My Process

My techinque for developing negatives is very simple and traditional. I develop my film in Pyro, which was first used by photographers in the l9th century. I use different formulas, such as D-7 and the now popular PMK formula. I develop "by inspection", which means that about half way through development, I inspect the progess of development for a few seconds by the dim light of a #7 green safelight. The negative is still sensitive to light, and for me, this is a very exciting part of the photographic process, to see the negative while it's being formed. Pyro developed negatives have a very long tonal scale, translucent highlight densities and a delicate yellow-brown stain. When the negatives are hung to dry, a 3D relief of the image occurs on the emulsion side as the water/wetting agent glides off. For me, process of film development is very involving and not simply a 'mechanical' means to an end. I print the negatives by contact using Kodak's Azo developed in Amidol. I use a hardwood contact printing frame and lights of various intensities, ranging from 40 to 300 watts. I use a metronome with a second tick for timing the exposure. I determine the time of exposure after I turn on the light, while the print is actually being exposed. Like the inspection develpment of the negative, this is a very intuitive act that I find exciting and rewarding. Amidol is a most unusual developer for prints: it's reduction potential is very high, allowing greater control of the print through normal, contracted, expanded and water-bath types of development. Azo paper is commonly a singleweight paper and very fragile when wet . While this is often regarded as a bad thing, once you get used to handling it properly, it forces you to pay closer attention to the "print making process", and the handling of the fragile prints becomes an 'art' in itself. The prints then are treated in a stop bath, two fixing baths, and hypo-cleared/toned and archivally washed. They are then air dried. I dry mount my prints on acid free museum board.