I am not overstating the benifits of Pyro, my history in film and printing proves to me that there is great benifit for the proper situation.
Maybe you haven't seen the difference , not sure how much work you have done testing both types of developers with strong lighting as Thomas suggest.
give it a go , you can see for yourself the improvement.

I too have seen John Sexton's prints in person, so how does this come into play?
or even explain why many workers use Pyro for holding highlight detail in strong lighting conditions.
I believe Steve uses Pyrocat Semi Stand, also I have seen his prints live and they are great.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
I think the blown-out highlight issue is usually overstated. I have seen many prints made with tanned negatives, and have never noticed the highlight detail and gradation to be more impressive than with a well controlled non-staining developer. For anyone interested in some examples of what can be achieved even with a standard PQ developer, I strongly suggest looking at John Sexton's powerplant and Hoover Dam pictures from his Places of Power project. Many of the negatives were made under extreme contrast conditions, with ho hum TMAX RS developer, more dilute than usual and with reduced agitation, and I have never seen a longer tonal scale, nor better highlight detail and gradation than in those prints.

Stand development techniques, including those with tanning developers are not just for highlight control. In fact there is often less compensation than one might expect. It does however produce a unique tonal scale and more pronounced edge effects, all depending on the film-developer combo. I think Steve Sherman uses stand development quite a bit with ULF. Can't remember if he uses Pyrocat or a Pyro developer.