Your first real printing moment

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by mooseontheloose, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    So I've taken a couple of darkroom classes at a local college in Toronto (Ryerson anyone?), and am now taking another class at the local community centre here in France, for which I am too advanced (!) but lets me get a lot of darkroom time for little money. I don't consider myself a beginner, but having printed hundreds of prints from a variety of negatives in that time, I never really felt that any of them were worth much (no wow factor) until today.

    I've been reading a couple of darkroom books (à la Tim Rudman) recently and decided to put f-stop timing into practice while working on some pictures of my nephew. What a revelation! I have never been so successful on a print with what I wanted to achieve and the final result. A two-stop burn in that corner, a half-stop burn on the clothing, etc. -- everything came out exactly as I wanted and I now have a print, while probably only of interest to my immediate family, that I would be proud to show anyone in the APUG community. The predictability of the results is inspirational, and I am counting every moment until I can get back into the darkroom to try it some more. I only wish I has learned of this technique earlier -- it would have saved me so many frustrating hours in the darkroom (not to mention several boxes of paper) of trying to achieve something that I didn't quite know how to predict.

    So I was just wondering about the rest of you out there -- when (and with what technique or paper or process or whatever) did you have your first (or latest) moment of inspiration in the darkroom? The thing that made the made lightbulb go off over your head (not the safelight ;-) ), your 'a-ha!' moment? How long did it take to occur after you first started printing in a darkroom?
     
  2. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I remember, back in the late 1960's, I was working for a local advertising agency, as a photographers assistant and darkroom guy, and I was using their darkroom in the evening to print my own stuff. This was a very primitive darkroom in the basement of the old building the agency was located in, and there was a barbershop in the front of the basement. One had to enter the space near the darkroom in a side alley down a short flight of steps to a locked door. Well, anyway I was making some 16x20 prints from some of my 35mm negatives on the Omega C22, and I was using some old Ansco paper, and I was developing the prints in some Selectol-soft developer, which took forever. I remember I turned a print face down in the developer and went to smoke a cigarette. About 20 minutes later I came back, flipped the print over and wow..the tones were just so beautiful. This really got me fired up about making fine prints. I spent many evenings making my own prints in this primitive space.