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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@blanconegro.com.au 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.

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Final print!

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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

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.

sharpies_melbourne_1973_Rennie_Ellis
© 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.

LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHERS:

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

Southern-Exposure

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In the darkroom with Sean O’ Connell

oconnell_sean_ripple torus discharge_small

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

Artist statement

Forms of Energy builds upon the research undertaken during my doctoral degree at Sydney College of the Arts, 2012-2016. This work explores the tendency of knowledge and perception to favour edges and surfaces, and proposes that alternate modes of perception allow us to access hidden qualities of materials and forms, and reveal deeper relations and connections to the surrounding environment.

3_anthracitespark_seanoconnell

Using camera-less direct film techniques, high voltage electrophotonic imaging, reflected laser vibrational imaging, slow-motion 16mm moving film, paired mirror stereoscope images, and planar light cross-sectional photographs, this exhibition documents three simple physical experiments looking at the nature of material and form. These three experiments are the slow-motion filming of hollow metal boxes colliding in mid air, the tracking of smoke vortices in space through traditional and experimental techniques, and the imaging of spark discharges from the surfaces of sculpted forms direct onto film and through stereoscopic macro pairs. Through presenting these experiments in multiple forms of documentation, a range of visual qualities and impressions are built up of each event, favouring not just the usual traditional image of reflected light, but also experimental forms of documentation that reveal hidden flows of force and the internal structure of materials.

2_trigonalseedspark_seanoconnell

This body of work is part of a larger study that questions the nature of thought and vision to create simple world views built primarily through the surface of things.  The traditional role of photography, of capturing light reflected off the surface of objects and people, is challenged through this work. This is done so as to present alternatives and rich field of possibility, rather than to supplant any dominant ideology with a new paradigm. The ability of photography to present multiple perspectives is championed and extended, across a broad range of processes.

The Process

Firstly I had to covert Sean’s negatives into positives by making contact positives (a negative in contact with another sheet of film, thus creating a positive). I used graphic arts film for this process also know as “Line film”. This gave us the most contrast which was needed for Sean’s prints.

Once Sean had signed off on the positives we started the printing process. All the negatives were 10”/8” and all on Fomapan 200 I believe. We made the 30”/42” prints on the FB neutral tone matte surface (112) which complimented the high contrast images. Glossy would have been over the top with an extenuated contrast range.

With Sean in the darkroom with me for guidance (and he also gets to experience the process for more appreciation of the work required) we began the printing. After cutting the roll paper to size, I placed it onto an extended baseboard and held in place with magnets attached to metal set squares.

Prints were exposed between grades 3 – 4 for maximum tonality through the mid-tones. The paper was then processed in the following sequence:

#1 Developed in Fomatol P at 1:1 (5 litres) for 5 minutes. The prints are rolled through the chemistry in troughs. Fresh developer is used for each new image, approx. every 4 -5 pieces of paper.
#2  A brief wash in the water (helps remove the bulk of the developer), then the prints are rolled through the stop bath for 2 minutes. If I do not give a brief pre-wash, then the stop bath becomes exhausted very quickly.
#3 Fixed in Fomafix Liquid at 1:4 for 2 minutes.
#4 Brief wash for 3 minutes.
#5 Placed in a holding tank for about 1 hour before being laid flat onto cotton towels to dry

After viewing the prints Sean chose two from each image as finals. These prints then received the following process:

#6 Print are Hypo Cleared for 5 minutes.
#7 Wash number 1 for 5 minutes.
#8 Selenium toned to completion for about 6 – 8 minutes at 1:5 (strong).
#9 Prints receive another wash for 5 minutes.
#10 Then into the Hypo Clearing Bath for 5 minutes.
#11 Into the final wash for 60 minutes with intermitted agitation.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Check out Sean’s work at the exhibition below:

PAUL GREEDY, SEAN O’CONNELL + BEN DENHAM – Threshold

The works in this show tease out energetic transitions that emerge from material and process. Using purpose-built machines and the fine tuning of physical and chemical interactions these works make visible and audible the flow of energy across boundaries. Sound, space, electricity, photosensitive materials, lasers and machine movement are used in a play of possibilities that reveal resonant patterns and lines of force. These materials speak and interact to produce emergent order and prime forms. This work is not so much aimed at achieving an ideal image or form but is rather the product of working through an iterative process of technical permutations that shows thought operating with and through materials.

OPENING FRIDAY JULY 29TH, 6PM TILL LATE, continues until August 14th.

