ABOUT THIS PROJECT: Choose Your Favorite Photographs!
Traditional Silver Gelatin Photographic Prints – A Century of Photographic Tradition – 100 Years of Permanence
Crafted by Hand in the Analog Method of the 20th Century Masters
My 50 year Journey in Photography – Kickstarting the Future!
Have you ever visited a museum photography exhibit and viewed an Ansel Adams or Edward Weston 8”x10” image made by contact printing, that is, direct printing of an 8”x10” negative onto photographic paper to make the positive image? For example, Ansel’s “Half Dome”? Or possibly Weston’s “Nautilus”?
The exquisite detail of these beautifully composed images is unsurpassed, the range of tonal values is exceptional, and after many decades (some for nearly 100 years), these prints have maintained their original beauty and aesthetic appeal unscathed by time.
How did the masters do it?
Once the subject matter was contemplated and decided, many of these great photographs were made with an 8x10 view camera, one that exposes images on 8”x10” negatives and captures TONS of detail. They were often contact printed, that is, directly printed through the negative onto 8”x10” photographic paper while in contact with it, that is, a 1:1 image transfer with NO enlarging involved. (Weston did this exclusively.)
There is simply no higher resolution method to print an image with all of its detail. Please see the video (by Jen Scovern) and the detailed process description at the end. An 8x10 negative can also be enlarged, though the 8x10 size conveys a feeling of intimacy with the subject matter while affording comfortable viewing.
Those silver gelatin prints were processed to achieve archival status: Extensive washing and many were toned with selenium (not brown sepia, BTW). That’s why they still remain as beautiful as the day they were made.
Your prints in this Kickstarter project will be created with this same aesthetic emphasis and time-proven photographic craft.
What do you get?
You get hand-crafted, 8”x10” analog silver gelatin contact prints with beautiful tonality and image detail taken by me with an 8x10 Deardorff view camera.
They are hand-printed by me on double weight, fiber based, glossy photographic paper in my darkroom. After selenium-toning, each print is processed to archival longevity, mounted, signed, titled, and over matted to 14”x18" on high quality mat board.
Note that the final image size is approximately 7” x 9”, plus or minus a bit - it varies because contact images are cropped by trimming them. They are ready for you to frame. There is NO digital anything about these printed images.
This project offers a choice of six different images. They’ll look outstanding in in your house, apartment or office. Or make a great gift!
These are the six images all taken by me from which you can choose:
1. Apple Tree: Taken in August 2007 on a very windy hilltop in Colrain, MA. A strong storm was moving up the east coast. Had to wait for a lull between gusts to do the long, 2 second exposure with fingers crossed. The old tree feels like it still has its own energy.
2. Two Chairs: I had planned to make a portrait of the owners of our cottage in Johnson, VT the previous day in August 2008, but it poured rain. They had to leave and there was thick fog the next morning. So I made this image of the two chairs in which they would have sat.
3. Ed and Maureen’s Hands: A few years ago I assembled a “Gathering of Hands” exhibit. My then elderly neighbors sat for a photo in May 2005. Their hands nestled together naturally. The exposure was 35 seconds long and to my amazement they were utterly stone-still.
4. Cornfield: In late August 2014 I was setting up for a different scene when an acquaintance pulled over and said I should turn around and look across the road. The once blue sky had abruptly changed and was full of drama. The corn rows had their own quiet wave happening. This was part of a 38 image series called “Twelve Summers in Colrain”. The corn rows have not been re-planted since.
5. Horseshoe Crab: An ancient ocean dweller. Part of a series called “Physical Intimacy”. Found the shell on the beach on the North Shore of Massachusetts some years ago. Taken December 2016.
6. Frank Lee Laundry: In Natick, MA, this laundry has been in business for many decades. The image was taken from across a busy main street while standing in the driveway of a gas station. The gas station owner was very accommodating. After asking a just- parked truck to “please, please” move and waiting for the traffic and parade of Halloween teens to briefly clear, I made this single exposure in October 2014.
Who am I?
My photographic career began after receiving a box camera as a gift in about 1963 (I still have it! – check out the photo). Over the years I’ve progressed through all major formats that encompassed mediums of both color and black & white. Photography is now well integrated into my life.
Please visit my website for a broad overview of my photographic pursuits: https://charlesfendrock.wordpress.com/
Nothing for sale there yet – Kickstarter supporters get first dibs!
Today my favorite medium is the 8x10 Deardorff large format view camera using black and white film, closely followed by B&W in both 20x24 Ultra Large Format (no kidding) and 4x5 Large Format, but those are other stories for future Kickstarter projects!
Using the Zone System, the 8x10 camera produces an image of tremendous clarity and range of tonal values.
