Sam Stephenson, the author of a book on W. Eugene Smith and of this article that was published on the Literary Hub website, was sold the entire contents of W. Eugene Smith‘s darkroom by his son, Patrick, the little boy in Smith’s iconic image “A Walk to Paradise Garden” (below) in 2006, on the condition that he could buy it back from Stephenson at the same price if necessary. So with the addition of a glass top it becomes a fully functional writing desk yet it’s able to return to its original state in a mere matter of minutes.
After 20 years of research—24 cross-country visits to Smith’s archive, and more than 500 interviews in 26 states and Japan—I finish writing my book about Gene Smith in Durham, North Carolina, standing at my bar-high desk made from his eight-foot stainless-steel darkroom sink, the same sink he installed in his Sixth Avenue loft in the late 1950s. Behind my desk sits his custom-made heart-of-pine light board that he used to inspect negatives.
“The Walk to Paradise Garden” — W. Eugene Smith, 1946
Tree Reflection, Gilmanton, Wisconsin
7 x 7″ image
8 x 10″ Adox paper
Scanned from the print
The good news is that the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has asked me to teach my Introduction to Polymer Photogravure class once again this autumn. The even better news is that this time it’s for eight weeks instead of six. This means not only more class time, but more out of class access too, because students are allowed to work in the print studio as long as a class isn’t using the space.
Polymer photogravure is a non-toxic and environmentally friendlier alternative to the traditional copperplate photogravure process. I’ve been working with this process for nearly 20 years now, and giving workshops in it for the last 10, and it’s a process that can yield beautiful, tactile prints from photographs, whether the original starts as a digital file or film.
This edition is hand printed on Hahnemühle Copperplate Etching using Charbonnel inks. All prints are numbered, titled, dated and signed on the reverse, and signed and numbered on the front.
Payment is handled securely by Shopify and allows you the choice of paying either with a credit card or a PayPal account. All prints will be packed securely and shipped within 1-2 days via USPS Priority Mail.
Prints are unmatted and unframed.
- Title: Dust Storm, near Saguaro National Park, Arizona
- Medium: Hand-pulled polymergravure print
- Dimensions: 4.5″ x 10″ image
- Paper: 11″ x 14″ Hahnemühle paper
- Edition: 10 (plus proofs)
- Price: $225 (plus sales tax for MN residents)
- Shipping: $9 Anywhere within the US (USPS Priority Mail)
The MCAD Printmaking Studio
Lately, the emphasis around here has been on polymergravure. For six weeks I taught an introductory class in the process as part of the Continuing Education programme at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) with 12 students. Above is a quick iPhone panorama of the printmaking studio at MCAD with many of the students.
During one session we had John Pearson, a Highpoint co-op member, come in to show and talk about his beautiful two and three colour polymergravure prints. John, who incorporates many traditional intaglio techniques into his work such as dry point, spit bite and aquatint, took one of my workshops at Highpoint a couple of years ago and has really embraced the polymer process and is producing some amazing prints.
As well as this wonderful printshop they also have a great darkroom specifically for the polymer process which I helped set up a while back. I’m hoping that the class will be run again in the Autumn, and it’s looking likely that it will, so sign up for my infrequent newsletter to receive updates. Below are just three of the images that the students printed as small editions.