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Blanco Negro Recommends: Exhibitions

We work with some amazing artists and professionals at Blanco Negro and we want to make sure you get to see their work! There are also some great photographic exhibitions coming up this year that every kind of photographer needs to visit. Check them out below:

Constant Negative by Kenzee Patterson | Darren Knight Gallery NSW| 18 June – 16 July

Constant-Negative-invite_1000
Kenzee Patterson

Kenzee Patterson works with a variety of media and technologies to make his sculptures and prints. Sometimes using found objects to creating something completely new, such as the cast silver sculpture (pictured above) made from reclaimed photographic fix. A Constant Negative is a mix of installation, photographic print and video, creating a space that is intriguing and abstract, questioning our perception of colour and space.

The Colour Carbon by Ellie Young | Gold Street Studios VIC| 18 May – 10 July

Ellie-Young-Carbon-Copy
Ellie Young

These intimate portraits of creatures of the natural world invite the viewer to see what is often unobserved. Delicate, fragile, caught in a fleeting moment of Ellie’s shutter, they achieve immortality in the permanence of the colour carbon photograph. Ellie chose this process for the surface relief making the wing structures appear sculptural.

Arcana by Anne LynamBarometer Gallery NSW| 27 July – 7 August

Anne-Lynam_Fringe
Anne Lynam

Originally from Dublin and now based in Sydney, Anne Lynam’s gritty, B&W photographs appear to come from a different time, like a film noir movie still – completely set up and strangley perfect. Lynam takes this idea further – her work in Arcana is dreamlike, a dusty memory that plays with what is real and what is shadow.

The Ebb and Flow of Encaustic by Various | Gold Street Studios VIC | 7 Sept – 30 Oct

Curated by Dianne Longley, each artist explores the zen nature of encaustic. The photographs have warm and softened beeswax (with damar resin) worked across the surface to create a beautiful translucence. The encaustic surface creates a compelling and mysterious aura through which the individual works resonate. Featuring Ollie Cool, Michelle Culprit, Jenny Hoffman, Aileen Hubbard, Dianne Longley, Christine Owen, Annette Potter Anne Richardson and Annette Soumilas.

Ollie Cool
Ollie Cool

American Portraits by Dianne Arbus ACT| National Art Gallery of Australia | 3 June – 30 October

Arbus is known for her iconic postwar America portraits and the NGA will be showing 36 rare vintage prints bought in 1980 and 1981 from her estate. The prints are shown alongside photographs by other artists who also sought to redefine the tradition of portraiture, and whose vision of America is also both challenging and moving.

Tough & Tender by Various | National Portrait Gallery ACT | 15 July – 16 October

If you make it to ACT you should definitely catch Tough & Tender while your at it. Featuring the Photographs of Warwick Baker, Larry Clark, Rozalind Drummond, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe and Collier Schorr, the exhibition presents the complex representations of gender, masculinity and identity.

White Sheet by Stephen Dupont | Stills Gallery NSW | 9 November – 10 December

Stephen Dupont White Sheet
Stephen Dupont

Stephen Dupont’s Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars 1993 – 2012 is available in store including a special collectors edition and original version signed by the artist. Check it out here.

The award-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker is currently working on his next exhibition titled White Sheet. Definitely one to keep in your diary. More info to come.

Dupont won both the Australian Photobook of the Year Award and the POYI Best Photography Book Award  for the powerful body of work.

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My First School Fundraiser

Our good friend and photographer, Andrea Francolini, will be heading to Northern Pakistan in October to continue his amazing work in helping to build much needed schools for the dedicated children. The program is immortalised in the images he captures in his My First School photo journal series.

TRAVEL - Pakistan - 06-25/09/2013 ph. Andrea Francolini Bright Moon Model School, Bardass (Gilgit-Baltistan)

Please join him in a dinner to raise some much-needed funds. He will be using this chance to get a personal update on what has been achieved in the past 12-13 months since his last trip, along with the new goals Andrea and his team have set for 2016 and beyond.

It is an intimate gathering for 30 guests only – on a ‘first come first served’ basis. The tickets for this seated dinner will be AU$150 per head and the profit will go directly to the My First School Trust. Chef Justin North and Robert Oatley Vineyards have tailored a menu and matching wines for this event.

TRAVEL - Pakistan, September 2012 - Ali Model School in Iskandarabad, norther Pakistan Gilgit-Baltistan area ph. Andrea Francolini

During the evening, there will be a small silent auction and copies of the My First School photographic book Vol 3 will be available to purchase for $85 each. Bookings will be confirmed only once the purchase of the ticket has been made, and no payments will be accepted on the evening as he will need to guarantee that all 30 seats will be sold in order to raise money for the kids of Northern Pakistan.

The Centennial Hotel
88 Oxford Street, Woollahra NSW
28 July 2016, 7.00pm
$150pp (Please list any dietary requirements when you place your booking.)

