listed on the website FOR NEW STOCK ONLY. It has been a while since I have done this mind you, though it’s never easy….

If any readers have news regarding upcoming exhibitions etc, please drop me an email. Being off grid in the bush, I don’t get much photographic news. But I do get WiFi.

Lastly… Over the last few months I have made the effort to create some photographs just for me. Below are a few samples of works in progress. It has been a real learning curve, especially with the capture side of things. I am more a printer, than a photographer. But I hope with more testing I’ll get the images just how I want them.

Chris Reid, Laguna 2325



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November news…

Exhibition print job, Liquid Emulsion photographic Book and new Foma products just in.

Last month I finished a limited edition of Australian photographer Ricky Maynard. “Saddened Were the Hearts of Many Menwas originally printed in 2015 using Fomabrom 111 paper. After initial processing the prints received a custom Bleach and Thiocarbamide toning process. Upon drying, a few prints looked pretty off due to the change of both the Bleaching bath and the Toner bath. As the prints were on 20/24″ paper, it used a lot of chemistry, but as the tones changed so subtly, the eye becomes fooled. So, this time around I “Topped Up” both the Bleach and the toner for each print. A good result with no surprises. This edition was commissioned by in San Diego and facilitated by Emma @ Bett Gallery, Hobart

The below images © Ricky Maynard, printed by Blanco Negro

Last week found me once again working with Stephen Dupont on our latest challenge. Using Blanco Negro’s unique Devere DS Digital Enlarger, whereby digital files may be printed in the darkroom using various analogue printing techniques, this machine was perfect for the project.

The Mission: 14 editions of a custom made photographic book. One hundred and seven images to be printed using the Liquid Emulsion technique onto double side watercolour paper.

Challenges: Projection Control for quick enlarger set up, Cutting and marking up of paper without mix ups. Quickest method for consistent coatings. Additives to emulsion such as Chrome Alum, gelatine subbing, Processing procedures for efficiency of time, etc, etc… So there was a few days spent over a few weeks just fine tuning the various challenges. Although I may have been working with Liquid Emulsion for over 2 decades, I have never been faced with such a demanding project. The volume of work was quite daunting. Luckily Steve was at hand to crack the whip 🙂

It was a Fun time in the darkroom and a great learning experience. And I’m looking forward to our next two weeks in the dark in December.

The below images © Stephen Dupont, printed by Blanco Negro

Another arrival from Foma Bohemia has landed, and this consignment of goods included a few extra items not usually stocked. Included was the Fomapan R100 in 35mm format. I also have, but yet to list the Super 8mm R100 ( DS8 ) film stock. Also available by request is 16mm reversal film. And next month I will be importing the R100 reversal processing chemistry kit. Also included were several boxes of Fomapan 100 and 400 in 9×12 cm format. There are only a few left, so be quick if your in need, though I can order this format in by request if I am out of stock. And last but not least, a number of 250 gms of Foma Liquid Emulsion has also arrived.

The below images © Blanco Negro’s iPhone

Thank you for reading, until next time…


Chris reid

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Instagram pics, back online….

A few pics from my Instagram posts.

Print finishing. The final step of creating a black and white hand made print #photogram #blanconegro#fineartdarkroom #handmade#doitinthedark 

This photogram on the left (15 in total) was printed on the discontinued 123 Fomabrom paper at 20/24″ size. I played around a fair bit with the exposures as one does and I am looking forward to playing a bit more to give the background some interest… Do it in the dark….

To the right is a pic of some of the films (159 in total) I hand processed a few weeks ago. All film’s had to be I.d.’d with the students names and then written up onto the Print File archival sleeves. All the films were souped in D-76 and replenished with a home made replenisher. I wonder why Kodak stopped making the Rep…? It is reassuring that some Universities are still sticking to film in this modern digital age. But as the teachers mentioned, film can teach so many skills, as you need to “know” what you are actually doing.

blanconegrodarkroomFILM, LOVE IT OR LOSE IT! Earlier this month I dev’d 159 rolls of Foma 400 for the University of Wollongong An annual gig that takes me a few days to I.D., dev, cut and sleeve. All processed by and using D-76 With Home made replenishing. #blanconegro#customdarkroom #doitinthedark#blackandwhitefilm #foma #handmade



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New Bromoil paper from Foma now available. Fomabrom Variant 113 BO

Blanco Negro is happy to announce the new Bromoil paper from Foma Bohemia is now available to purchase online. I sent off a few sample packs to experienced bromoil printers who said their initial testing shows great promise.

Being a novice bromoiler myself, I have yet to take the plunge and have a crack. I did make a series of grade tests as well as a Fomatol PW developer test. It seems the BO 113 has little Chloride salts, so the effect with the PW was minimal. This also explains the neutral colour of the paper. My next step is toner tests, mainly Selenium, Gold and Thiocarbamide, followed by a bromoil run. Fingers crossed I get some sort of result!