In college I had the great privilege of studying photography under Minor White, a quiet, humble man and great photographer and teacher. Minor completely changed my view of photography. Richard Albertine, another understudy who recently passed away, took the above photo of Minor in 1971.
At that same university, a few decades later, for some years I volunteered to give students large format and darkroom workshops. It was highly enjoyable.
Now it’s time for a change. A further goal of this Kickstarter project is to “kickstart” my second career, my future, this one in photography. Photography has been an important part of me for over 50 years and the time has now come to bring it up in front with this project. This is my first Kickstarter, bringing to others what I’ve immensely enjoyed all of my life: beautiful, carefully hand-made, virtually permanent silver gelatin photographs in the tradition of the great 19th century photographers.
If successful, others projects are in the works, all of which involve traditional but way bigger-than-life photographic mediums, some literally, and some conceptually.
What’s does the process involve?
Making these prints involves using both hands and standing up all day in dull orange safelight – there’s no selecting a file, running an app & clicking a mouse, then grabbing the image off a printer. Have a look at the pictures. That’s an 8x10 negative in the front, BTW. The process quick-guide goes like this:
Develop the Negative: Already done for these Kickstarter Images. But in a nutshell:
In total darkness run the negative through Developer, Stop and Fixer.
Wash thoroughly in water.
Rinse in distilled water + photo flow to avoid any water spots and hang to dry.
Exposing the Photographic Paper:
Place the negative into the contact printing frame – mini-vacuum ALL dust first!
Put the photographic paper behind the negative and close the spring back of the printing frame – I use the old Century contact printing frame in the picture.
Make test exposure(s) to understand and determine the exposure and contrast requirements to achieve the range of tonal values originally visualized.
This is the critical step and can be a meticulous and time consuming effort.
Make the final exposures on fresh sheets of photographic paper performing any dodging and burning of specific areas on the print as determined by the test exposures.
Processing the Exposed Paper:
Run the exposed paper through the Developer, Stop and Fixer baths with proper times.
Treat with fixer remover (also called hypo clearing agent).
Wash again thoroughly.
Tone with selenium to enhance the blacks, subtly shift the tonality, and make the print quite permanent. (Note: Selenium toning is not sepia toning, which produces a brown cast and softens the overall image tonality.)
Wash again and re-treat with hypo clear.
Wash very thoroughly for final archival longevity.
Squeegee each print gently back and front and dry overnight.
VOILA! NOW WE HAVE A DRY, UNMOUNTED PRINT! Next…
Spotting and Mounting the Print:
Look at each print very closely and spot-out any miniscule white spots that were caused by residual dust flecks on the negative or paper using a really tiny brush and spotting solution, matching the tonality of the area being spotted. Use of a magnifier (and bifocals) is recommended.
Attach the dry mount tissue to the print back with a tacking iron.
Trim the print to properly crop it and make the dry mount tissue an exact fit.
Carefully position the print and tack two opposite corners of the tissue to the mat board.
Run the print through the hot dry mount press.
Finishing the Print:
Title, sign and date the print mat.
Attach the over-mat “window” with hinge tape
Package the print into the protective sleeve and mailing carton.
- Done! Send it to our wonderful Kickstarter supporters!!!
How well does this elaborate process work?
Below are two images: I made the Wood & Steel Abstraction in June 1973 on an industrial back street in Cambridge, MA. I admit that it’s only 44 years old. But the image is still as beautiful as the day it was made – a pretty good start on a century. The second is an elegant print of my Grandmother’s wedding in about 1918. We’ll never know how it was processed, but for a photograph to stay so magnificent for 99 years is no accident. Your handsome prints from this Kickstarter will equally withstand the test of time.
Risks and challenges
The greatest risk to this project is if one of the negatives becomes damaged and therefore could not be printed. I take great care with my negatives and do everything I can to avoid damage. Otherwise, all of the images have been made and printed before, and the photographic and mounting materials are readily available. The risk is low.
The greatest challenge will be to work out all of the Kickstarter and fulfillment logistics the first time through. But I am committed to do this (with a little help from my friends!) and expect that we’ll have happy supporters in the end. That is one of our major goals as there are several other photographic projects planned.
Lastly, all of the money raised for this project will go toward the costs of producing each print. The list includes:
• Photographic paper
• Development and processing chemicals
• Dry mount tissue
• Mat board
• Protective tissue and coverings
• Packing materials
• Shipping & insurance, and…
• Lots of personal labor on each print
There is no expensive equipment to buy, no big non-recurring, one-time costs, and no process discovery of any sort. Production & shipping costs and that’s it!
Please support our project and look forward to receiving a beautiful print, hand-made in the finest photographic tradition of the great masters, that will last a lifetime and beyond.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)