The Perfect Paper



I’ve been printing a lot in gelatin-silver lately, both for myself and for clients. For my work I’ve found I’m moving away from the pure matte paper I used to love, Ilford Multigrade Matte, and more towards semi-matte or glossy papers. In an ideal world I’d like a paper surface that looked like the glossy unglazed prints we made in the 1970s and 1980s.


For a lot of prints I’ve settled on Adox MCC 110. A wonderful paper, much like the old Agfa Multicontrast Classic that dries with a gloss finish but not overly glossy or shiny. When processed in Ethol LPD the colour can be tweaked from cool to warmish too. I just wish it dried with a finish akin to that of the old Record Rapid.


Its sibling, Adox MCC 112, is a paper with a semi-matte surface that I thought I would really like when I read about it, but the blacks aren’t anywhere near as deep as I’d expect, even from a semi matte paper. And the surface I find a little strange. I won’t give up on it yet (I have the best part of a box left) but I am a little disappointed with it.




Then there’s Fomatone MG with its chamois surface. I love this paper. The surface is amazing and perfect for a lot of my work but the paper base is very warm, so it’s not for everyone. I’ll likely dry mount the prints, trimmed to the edge of the image, onto 2-ply museum board using the archival and reversible dry mount tissue Fusion 4000 (above).


If I could buy a paper with Adox MCC 110’s neutral image colour and this chamois surface it would be everything I’d want from a paper.

Printing Services

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New Mexico Museum of Art — Focus on Photography

After a couple of recent conversations I’ve come to realise that some people see me as a printer, but not one who prints for other photographers, whereas others do know me as a commercial printer but not as a photographer.

So I’ve set up a website,, to separate the commercial photo lab/printing services I offer other photographers from my personal photography. On this new website you’ll find prices, information about the processes I work with and other fun stuff that’s hopefully relevant — from film processing to platinum prints.

Two Books

Two books that recently arrived — Celebrating the Negative by John Loengard and Developer Trays by John Cyr.

Celebrating the Negative was first published in 1994 after Loengard had tracked down and photographed the negatives of some of the most famous images in photography, all held in the hands of either the photographer, printer or curator. I knew I should have bought when it was first issued but, for whatever reason, I never did. Probably because there was no PayPal or Amazon back then and we had to make our own amusement.



Celebrating the Negative by John Loengard



Satiric Dancer by André Kertész



Developer Trays by John Cyr

Artist Desktops

Over at Artist Desktops Nate Larson is organising a collection of screenshots of artists’ computer desktop images. I have no idea how many of those people can find anything in the clutter, but the best has to be Blake Andrews‘ that he likens to a river with its currents and eddies, and his corresponding weblog post explaining it all.


His desktop kind of reflects his website design too.

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As a printmaker who’s spent the best part of my career in a darkroom, my desktop image is of my darkroom tray.


For more information and to submit your images go to Nate Larson’s Tumblr website.