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Blanco Negro is now on HOLIDAYS :) 18th Aug – 18th Sept

So it is that time of year again when I head to the bush. I’ll be back on-line and in the dark from Monday 18th September.

Sunset in Laguna

On-line sales may still be made, but goods can only be posted on Tuesday & Thursday…

There will also be a number of changes happening at Blanco Negro and I’ll be updating these changes as they occur…

Best wishes, Chris Reid

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What’s the difference between the Fomapan films?

There are quite a few Fomapan films out there and sometimes it’s tough to choose the right one. To make it a little easier for all the new photographers, we’ve put together a little guide. Here are the ins and outs of the different films, we hope it helps you on your next project!

Fomapan 100

This film is a great all-rounder. Suitable for pretty much any outdoor shooting environment. Stylistically, Fomapan 100 offers a fine grain, producing sharp and ultra clear images. It features a wide exposure latitude which makes this black and white film quite forgiving and excellent for newcomers. Fomapan 100 is heavy on the contrast with beautiful tonality, fantastic for landscape work.

fomapan films fomapan 100
Fomapan 100 | Image Source: Flickr


Fomapan 200

The trusty workhorse. Fomapan 200 is a dependable film that is close enough to sharp whilst being close enough to fast. It holds deep blacks and contrasty whites incredibly well, whilst giving images a visible “filmic” grain that isn’t intrusive. Fomapan 200 also responds to double exposure beautifully.

fomapan films fomapan 200
Fomapan 200 | Image Source: Flickr
fomapan films fomapan 200 double exposure
Fomapan 100 | Double Exposure | Image Source: Blanco Negro


Fomapan 400

Fomapan 400 responds well to being pushed and pulled. Pull it back to 320 to keep some clarity and shoot a bit faster. Or push it to 640-800 to get an ultra grainy exaggerated film look. This film can sometimes cause debate on how well it scans, but it basically just comes down to personal preference. Either you love grain or you loathe grain, and that will determine whether this film is right for you. With a little bit of experimentation with different developers, this film can look amazing. Dare to experiment with Fomapan 400 and you’ll get some incredible results.

fomapan films fomapan 400
Fomapan 400 | Image Source: Flickr


Retropan 320

An ode to the old world, Retropan 320 is truly in a class of its own. This film is so “special” that it even has its own dedicated developer to maximise its full potential. What makes Retropan so different is that it doesn’t have an anti-halination layer. This means that the light exposing the film spreads, giving a beautiful, delicate halo effect if used correctly. Images will have a slightly brown tint that creates a lovely, whimsical glow. This film is not for the faint hearted and well worth sticking with over time. Don’t be too discouraged if your first rolls don’t turn out as planned, as experience will really make this film shine.

fomapan films retropan 320
Retropan 320 | Image Source: Flickr
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Price increase on most products effective 7th July 2017

Well it has been a few years since Blanco Negro has increased the cost on the Foma products.

Since some products are now deemed “Dangerous Goods” by the U.N. the increase in shipping has been +200%!!! Not only for the sea transport, but also upon arrival in Australia. So it is with a touch of sadness that costs over most products will increase between 10 – 20% from this Friday 7th July.

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Latest exhibition: Mike Ware’s Iron & Icons

Please join us for the opening night, Wednesday 28th June 2017

ABOUT THE PROCESSES: Since the first days of photography there have been alternatives to silver for print-making. In 1842 Sir John Herschel discovered that light-sensitive salts of iron could be used to make prints in the pigment Prussian blue (cyanotype), or the precious metals: gold (chrysotype), silver (argentotype), and mercury (celaenotype). In 1873 William Willis extended this list to platinotype and in 1917 to palladiotype. These iron-based printing methods are known collectively as siderotypes, from the Greek for iron: sideros. Fine paper is hand-coated with the chemicals and exposed to an ultra-violet lamp in contact with a large negative. Print colour may be chosen to suit the artist’s expressive intention for the image. These examples have been selected from various sets of Mike Ware’s work to illustrate the range and characteristics of his updated siderotype processes.

ABOUT DR. MIKE WARE: Following an academic career in chemistry, Mike has been independently committed since 1992 to studying the history, science, and art of ‘alternative’ photographic processes, especially siderotypes – those based on iron photochemistry. He has supervised postgraduate research in photograph conservation, and acts as a consultant to major museums. He exhibits his personal photographic work, and conducts workshops, worldwide. His research has appeared in over 50 publications in both the popular and academic literature, including four books.

