Like many (most?) photographers of my generation, I began shooting snapshots on an old Kodak, taking my film to the drugstore for processing. Somewhere along the line, a friend told me--and then showed me--how easy it was to do my own developing and printing. I was instantly hooked.
I puttered along--Kodak film, D-76--just a hobby--until 1990, when I met Steve Kaiser, He hung Ansel Adams-quality B&W prints in galleries and museums. I'd never seen work like that. His equipment? A cardboard disposable camera he reloaded in the dark. His creed: it's the eye and the darkroom, not the equipment. So...how do you do it, Steve?
From Steve and others, I learned to think and shoot Zone System, and discovered the amazing panopoly of darkroom chemicals and papers (there's a whole lot more out there than D-76 and hypo thiosulfate, for sure). Then, Ten years ago, I began working in "alt proc"--alternate processes: albumen, salt, cyan, Van Dyke--the photographic processes of the mid-19th century. More, and new, chemistry, and learning how to make my own printing papers.
I guess you could say that photography's been a journey for me. A wonderful journey. It's getting harder finding supplies, to say nothing of getting harder lugging around a ten-pound camera on bad knees, but that's how it is. I do wonder, though, what my wife's going to do with all those chemicals when I go....
These images were shot with either a Nikon 6006S (SF) or a Mamiya RB67 ProS (MF), using Ilford HP5+ and Kodak HC-110 or Pyrocat..
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