Colour Correcting and Inkjet
Lambda Silver Gelatin prints are prints made from any type of digital file, either scanned from film as in this case or from current state of the art digital cameras.
In our lab we expose the file on a Durst Lambda 76 and then take the paper downstairs and process as we would an enlarger based print. We have one of Canada’s largest commercial fibre base darkrooms and can handle prints up to 30 x 72 inches. The paper is Ilford Galerie grade 4 and the contrast and tonal adjustments are controlled in Photoshop, Capture One or Lightroom. Or these adjustments can be tweaked at time of printing on the imaging device.
These prints are the ultimate in reproduction and exhibit the traditional silver gelatin look: deep blacks, silvery midtones and brilliant highlights. As with all silver gelatin prints, the image resides in the emulsion and to the viewer the image glows from within.These prints follow the same Ilford archival process sequence and can be further enhanced with toning, selenium or split sepia or a combination of both.
Silver prints are the museum and top gallery standard for exhibiting and collecting and are designed for the very best images for long term storage or display.
Lith Prints from Negative
I have been making lith prints on silver gelatin paper for clients since the mid 90’s. I was introduced to Star Trax a book by Anton Corjbin. The images in this book were all printed by Mike Spry and were jaw droppingly beautiful to me.
Over the years I have used many papers and as chemicals died off have pretty much stayed with Fotospeed LD20 as the developer. In this process we use the emergence time in the developer to determine pull time, certain papers require different Snatch Points and each paper will exhibit a different tonal effect.
In all cases Lith prints are processed after developer exactly like any silver gelatin print and can be toned as well to create further variations.
These prints are highly desirable as they will outlast modern day prints and thus are coveted by collectors and galleries.
Almost any type of negative, colour or black and white will work with this process and one needs to be careful trying to match prints for editions as it is almost impossible to do so.
Therefore I refer to any Lith Print as a unique print.
I have been making colour prints now my whole career, in my past jobs before I opened my own shop, I worked in many capacities as a colour corrector, colour printer and photo comp specialist. One of my past specialty's was making mural prints from 8x10 colour film. Thirty years later, we are seeing the same quality from the new Phase Back systems.
For me making colour prints is magical and even though we have state of art white balance capabilities, thanks to technology advances, the fine print always need collaboration with the artist and printer. Subtle colour balances, or contrast changes are required to produce work that is outstanding.
For many of my clients I work very closely balancing a body of work so that it can hang cohesively together, this is not a simple task. As well striking the right balance requires testing and then final print.
Today I use a Canon 12 ink printer and my maximum size (to date) is the image above which is 60 x 77 inches. I like inkjet for the different papers that we can use, as well with good profiling the consistency assured print to print. Inkjet prints can be hung within box frames, can be mounted to dibond mounts for displays, using spacers within frames or aluminum mounting systems to hang on walls.
Lith Prints from Digital File
Now for something entirely different.
This image is a manipulated digital image, the file has been outputted to Ilford Ortho Film
Using our Durst Lambda we inverted the file, flipped horizontal and imaged to 16 x 21 inches on the film using a combination of Red, Green and Blue laser light.
The film was then processed in the dark room in super oversized trays using HC110 developer, then stop then fix and wash as normal. The film is real film like that you would put in ones camera, except its the size of the final print. This film is then placed on silver gelatin paper and with a large sheet of glass a contact exposure is made and using the Lith Process the resulting image is obtained after the full Ilford Archival process and Selenium toning. This process opens many doors for photographers who do not have the space or expertise to operate an enlarger, and or may have never made a film negative in years. This process will work with any digital file and is exceptionally perfect for silver contact print
Tri Colour Gum Dichromate Prints can be made from any existing digital file, In Photoshop we separate the CMY channels out and make separate black and white negatives that record each colour. Then we re strip the film in register over a light box, these films are made to the print desired.
Using high quality cotton rag paper we then do three separate coatings of pigment, exposing each neg to its corresponding colour. This process is somewhat time consuming but if managed properly a series of Yellow pigment is hand coated, exposed and washed out then hung to dry, followed by the same set of sequences for the Magenta and Cyan.
These prints are as permanent as the watercolour pigments used and though not a perfect rendition of the original file, the resulting prints have texture and layering effects with an unlimited array of colour possibilities that is extremely pleasing to the subjective eye.
This images are made from Black and White digital enlarged negatives, in both cases one film is required, paper is again High Quality Cotton Rag Paper, and a single coating is layed down first. In these cases a sepia pigment mixed with some red pigment are used, the negative is layed down on the paper and exposure then development with water is done. The prints are then hung to dry and next a Thaylo Blue pigment layer is laid down and exposed and washed out with water.By using water colour brushes and the stream of water from a hose the underlying areas can show through the blue layer which creates a duo tone and even sometimes three colours with only one negative.
What is really exceptional about the Gum Process is that once the negative is made, a simple laundry room, spare room with water and drain is all that is required to process the prints. Very appealing for city dwellers who have never made a print in their past, or, those who have made prints but do not have the darkroom to work out of. This is a Tungsten Light workroom requirements whereas the unit for exposing is UV light.