My works are created with large format view cameras that convey images onto 4" x 5", 8” x 10”, or 20" x 24" film. All of my photographs are black and white, silver-gelatin contact prints, created by sandwiching the negative between sensitized photographic paper and a glass plate, exposing it to light, and developing the paper in traditional darkroom chemistry. This method preserves the highest level of detail from the negative, leading to razor-sharp definition and a rich palette of tonal values. I only make a small number of prints from each negative-- sometimes only one, and almost never more than three or four. I exclusively use the contact printing process because I am fond of small-scale works and because I miss the values that I think are lost with even a moderate degree of enlargement.
In the darkroom, I make liberal use of various techniques, including dodging, burning, water-bath development, and pre-flashing. After my prints have been fixed and can be exposed to light, I adjust their tonal values manually using a potassium ferricyanide based reducer, applied with various watercolor brushes. This allows me to lighten selected areas and carefully control the final appearance of the print to a much greater extent than is possible through darkroom-based techniques alone. After the print has been toned, archivally washed, and dry-mounted to museum board, I go through a second campaign of hand-work, using spot-toning solution and neutral watercolor to again adjust the print, this time darkening selected areas, removing dust spots, and reinforcing shadows. Using these manual processes ensures that each print from a negative has a unique appearance.
Shown below is an example of an image before and after being hand-worked.