I am very excited to be presenting this body of work and I have been lucky enough to learn a few of the above processes from Mike many years ago. Mike has always been a hero of mine, ever since I downloaded and printed of my first ever web page back in the 1990’s. It was a page detailing the Cyanotype process, totally free of charge and fully up to date with modern chemistry. It is this spirit of freely passing on knowledge, which Mike has continued to maintain, that historical processes will flourish into our modern era. I just wish Mike could join us for the opening night drinks, but alas it a long trip to make from the UK. I do believe he was fond of Australian Red wines…

Please RSVP as space in limited

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March / April Newsletter + Holiday News

Holiday dates – Exhibition news – New Shipment of FOMA
View this email in your browser

Hurray for holidays!!! March 30th – 7th April

Yes, its that time of the year when I’ll be hitting the trail and getting some Vitamin D. I’ll be away from the darkroom from Thursday 30th until Friday 7th April. Looking forward to having the Mamiya 7 around the neck and shooting off some films.

An upcoming exhibition printed here at Blanco Negro. A collection of hand crafted B&W prints from Hong Kong in 1997. I shall be updating closer to the launch
Blanco Negro is excited to announce our first exhibition of the year. This is strictly RSVP only as we are expecting a good turn out. A blend of colour and B&W hand made prints.
More information will be in our next newsletter with even more exhibitions to be announced. Head On is not far away so i’ll be giving you the skinny on works in traditional B&W materials.

BLANCO NEGRO @ GOLD STREET STUDIOS. Check out this link if you are in Victoria or the surrounds and are interested in expanding your darkroom experience. I am running a few workshops from May. Of course you still have your very own experience in my Sydney darkrooms anytime by arrangement.

New Delivery of FOMA materials is just 24 hours away! Keep an eye on the website for all the latest stock arrivals.

Last by not least: for sale
Linhof Super Technica 4×5  with Schneider-Kreuznach Super Angulon 1:8/90 lens
Drop me an email and I shall forward you on to seller

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Wendy Currie – Photographer / Printmaker

About the works: femininity-and-memory-why-chrysotype-1

Catalogue of titles, prices and images. femininity-memory

I recently asked Wendy a few questions about her upcoming exhibition at Blanco Negro (18th October 2018, 6pm – 8pm). Please read below to view the answers.


Q1 How long did this exhibition take to finish.

About one year.

Q2 What were the steps involved? From negative to print.

I make large negatives using Photoshop and print out onto Folex inkjet Reprojet clear film (bit like overhead transparency film). Chrysotype process is another contact printing process ie. the negative is the same size as the finished image.

Chrysotype was first invented by Sir John Herschel in 1850’s, and 150 years later Dr. Mike Ware, a British chemist, spent a decade researching and refining this process.

I use Bergger watercolour paper for all my images, as it’s acid free, and totally archival.

Chrysotype uses 3 chemicals – gold chloride, ferric ammonium oxalate and liguand which combines all the chemicals together. After mixing the chemicals, I use a glass rod to spread the chemicals across the paper and then leave it to dry. I use a hairdryer for 5 – 10 mins to thoroughly dry the paper. This is an essential part of the process.

I place the negative in contact with the sensitized paper and expose in a vacuum UV lightbox for just over a minute.

After removing the negative, the paper is held over a hot water bath. The paper immediately absorbs the water vapours which affects the resulting colours.

The image is then put into a tray of citric acid & water, followed by further chemical baths and finally washed for 40 mins to an hour. The resulting colours vary from mushroom pinks to slatey blues are determined by exposure, temperature of the water vapour, developer and the humidity and temperature in the room. A tricky but beautiful process.


Q3 Did you make these prints in a home darkroom or elsewhere?

I made the prints in a friends darkroom


Q4 How did you learn this process, self taught or from a tutor?

I was fortunate enough to attend Dr. Mike Ware’s Chrysotype workshop when he was out in Australia at Ellie Young’s Gold Street Studios at Trentham East. Also, did a refresher course a year or so later with Ellie.


Q5 Why did you choose this process for the exhibition?

I work with many alternative photographic processes, but I feel that the soft pinks and slatey blues of the Chrysotype process really portray the femininity of the objects in this exhibition.


Thank you Wendy for these insights. I am looking forward to seeing you at the opening

Chris reid



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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 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!