The purchase of the tickets or any donations will have to be directly paid by

PayPal : donations@my-first-school.org

or via bank transfer

NAB – My First School
BSB 082 140 – Account 118381953
Swift NATAAU3302S (to be used for international donations only)

Please remember to quote your name when transferring the money, and the correct amount of people attending the dinner with you. Don’t wait until the last minute as seats will fill up fast!

To see how many seats are still available check on his FaceBook page.

TRAVEL - Pakistan - 06-25/09/2013 ph. Andrea Francolini Bright Moon Model School, Bardass (Gilgit-Baltistan)

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Video: Darkroom Confidential with Alex Jennings

Earlier this year, we spoke to Alex Jennings – collage artist and portrait photographer – on his experience in darkroom printing and film photography.

Very special thanks to Jacques and Vicky of Sharkbite Photography for capturing the event and Q Studios for hosting us.

Darkroom Confidential is a series of interviews with various photographers/printmakers who have a passion for the darkroom. It is a space for specialists to reveal their techniques and share some interesting stories on their practice and work. Our inaugural interviewee Alex Jennings uses traditional techniques to process his work and transforms them using mixed media to produce a stunning collage of colour and drama. 
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Interview: Ellie Young on the alternative craft

Ellie-Young-Carbon-Copy
The Carbon Copy ©Ellie Young

Photography can be a social activity, whether it be capturing a family portrait or a landscape that can be shared; a still memory that somehow reanimates whenever you look at it. Today, we can take billions of pictures with our smartphones and share it in an instant. The photograph becomes a piece of data, easily deleted as it is forgettable.

One thing we can’t forget is the history of the photographic process spanning over 150 years. In attempting to preserve a moment and make it commercially available, the work of pioneers such as Louis Daguerre, James Ambrose, and Adolphe-Alexandre Martin lead to the development of Daguerrotype, Ambrotype and Tintype. Each process aimed to make photography easily accessible to people, with stunning results – heirlooms that can still be viewed in museums and homes.

There are many photographers who are keeping these alternative processes alive, and it’s not just a matter of ‘doing’ but a way of preserving the technical process. Many artists are using this technical process to create unique pieces of work and continuing the legacy of fine art photography.

One such individual is Ellie Young, instigator in this movement and founder of Gold Street Studios in Victoria. The studio has been the centre of alternative photographic print processes in Australia and New Zealand since 1999, providing workshops and resources to artists by teaching the proper techniques for these 19th Century processes.

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Bike ©Ellie Young

Working in the darkroom can be a lonely experience as printer/photographers play both artist and scientist – controlling and limiting outside factors while encouraging creativity. Ellie has created a space where artists can flourish and get some advice from masters and other photographers.

We’re very lucky to have Ellie teach some exclusive classes in Ambrotype and Tintype processes this June at Blanco Negro. We caught up with Ellie to learn more about her experience.

Every photographer has a story of what/who motivated them to pick up the camera. For Ellie it’s genetic – “It has always been part of my life – as a child my father was always with a camera documenting us as children – processing and printing in the pantry while I sat and watched.”

You’d think that with so many years of experience she would be satisfied with her technical knowledge. But what lies beneath is a true artist. When asked what drives hers, she answers with a question: “Can I make the photograph better, or different and better?” This has become the mantra in all her work. When asked which work is she most proud of she replies with a “Hmmm”. An artist is never sated.

Teapot058
Ambrotype Teapot ©Ellie Young

Drawing from greats such as Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, and Frank Eugene, this is the kind of aesthetic Ellie strives to maintain through her own work. But it’s not all black and white to Ellie when it comes down to contemporary creation. It is important to do the processes correctly but it’s also important to use the resources we have today – “A constant change with the marriage of digital and analogue has helped in creativity… The inkjet negative has opened the world to embracing the hand craft of the photographic print – there are no barriers – you can shoot digital analogue – even on your iPhone and create a photograph that is made by your hand”.

In returning to traditional techniques, Ellie doesn’t have one favourite – she says, “[It] depends on the day – four colour carbon – salt printing, Copper plate photogravure, four colour Gum bichromate – all have a special look and feel”. And yet, when it comes to choosing a camera, the Sinar 8×10 is a sure winner. It’s also no surprise that salt printing is one of her favourites, Ellie researched and wrote a whole book about it – “The Salt Print Manual”.

In 2000, she received the National Gallery of Victoria Trustee Award for her work in Gum Bichromate printing and her pieces are exhibited around the world. Teaching has been an important factor in her career. Gold Street Studios started with a few classes and now offer over forty different workshops in photographic process with some of the best professionals in the industry.

