It seems the folk at Foma have listened to the people and have begun production of the Retropan 320 Soft in 120 (Medium) format.
Dear Sir or Madame,
We are glad to inform you that we have launched a new product- RETROPAN 320 as 120 film.
RETROPAN 320 soft is a panchromatically sensitized special negative black and white film with fine grain, good resolution and contour sharpness. The film is characterized by a wide range of half tones and soft light which makes it suitable for photography and subsequent contact printing or “retro” style enlarging of negatives (photographs of still lives, architecture, experiments, landscapes, portraits, etc.).
Please note that the new RETROPAN 320 120 has TAC base 0,125 mm unlike our other 120 films.
I will placing an order tomorrow with Foma to import this new stock and will you informed of arrival.
Well living in the sticks sure gives one time for playing in the darkroom. With very little to distract, all focus is directed in the printing or processing of images. I cannot believe how much time is saved without the interruptions of phone calls and emails. My current routine, as my solar set up is still unreliable, is to drive the 7 minutes to the top of my hill and check my communications via an iPad. This is extremely time efficient!
It has been about 3 months now since I have relocated the darkroom and it is reassuring that the online sales continue to tick over.
I am contacting Foma to order fresh films for Christmas as well as looking into the possibility of manufacturing GRADED printing paper, as their FomaluxSP 111, an AZO type paper, is no longer being produced due to lack of demand. Surprisingly though I have had a number of enquiries regarding this very special paper stock…
I shall be running lessons in the new year with students having the options to stay overnight in the studio.
It really is pretty special watching the sun set over the valley and waking to the sound of bird call. Although the 5.30am start takes a little getting use too! Anyone interested can contact me in the usual way.
And lastly, for all my Victorian customer, Michaels Camera Store in Melbourne are interested in stocking the FOMA range. I shall keep you’all posted on progress…
Well it has been just over 6 weeks now since I have started working form the bush and I must say you can get sooo much more work finished in a much shorter time. Being off line also helps a hell of a lot. I travel 7 minutes to the top of my hill to get reception and within 30 minutes the days telecommunications is over and done with. Then it is back to the darkroom for a bit more fun.
This week I had my first guests travel the hour and forty minutes from Sydney to use the darkroom. First up was Simon Kennedy working on his solarization creations, flashing the film and the prints. I first taught Simon about 18 months ago and I am very much looking forward to seeing his hand made prints upon a wall. Next up was Stephen Dupont. I’d just finished processing 150+ rolls from his ongoing project and Steve came up to save some $$$ by making his own contact sheets. Both fellas said the accommodation in the studio was comfy and the BBQ not too bad…
Steve checks out his contact prints
Simon after printing until 2am
In some other news… Please note that REWIND PHOTO LAB now stocks a range of Foma materials for all you Sydney-siders…
I shall be away from the 9th – 14th November working at Gold Street Studios (again!). I will not be able to process any online orders at this time… I am at Gold St. be the lab rat for The Large Format Gathering, where I’ll be processing for about 6 hours straight for up to 25+ photographer all shooting between 5/4″ – 16/20″ sheet films. This is an yearly event in it’s 11th year. Goodness knows how many sheets I’ve processed since then… More info HERE
Exhibition news… Short, yet sweet: “Fragile Bounty”. Collodion tintype photographs by Phillip England at Nolan Gallery, HOBART.
From Nov 10-Dec 6.
You are very welcome to join me at the opening of my upcoming exhibition, Fragile Bounty, at 6pm, Friday November 10 at Nolan Gallery, 77 Salamanca Place, Hobart.
Fragile Bounty is inspired by the uniqueness, fragility and beauty of the Earth’s precious bounty. The works are made using one of the earliest photographic processes, collodion tintype: handmade, one-of-a-kind, image objects. Showing until December 6.”
Darkroom gear for sale from Paul P.
“I have an LPL 7700 6×7 enlarger and some darkroom accessories for which I have no further need and would like to find a good home for.
Would you be interested in them or know of someone who might be?”
More stuff for sale:
From Barry P. “Darkroom equipment attached, as discussed.”
Anyone interested in the darkroom gear, please contact me directly and I will pass on the enquiry.
And that’s about it until my return from Gold Street Studios.
So finally after several weeks of cleaning and repairing the machines I have managed to get my hands wet. As usual when I have any sort of absence from the darkroom, I had the fear of “what if I have forgotten what to do!”, but thankfully this was not the case.
I have been working on several exhibition jobs over the last couple of weeks and to have so much space (approx. 55 sqm) has been such a luxury compared to the cramped conditions I had in my previous location. Although the darkroom is still a work in progress I really do feel I am getting there. I still have had a few off grid issues like the solar power, seems I have a faulty battery, so I gotta print while the sun shines. And the little genie I have had for years has finally seen some service.
Between the 19th – 24th of this month I shall be teaching down at Gold Street Studios, so there will be no online sales for a few days. I am looking forward to the drive, it is always so inspiring hanging out with Ellie & Alan.
