Introduction to Selective Masking

An effective and compelling silver print is all about tonal quality and nuance. Sometimes the smallest tweak on the smallest element in your image can have an enormous  impact on your final result. All too often, though, achieving that small tweak can be difficult or near-impossible with traditional darkroom printing methods, especially if you have numerous areas that need simultaneous dodging and burning or you don’t want to alter the overall tonal contrast or brightness. 

Alan developed his Selective Masking technique as a way to more easily and effectively print difficult negatives and to give him consistency from print to print. This method for detailed and controlled dodging and burning is hands-free and allows Alan to dodge and burn in multiple places at once. It gives him absolute and repeatable control over nuance and subtlety without the fuss and precision of pin registration or the complexities of traditional dodging and burning.

Using this technique, he can manipulate the brightness and contrast of any element in an image, from a small rock to a field of grasses to a brooding sky…and all without changing the tonal contrast or brightness in the overall image.

Selective Masking has revolutionized the way Alan prints, and has made previously difficult or nearly impossible-to-print negatives not only possible, but successful.

At its simplest, Selective Masking is completely low-tech and involves just a regular pencil, a sheet of mylar and a simple and easy-to-make custom negative carrier. The mask is sandwiched between the carrier and light source. At its most complex, Selective Masking might involve multiple masks created in Photoshop, again sandwiched between your negative carrier and light source. Note: this technique does not work with condenser enlargers, but can be used in any contact printing process.

In this introductory online session, Alan walks you through the basics of a simple pencil mask, laying the foundation for the creation of more complex masks. (See Selective Masking…the Next Step).

Limited to 5 participants. $50 per person. Sixty minutes that could revolutionize the way you print and dramatically improve your results.

Current schedule:

New schedule coming January 2021.

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