My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Four Hour Print

This picture made at Darian, Georgia was my first four hour print. It is from the mid 1970's. News photographers of the day prided themselves on their ability to rush in on deadline and process a roll of black and white film, crank out a really good quality print and deliver it to the copy desk in a very short time.

There were some excellent print makers around with lots of little darkroom secrets and time savers.
I learned from some of the best. Ralph Jones was head of the Photo Department when I came to the paper.
He was an old school artist in the darkroom. Taught me patience, the art of burning and dodging. For you young folks, that is selective exposure of your paper while making a print.

Freddie Bentley taught me to use hot water to darken a specific part of the print. We would use sodium sulfite, a bleaching agent, and a q-tip to lighten shadow areas that we could not hold up in the print.

The making of a print was an art in itself. Lots of skills involved. There is something about making a print and watching the image appear on the paper as you rock the developer tray. Alas, a thrill that has gone away. But also gone is the frustration of spending 20 minutes on a print to have it dumped because you overprinted a section, or held back too much on another. Photoshop is much more forgiving, but some of the magic is gone.

1 comment:

Sue Sapp said...

Yep, I still miss the thrill of developing a great print, but not the anxiety of having an editor pounding on the darkroom door screaming for a photo on deadline.

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