Ever since I first got back in to film at the tail end of 2016, I always had the intention of getting back into printing. Even when shooting digital, I like to print my work. It feels like the natural conclusion to the image, rather than leaving it on my hard drive, or sharing via social media.
The day started very well when I arrived to find some (very) strong coffee on the go, and croissants for breakfast. Before long, Chris and I were joined by the 4 other people on the course and we were making out first contact sheets and test prints.
I already had in mind which negatives I'd like to print, and was pleased to see that my favourites looked good on the contact sheets. I won't bore you with the minutiae of the timings, contrast filters and the failed attempts at trying to burn the sky on one of my prints to be dark enough, so here are my final prints. The irony of scanning the prints isn't lost on me :-)
There's nothing quite like seeing a print emerge on the paper, and there is a quality to a silver gelatin print that's hard to describe. There was a real buzz in the room as everyone continued to refine their prints, and hold the final image in their hands.
If anyone is interested in doing wet prints, then I can recommend this course from Ag Photographic. Everything you needed was included, and Matthew and Dave had plenty of excellent advice. It's also easy to pick up, and not as complicated as you may think. Especially in a facility where everything is provided.
There was also plenty of knowledge sharing between all of us on the course, and everyone was producing some brilliant prints. One guy was using 60 year old negatives his dad had taken, and they were brilliant. I wonder how many of use will be able to use SD cards in 60 years time...
So what next? Well, I have a garage not doing much...