Picbod Darkroom Workshop

Today we were all introduced to different methods of toning in the darkroom, led by Lecturer Jonathan Worth. We were shown how to enhance darkroom black and white resin coated (RC) prints by adding different tones to them using various chemicals. In photography, toning is a method of changing the color of black-and-white photographs, a useful and interesting process…who wants Photoshop anyway?!

We were all asked to bring in a small collection of darkroom prints to experiment with. As I hadn’t used the darkroom since the first module of the first year of this course until recently (tut tut) I used images from my very first module. They are not the best images, but perfectly sufficient for experimentation.

We were first shown the process of sepia toning. Sepia toning is a specialized treatment to give a black and white photographic print a warmer tone and to enhance its archival qualities, creating yellowish, brownish hues. The intensity of the colour is dependent on how long you immerse the print in the chemical. The process was as follows:

  1. wash print in water
  2. soak and agitate print in potassium ferricyanide bleach to re-convert the metallic silver to silver halide
  3. remove from bleach and wash in water
  4. transfer from wash into toner and agitate for desired amount of time
  5. wash again in water and dry

Below is my sepia toned image:

Sepia Tone

Sepia Tone

Next we were then shown the process of selenium toning. Depending on the media choice used, Selenium toning can result in images with purplish brown tones or bluish cold tones. Selenium toning was originally devised to increase print permanence and reduce fading.  This toning session created very subtle changes, I can hardly tell the difference. The process was as follows:

  1. wash print in water
  2. agitate washed print in the dilution
  3. transfer print from dilution to selenium and agitate for desired amount of time, until you can see changes in tone. Blacks blacker and whites whiter.
  4. from selenium to wash and then dry.

Below is my selenium toned image:

Selenium Tone

Selenium Tone

I found this workshop very easy to follow and understand, whilst tonight definitely enhances the overall look of a black and white image. Definitely want to try this again on more interesting images!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s