In some other news… The last exhibition I printed in Alexandria was for Ashleigh Garwood. The prints I made were via the De vere digital machine, a digital to analogue enlarger and the only commercial machine in the country. It really is an excellent piece of kit. For more info please hit this link
The first exhibition off the rack at the new darkroom was for Chris Byrnes. Most of these images were also printed via digital enlarger. “Circles of Light” is the title of the exhibition by Chris for the award of Master of Fine Art (Photography) at the National Art School Sydney. Opens 2 November 6-10pm at the National Art School NAS Gallery on the Darlinghurst campus. Then Runs and is open to the public 3-12 November 11 to 5pm. I made the photo of Chris small as she is a little shy 🙂
Well that is about it from me. I shall leave you all with a photo from the blank studio which I hope to jam pack with photographs and my printing press and UV exposure box. All I need is a little time to play…
All powered up and ready to play. Well almost… Lights are on, though power points are yet to be completed, so just a little longer till play time.
The water was delivered and plumbed in and I had my first shower ever in the bush. Add drool comment about here! Ahh bliss and every drop will be recycled into the garden.
One sink is plumbed and Mr Undy’s donated sink is next up. Six and half meters of wet area with plenty of room for the processing of FB murals. The next machine to get a make over is the Durst 10″x10″ horizontal enlarger to create said murals. I’ve had the big boss in storage for well over eight years and when I turned it on last week it fired up, first go. Unfortunately that was all is did! However a friend has promised to try to help me, thank you Sam.
So by next week I am planning to start my first prints and run some test processing. And there will be peace once again in my life. Although the shop is no longer open in Sydney, I have received my first order from Rewind photo lab in Glebe. They’ll be stocking some Foma materials really soon, though photographers will still be able to order through Blanco Negro’s website as usual of course. I’ll be continuing to import Foma materials as long as they make em’. And long may they rein.
In some other news, it’s not all about ME! A new photographic exhibition is opening soon in Sydney by Sam Stephenson and Harry Culy. Click here
Sam made his prints at my old Sydney darkroom over a few sessions and this promises to be interesting event, well done Sam.
Another show opening later this coming week is “Journey 1984 – 2017” by Sydney photographer /printmaker Gordon Undy. Click here for more info.
And lastly is one more exhibition of hand crafted B&W prints (Foma paper ) by Stephen Hartup. “Tolwong Road – a story of a fire” is still showing at Gallery X in Bungendore. Last days this week.
Click here for a link to the blog review by the ever industrious and film lover Sean Davey. Keep up the great work mate.
And thats about it from me, for now. Another HUGE thank you to everyone offering me support and patience while I am in the state of transition.
The new darkroom is almost complete, just the wiring and install to go. Next to the door will be in the light trap and the digital enlarger and against the window wall will live the 3.5 m and the 3.0 m sinks. I’ll be covering the window externally with red perspex so I can still have a view of the great Australian bush… Getting pretty excited to be printing in the last darkroom I’ll ever need to build.
Well I may be in between darkrooms at the moment, but old friend Tom Williams from the University of Wollongong offered me their darkroom to process a bunch (150+ rolls!) of film for their students. I was a little anxious to be honest as I hadn’t dev a film for 10 days, but it all came back to me… Yesterday’s efforts seen me dev 64 rolls and today I’m looking at 80+ rolls. Thankfully my son who is studying teaching there has the day off lessons and will be helping me out with the cutting and sleeving. It’s going to be a nice day in the dark….
Slowly but surely Blanco Negro has seen a huge shift in the trends of film photography and in particular, the impact on a small custom darkroom. With a 30%+ rent increase and decline of my services, it has taken me 2 years to come to terms that a shopfront in Alexandria is no longer viable. Change has been forced upon me.
So after much consideration and consultation I committed to the closure of the store, but not to Blanco Negro as an entity. Change is good they say. But it is only as good as you can make it.
An Outline of the Changes:
Shop in Alexandria is now CLOSED.
Only online Foma sales will available with postage on Tuesday & Thursday.
From October, REWIND photo lab in Glebe, Sydney, will now be stocking a range of Foma products.
A new community darkroom will be in operation also in October at MAKERSPACE, in Marrickville
Meetings by appointment. I shall be Sydney every week to discuss any darkroom projects photographers may have. Contact me via email or call the mobile 0412025956.
Darkroom printing and film processing is now made from a new location.
Drop of demand in darkroom services has given me more time to consider what I really want, which is print my own images. The new darkroom will be kind of remote, in the bush and off grid. Fully set up with 6 enlargers, printing press and UV exposure boxes for historical printing processes. My dream.
In regards to commercial work, I plan to be at MAKERSPACE in Marrickville at least 2 days per week for face to face meetings. There will also be a drop box to leave films or negatives, as well as my Alexandria PO Box for postal deliveries.
I shall be teaching darkroom lessons at Makerspace for one to one workshops as well as group demonstrations.
Lessons will now be available at your personal darkroom at home or if willing to travel out of Sydney, at my rural darkroom in the lower Hunter Valley. A benefit of not having a shopfront.
REWIND photo lab in Glebe are a great bunch of people who will soon be stocking a load of Foma products. We intend this will happen in early October.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.