The paper is available in either 10/8″ X 25 sheet pack or 11/14″ X 10 sheet pack

The paper can be bought here : http://localhost/

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Some news from the darkroom: No deliveries 24th – 28th due to teaching @ Gold St Studios

New Foma Delivery Due Next Week

So next week I am expecting the latest Foma delivery, and with it comes 150 rolls of the latest release of the new Foma Retropan “soft” 320 film in the 120 format. Also arriving is load of the Fomaspeed matte 10/8 in 25 sheet packs, for all the Uni students who have been using it of late and any special orders people have asked. Remember, Foma sell all kinds of paper that I do not stock as standard. For printers looking for something difference check out this LINK for Foma’s other paper stocks. Included are Graded papers for the traditionalist printer as well as some textured paper stocks. Anyone interested in trying out something different can simply drop me a line and I shall check stock levels.

Please note: as I will be away, no deliveries will be possible between Thursday 24th & Tuesday 28th May.

Workshops at Gold St Studios 24th – 28th May: No deliveries will be possible

I shall also be heading back down to Gold Street Studios where an extra workshop has been added due to demand. Isn’t that nice…. This time around I’ll be teaching the Lith Printing process and Liquid Emulsion printing. I am pretty sure there is still spot available for the second Lith workshop. Click this link for more information. Each workshop will have a maximum of 3 people for better communication and work flow.

As I will be away, no deliveries will be possible between Thursday 24th & Tuesday 28th May.

Upcoming travel photography tour – Pakistan, October 2018

For any snappers who like to travel, award winning photographer Andrea Francolini is offering a unique photographic experience in Pakistan. Andrea has been travelling to Pakistan for years now, he has set up new schools via his charity My First School. While there, Andrea has also be shooting personal projects with his 5/4″ camera and the Mamiya 7 and then creating beautiful hand crafted silver gelatin prints bordered by colourful stickers. Anyone interested in the travel tour can click HERE

And that’s about it for now…

Chris Reid 18/05/18

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Some news from the darkroom…

Film Paper & Workshops…

Blanco Negro is happy to announce the arrival of Foma Bohemia’s latest film, Retropan 320 in the 120 format. I am pretty excited to be testing the new film this weekend and dusting off the Mamiya 7 & C330 and may even get a few prints off next week… Stocks are very limited at this stage, but I shall be getting more delivered in the next few weeks. Cost per roll is $7.75

Also delivered are the sample packs of the new Bromoil paper 113 BO. Although only containing 5 sheets they are free to pick up ( in Newtown, NSW ) or I’m happy to post if the costs are covered. Drop me a line if interested. Again packs are very limited. The cost for the Bromoil paper is as follow’s:

10/8″ x 25 sheets $55.00     11/14″ x 10 sheets $55.00     11/14″ x 25 sheets $130.00

Workshop news

Last week I headed down to Victoria for a few days to teach at Gold Street Studios. This 2 day workshop covered many aspects of Silver Gelatin print making and the second day we toned a few dozen prints. I’m pretty sure we covered most toner combinations, but two of my fav’s was a print ( an image of an urn ) I locally bleached then tone in Thiocarbamide, then toned overall with Selenium and the other was a landscape that was toned in Thio. first, then toned again in my custom Blue toner for a Green effect. The students were pretty happy with the results 🙂

I’ll be travelling down to Gold Street Studios again this month to teach a few more workshops on alternative silver gelatin printing. The Lith printing workshop is fully booked, but there are still places available for the Liquid Emulsion lessons. Click here for more information : Gold St Studios

Before I head down though I’ll be beginning a new commission for Stephen Dupont to make a hand made  photographic book using Foma’s Liquid Emulsion. I’m not too sure how many pages, I think it is around the plus 200 mark and Steve was thinking of about 12 editions. I’m thinking I’ll be in need of a holiday afterwards! Thankfully Steve will be giving me a hand. We’ll be printing via the Devere DS Digital enlarger which will life a lot easier in regards to layout and consistently of the tonality. I’ll be posting some pics on our progress…

And that’s about it from the darkroom

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Silver Gelatin workshop at Gold Street Studio

I just thought I would put a shout “out there” regarding a placement at my upcoming workshop in Gold Street Studios this Thursday 26th and Friday 27th April. Anyone who is interested please contact Ellie Young directly via her website:

For more information regarding the workshop, please click HERE

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Foma release a new paper for Bromoil’s

Well the folks are Foma have been keeping busy. After last months news about the release of Retropan in 120 format, Foma have just announced the production of a new paper designed for Bromoils.

FOMABROM VARIANT 113 BO features a very rich half-tone scale over all contrast grades, a shining white paper base and saturated blacks. The paper is manufactured using silver chlorobromide emulsion that gives neutral-to-medium warm tone to the silver image.

This stock in available in these sizes only: 8 x 10 inch and 11 x 14 inch. I shall be importing this stock as soon as it becomes available, in the meantime Foma are sending me some samples with my next delivery due in 10 days or so… I’ll keep you posted on progress.

Anyone who is interested in this stock simply drop me a line to touch base regarding costs and availability.

With the next delivery I shall also be collecting the first batch of the 120 Retropan which I am very much looking forward to testing. Time to unbox the Mamiya 7…


There will be NO delivery available from Tuesday 24th April as I travel to Gold Street Studios to teach for several days. Online delivery will resume on Monday 30th.









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