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SURREY, United Kingdom
Amateur and still learning!

Friday, 24 September 2010


Without re-opening a can of worms that has been discussed ad infinitum on all sorts of forums, I’ve finally made my mind up that silver printing is superior to digital printing.
I’ve hovered over this question ever since rejoining the photographic fraternity some three years ago and not having the wherewithal to set up a darkroom, I’ve always said, without too much conviction, that there is little to choose between either method.

For some it is enough to produce a digital image which can be viewed on a screen and there are those that find sending their work out to a print house suffices. For me, making your own print is the final link in the chain of producing a picture, and that includes mounting and cutting the matte.

What finally convinced me was the pleasure of seeing a presentation by Andrew Sanderson, see http://www.andrewsanderson.com/ where he gobsmacked the audience with a host of B+W images from his considerable portfolio, each one a prime example of quality and darkroom technique second to none.

It’s difficult to put one’s finger on the difference between the two methods, but his darkroom prints have a certain glow and resonance with a tonality that is not present in digital prints however well produced, I suppose I must add, not that I’ve seen to date.

Ah well, with no prospect of a darkroom magically appearing somewhere in the house I’ll have to blunder on with digital.


Andrea said...

You don't have to "blunder along" anymore! There is a new technology (developed in GB I believe), that allows you to upload your digital file over the internet to a lab and they will print a REAL black and white silver prints on good old Ilford Galerie paper. Yes, directly from computer to fiber base silver gelatin photograph.

The technology uses a 3 color laser as an enlarger, then the print is processed in standard b&w chemistry. I send my images to a lab hear in the US, www.digitalsilverimaging.com. I've talked with the owner and he is a former Ilford man. He told me there is another lab like his in Britain. I don't know the name but I think google could help you out.

The prints are unbelievable, better than those I printed myself.

Alan Abercrombie said...

Thanks for your comment Andrea. I will cerainly seek out the facility here in the U.K. and look at what they have to offer, but it won't be my print if I haven't made it!