Fine Art Traditional Silver Gelatin Printing

Let Your Image Come to Life in a Master’s Darkroom

Throughout his career in photography, Alan Ross has helped numerous students, associates and assistants hone their own black-and-white printing skills—both in his darkroom and in theirs.

But in today’s climate of advanced (and increasingly appealing) digital technology, competing demands on personal time, water shortages and space constraints, many traditional workers are finding it difficult or impractical to maintain a wet darkroom.

As an extension of his teaching commitment and his commitment to preserving the art and aesthetic of traditional silver-gelatin printing, Alan has decided to offer his own darkroom skills and vision in the making of exhibit and portfolio prints for others.

His preference is to do this as a special one-on-one workshop where you can watch, learn and participate in the making of your own museum-quality silver prints. But he can also make the final prints himself with input and approval from you, or make a print to serve as a guide for you to match in your own darkroom, sharing the technical details so you can replicate his efforts.

Alan will use the same approach and techniques he uses in crafting his own prints, all according to the highest current exhibition standards and using the same high quality paper and chemicals he uses in his own darkroom.

There are three phases to the process. You will be billed at each phase for work completed, according to the rates detailed below. If at any point you decide you don’t want to continue, work is stopped with no additional fees.

Phase I: Negative Appraisal. Upon receiving a negative or negatives, Alan will evaluate them for basic image qualities, then scan the negatives for evaluation of tonal structure. He’ll talk with you by email or phone to get an idea of your vision for a final print and let you know, candidly, whether or not you have the density, tonality and essential qualities to give you what you want. If it’s agreed that there is something to work with, he will provide an estimate of what will be involved in producing a proof print. Phase I work is billed at a rate of $75 per half hour.

Phase II: Darkroom 11×14 Silver Proof. With the intent of making a finished silver print, essential proof printing needs to be done on the same paper as the final work. In this stage, Alan determines basic image contrast and exposure, extent of needed dodging and burning, any localized contrast control, and production of a Selective Masking package that will embody most of the printing controls. Paper smaller than 11×14 is not as easy to work with and evaluate, and using larger paper is an unnecessary expense. The sample proof print will be selenium toned, archivally processed and flattened. Phase II will be billed at $150 per hour, in 15-minute increments. Cost of paper and chemicals is included in this rate, and time in the wash and drying is not charged. Shipping will be by carrier and service chosen by you as a separate charge. If additional adjustments are desired, there will be no extra charge if such adjustment is to be made in the course of producing the final print. If further adjustments require a second (or third) proof, that will be billed as a continuance of Phase II charges.

Phase II: The Finished Silver Print. At this point, all essential tonal qualities will be defined and controlled, and subsequent print or prints can be made efficiently. They will be processed, toned and flattened in the same manner as the Phase II proof print. This work is billed at $150 per hour, and paper and chemicals are included. Additional per print prices of $5 for 11×14 and smaller, $10 for 16×20, and $15 for 20×24. Prints larger than 20×24 not available. Shipping of prints will be according to service and carrier selected by you.

Printing Workshop. If you would like to do this as a workshop, the fee is $850 per day, and you will make as many finished prints as time allows, under Alan’s expert and patient guidance, with no additional costs for the prints. You will leave the session with prints ready for exhibition or portfolio matting and presentation.