Slowly but surely

Over the weekend we installed most of the solar gear and a bunch of darkroom equipment. Water will be arriving next week and by then I should have a few of the machines all set up and ready to print 🙂

So far so good. Getting use to the change over has been a little stressful, but print bookings are coming in and I’ve a bunch of film to process, so that will ease me back in the saddle.

Just the communication side of things will take a little longer to sort. Next step is Telstra installing the landline and then hooking up to the NBN Sky Muster when the solar is fully installed.

Slowly but surely I am getting there… And thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement.

Chris Reid



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A room with a view

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.

Cheers, Chris

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An in between darkroom…

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….

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Spring time Changes for Blanco Negro

Where to begin…

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.

The Details:

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.



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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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NOW showing at Blanco Negro: CAPRICE-JE NE SAIS QUOI


Blanco Negro is proud to announce our latest exhibition. A fusion between Emmanuel Angelicas & Caprice Hunter.

On display is a collection of Silver Gelatin and Colour photographs. The exhibition will be running from May 1st until the end of the month. Opening night is invitation only, so please RSVP for launch time.



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March / April Newsletter + Holiday News

Holiday dates – Exhibition news – New Shipment of FOMA
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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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Photographic Alchemy. Not to be missed!


What an exhibition! I must say this this was one the finest examples of photographic printmaking I seen in many, many years. There is a diverse range of techniques on display, from Salt prints to Gravure, Platinum to Cyanotype, each process crafted with care and precision.

This exhibition is not to be missed.

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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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