Greg Wayn
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Black and White (Darkroom) Work

Cameras used ....

Abstract, Exhibitions, Industrial and Landscape categories

 



4" x 5" Large Format

Toyo 4x5 Monorail, Nagaoka 4x5 Field Camera and Horseman 4x5 Field Camera
Lenses ...
Rodenstock Sironar 150 mm f 5.6 /  Rodenstock Sironar 210 mm f 5.6 /  Rodenstock Grandagon 90 mm f6.8

6 x 6 cm Medium Format

Mamiya C330 6x6 TLR / Mamiya-Sekor 80 mm f 2.8 / Mamiya-Sekor 55 mm f 4.5
Hasselblad 500 C/M 6x6 SLR / Carl Zeiss Planar 80 mm f 2.8

8" x 10" Large Format    

Nagaoka 8x10 Field Camera  /  Rodenstock Apo Ronar 480 mm  f9 /  Congo 300 mm

 

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Toyo 4x5G Monorail
Nagaoka 4x5 Field Camera
Horseman 4x5 Field Camera
Nagaoka 8x10 Field Camera

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Hasselblad 500 C/M 6x6 SLR

 

Mamiya C330 6x6 TLR

 

Minolta SRT 303b 35 mm SLR

 

 

 

 
Film Develpoment

Commercial film developers used included Agfa Rodinal for 35 mm film and also for medium format roll film (120 roll film) .
Some earlier experiments were made with Paterson FX-1 and the Geoffry Crawley Beutler formula.

All large format film was developed in a modified ABC Pyro formula and in later years the PMK* Pyro formula.
These were mixed from raw chemicals and great care needed to be taken when mixing and preparing solutions due to the toxic nature of Pyrogallol with particular attention given to the use of gloves, respirators and ventilation control (on other occasions, I had experimented with Pyrocatechin which was considered even more toxic than Pyrogallol, but nevetheless was capable of producing negatives of great tonal range and delicacy, and again, great care needed to be taken during preparation)

*Pyrogallol based developers provided superior shadow and highlight separations compared to commercial developers, but were notorius for uneven development problems and considerable skill was required to control them. Subsequent darkroom printing also required substantial dodging and burning processes to maintain image 'smoothness' and eveness. The development of the PMK formula by Gordon Hutchings in the early 1990's solved these problems and was essentially the 'Holy Grail' for Pyro users , being stable, providing even development and as a bonus was relatively simple to use in comparisen to all other Pyro formulas.

Pyro Link 1    |    Pyro Link 2    |    Pyro Link 3    |    Pyrocatechin Link    |    Agfa Rodinal Link    |   Paterson FX-1 Link    |    Beutler Link    |

 

Print Development (Darkroom Printing) ...         Often referred to as Silver Gelatin Prints in Gallery and Archival references

Photographic Papers                                          

|      Photographic Papers Link      |    Mixing Developers Link    |    Dr. Beers Contrast Control Developer    |

Any darkroom prints were made using graded silver gelatin papers (prior to the development of multigrade silver gelatin papers that first appeared in the early 1990's )
The majority of prints made were on Fibre Based (FB) Grade # 2 papers such as Ilford Gallerie Grade #2 and Agfa Record Rapid #2.
By the time Multigrade FB papers had reached a suitable level of refinement, I had moved to digital printing processes.

Photographic Print Developers

In the early stages of my darkroom practice, I used Kodak Dektol and Agfa Neutol Print Developers.
During the latter stages I began to mix my own formulas, concentrationg on the Dr. Beers system (using the Beers A, Metol only formula in the main).
I also used the D130 (Glycin) formula, which became my favourite developer. For a period of time, I also used the classic Amidol based developer that Ansel Adams used so effectively, but considering Amidol had to be imported from Germany at the time, a combination of expensiveness and short tray life (not to mention having to handle another toxic chemical) meant the move to the D130 Glycin formula was essential (Glycin based developers have remarkable tray life and development qualities that made it a superior choice).
Another approach was to use two stage development... beginning development in Dr. beers A (low contrast) and after 1 to 3 minutes , placing in a tray of Dr. Beers 7 (high contrast)... this gave a great deal of contrast control, delicate highlights combined with deep blacks and was the 'equivalent' of Multigrade paper before its introduction.

Favorite Print Developers and Dilutuions ...

Dr. Beers A / Diluted 1:1      (Metol only formula giving low contrast but still beautiful blacks)
D130 / Diluted 1:1                 (Glycin formula)

Dodging and Burning Process in the Darkroom

All images need some 'tonal re-mapping' to fully realise the content.
A combination of ' burning' (to add print density) and 'dodging' (to lighten print density) is needed to control the 'drawing' qualities in the image. Some of my most complex images have needed up to twenty or more separate processes (sometimes using masks) to create a refined print. Fortunately this was the case in only a small number of prints. Due to the potential for some un-eveness in the negative when using Pyro developers, however, dodging and burning processes were still the norm in the darkroom, and in particular, all prints from Pyro negs needed some edge burning as a matter of course.

In many cases, I made detailed diagrams and notes to help with any future printing. These would include notes on dodging and burning times, choice of print developer (plus additional notes on choice of restrainer and developer dilution) as well as notes on any bleaching and toning processes. It seems rather tedious looking back, but it was necessary once one got beyond using a basic paper and commercial developer system.

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Negative #90/51/1

 

Negative #91/6/3

 

Negative #92/2/4

 

Negative #90/49/3

 

Negative #90/52/3

 

Negative #90/46/2

 

Bleaching and Toning processes

Virtually all darkroom prints were modified with print bleaching processes (mostly using the traditional 'Farmers Reducer' formula) to delicately remove silver and lighten the highlight areas and allowing tonal control in the highlights. I used to think of this process as a method of refining the 'drawing' qualities of the image and for delicate tonal re-mapping across the image. (I now effectively use digital equivalents to this process in digital processing)

Likewise, all exhibition prints were toned in Selenium Toner. While selenium toner's main function is to enhance the archival qualities of photographic paper due to the addition of selenium complexes over the silver, it also adds density to the blacks, with only minimal change in print colour, producing a noticeably 'richer' print with a greater sense of 'dimension'. As such, it was always an important part of the fine print process.

The combination of print bleaching and selenium toing produced prints of extraordiny depth and 'dimensionality'... I often show students a darkroom print and a digitally printed equivalent as a comparison and it is clearly evident that the darkrrom print (despite its imperfections) is much more robust and 'dimensional' compared to the (perfect but 'flat' in comparison) digital print.
While I love digital processes and am stunned by the quality of contemporary digital pigment prints, and doubt I could ever go back to the darkroom, I have yet to fully replicate this spatial quality of a 'fine print' in the digital realm.

Other toners used included Tea Toning and very dilute (1:300) solutions of Kodak Polytoner to subtley warm the highlights. Tea toning (a very dilute solution of black tea) changes the white paper base to a subtle 'off white' or 'eggshell white' (the tannic acid in tea also acts as a preservative and therfore enhances the archival qualities of photographic paper).