So why are historical processes such as Tintype and Ambrotype important? Ellie explains, “wet plate has a unique look due to the response to UV and blue light. It is extremely fine grain with an ISO around 1 or less. Light – and the unique way the light process responds – it is a total craft. The fact that large format cameras are used is great. It introduces people back to the basics of photography – instilling some foundations that are a great aid in other aspects of photography”.

ellie

After working with international artists such as Jerry Spagnoli, Elizabeth Opalenik, and Mike Ware, Ellie insists that all the people she has taught have been interesting – “when you teach – you also learn”.

Ellie is among a very special kind of creative – a teacher, innovator and historian. She teaches us to slow down and appreciate our rich photographic history, the science, and how we can combine all this with some exciting developments in technology. A true artist will never be sated or satisfied with their work. But you can come close if we choose to learn and teach others.

Please joins us for special classes in Ambrotype and Tintype with Ellie Young at Blanco Negro. It is a privilege to have a master of this calibre in Sydney. Limited spaces available. For more information, head here.

Ellie Young is working on her current exhibition. For more info on Gold Street Studios head to the website.

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Dawne Fahey’s 1953 exhibition opening speech

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 4.10.33 PMLIGHT CHEMISTRY & MAGIC 4/5/16
By Chris Reid

Three words sum up the creation of the images before us. Unlike conventional B&W photographs, these prints required no camera, no film or data card.

When making Chemigrams, there outcome is largely an unknown and a little bit of a mystery. Traditional Photographic printmakers though generally work with certainties. We understand a cause and effect and possess the knowledge and experience to create our desired results. My motto is “reduce the variables”. So it takes a great deal of time and practice to create these works of beauty while dealing with unknown factors.

Due to this uniqueness, it can become a case of knowing when to stop. If you take the process one step too far, then you can enter the abyss and the print you have been working on for days, is gone.

When LIGHT is transmitted onto silver gelatine, B&W paper, one can expect at least 50 shades of grey, some black and some white, yet on the walls before us we see anything but a B&W print. I find this a wonderful abnormality and it colourises my monochrome view of black and white printing. It kind if makes me want to get out of the darkroom a little more often.

Chemistry is an essential tool for photographic printmakers , yet here, it is used in an unconventional manner. The interplay of Developer and Fixer transforms and contorts the image as opposed to converting the silver salts to a metallic silver, and then removing the remaining soluble silver salts to make a stable, permanent image. Each time the chemical process is incorporated, something new is created, the image evolves before our eyes once again. But this chemical reaction is an unknown. How exciting and liberating this must feel – to just take the plunge.
Dawne Fahey
Magic can be found anywhere – it is right in front of us! Light plus chemistry can equal magic. It takes a deft touch, time and experience to encapsulate it unto paper. These prints have been hand made, using no computers, no photoshop and not even electricity if so desired. Yet just because a print is hand made does not mean it should hang on a wall, they still need to be exceptional.

These prints can never, ever be replicated. They will age, they may change, but they they will always be a thing of beauty. If any of these prints cause a reaction within you, that is the magic I am talking about. And you can buy this feeling, take it home and hang it upon a wall. That is pretty special, isn’t it?

When we live in a world of data, pixels, ones and zeros, wouldn’t it be a joy sometimes, to just look at a pretty picture, crafted by hand and created by a Light, chemistry and a little bit of magic. I think it is just wonderful…

Dawne Fahey’s 1953 is exhibiting at ESD Gallery at 102 Burton Street Darlinghurst, 19 Apr – 16 May. For more info head to the website.

 

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What’s happening at Gold Street Studios (VIC)

Here are some upcoming exhibitions from our friends over at Gold Street Studios in Victoria.

Teabags021Elemental by Geoffrey O’Donnell
April 6th to May 15th 2016

Carbon – the eternal element.

“An exhibition in carbon transfer, presenting the eternal element of carbon against the fleeting nature of our own carbon-based forms.”

The focus on beautiful subjects emerges from the artist’s view that engaging with discord and darkness is an “easier option”, this has saturated the world of photography with an ever increasing intent to disturb.

Find out more here.

 

The Colour Carbon by Ellie Young
greenbug 18th May to 10th July 2016

The Colour Carbon opening event is on the 22nd May 2pm to 5 pm. Offical opening speech at 2.30 pm by Adjunct Professor Gale Spring.

Carbon photographs were the preferred process of the top echelon of commercial photographers in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Commercial printing houses of this time showed that carbon photographs were up to three times more expensive than even platinum.

The relief accentuates sharpness giving a three-dimensional quality. The archival quality makes it the most stable of all photographic processes. Read more…