The paper I chose was Kodak Royal Bromesko, a paper that was available between 1962 and the late 1970s, so at best, my paper is close to 40 years old. The image is from a series I have been working on titled Otherworld. Further information and other images can be found on my website here.
Otherworld #01 — Scan from a print on Kodak Royal Bromesko
Here’s Mike’s account of how the project came about:
“In March 2015, a client gave me a quantity of old photographic paper and film. He had been clearing out his late uncle’s darkroom and decided I could either have it all or it would be thrown out. Over two visits I received a number of boxes and packets of material, the majority of which were papers that had ceased production many years ago. Most were at least 20 or 30 years old, indeed some far older. I sifted through boxes of familiar names such as Kodak Bromesko and Agfa Brovira considering what I should do with them.
Out of interest, I tested some of the paper in the darkroom. I was surprised at how well some of the older material printed. With further testing, it appeared that some paper, which was fogged and had proved useless with conventional developers, could produce quite interesting and compelling results using different processes such as lith printing. After conversations with fellow members of the London Alternative Photographic Collective, I decided it might be of interest to give out the paper to different photographers and artists to see what individual results each could produce.
Within a few months there were over 50 participants who had heard of the project and were interested in taking part. After testing and cataloguing the different papers, I distributed them to a wide variety of practitioners, not only in the UK, but also to many overseas. From this point it was down to their skill and creativity to produce work from the supplied paper and film.”
— Mike Crawford
The artists participating in this project are:
Joakim Ahnfelt, Andrew Atkinson, Laurie Baggett, Myka Baum, Molly Behagg, Daniel Berrange, Andy Billington, David Bruce, Jacquelene Butler, Andrew Chisolm, Mike Crawford, Beth Dow, Angela Easterling, Laura Ellenberger, Andrew Firth, Brittonie Fletcher, Hannah Fletcher, Asya Gefter, Claus Dieter Geissler, Robin Gillanders, Brian Griffin, JJ Hastings, Rosie Holtom, Nicola Jayne Maskrey, Melanie King, Morten Kolve, Ky Lewis, Jim Lister, Constanza Isaza Martínez, Hiro Matsuoka, Gabriela Mazowiecka, Sheila McKinney, Wolfgang Moersch, Helen Nias, Douglas Nicholson, Yaz Norris, Andrés Pantoja, Guy Patterson, Borut Peterlin, Almundena Romero, Bret Sampson, Debbie Sears, Holly Shackleton, Keith Taylor, Joan Teixidor, Evan Thomas, Madaleine Trigg, Sebnem Ugural, Tanja Verlak, Andrew Whittle, Guillame Zuili.
One of several images that I recently printed on vastly outdated Kodak Royal Bromesko, for a project in London. More on that soon.
This is a scan from the print, which, given the paper dates from somewhere between 1962 and the late 1970s when it was discontinued, was an absolute pleasure to work with. I’ve had clients younger than this paper cause me more grief.
One of the jobs I’ve been most fortunate to print over the past few months has been an exhibition for Joe Donnelly.
The images were all shot digitally, using a Leica M Monochrom digital camera and the world’s fastest aspherical lens, the Leica 50mm Noctilux‑M f/0.95. A typical image in the series would have been made with the lens wide open at f/0.95, approximately a 2 second exposure and the camera set to ISO 10,000. All the images were captured in virtually no light or just one candle.
The majority of the images were printed in gelatin-silver while several were printed in polymergravure.
After I had edited the files in Photoshop, I made either negatives (for silver prints) or positives (for the photogravures).
The silver prints were made in a darkroom, using traditional methods, gelatin-silver paper and chemistry on two different papers – Foma for its warmth or Adox for cooler, more neutral tones. For the polymer gravures I used Hahnemühle Copperplate paper and Charbonnel inks.
Left: After John Singer Sargent — gelatin-silver print
Right: Black, Brown and Beige (Melissa in Shawl) — photogravure
Later this year I’ll be exhibiting two prints in the show Depth of Field, in Arizona, that’s been curated by Rfotofolio in collaboration with Art Intersection. Besides the show, there will be talks and workshops and a roundtable.
The prints are gelatin-silver, 7″ x 7″ in size and were photographed in the Badlands of South Dakota. Looking at the names of the other photographers in the exhibition, I am not only honoured to have been included, but know this will be an amazing show.
Depth of Field is a celebration of photography. In our inaugural event, in collaboration with Art Intersection, Rfotofolio is pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit the work of the photographers that have been on our virtual pages. Their work spans the vast art form that is photography. From city streets, to oceans, to places that only exist in our imaginations, these photographers have acted as our guides.
Depth of Field is more than an exhibition. With workshops and a photographers forum (In Depth) Depth of Field is a gathering of photographers, and an opportunity to share their work, and knowledge with others. An event to engage and share with each other and anyone who is curious about the art of photography.
In Depth — a roundtable forum led by Becky Senf — Friday, September 11th, 6.30 – 8.30pm. Opening reception — Saturday, September 12th, 6 – 8pm.
The exhibition runs from September 8th to October 24th, 2015.
207 N. Gilbert Rd # 201, Gilbert, AZ, 85234.
Phone (480) 361-1118.
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.