I have been a professional Black and white printer for over 45 years. In that time I have worked with many major photographers across a diverse range of areas from advertising and fashion to reportage and fine art. This has given me a unique and in depth insight into what is required to produce prints. Working not only to meet deadlines, but also to interpret what a photographer has in mind.
I have also spent this time building a collection of my own photographic images. Investigating subjects and themes that have interested me, all the while exploring the context and nature of light
Whether I am working with a photographer or on my own images the first consideration is the negative. The negative gives you all the information that you need. It is a matter of following the light. Printing is about balance and how to achieve this balance. As Alfred Stieglitz commented,
“The image should reveal what you saw and felt at the time”
I have been looking at and assessing negatives for a long time on a daily basis. During this process I am responding rather than analyzing when I choose what image to print from a contact sheet. If it is one of my own shots then I know what works for me. Looking at other person’s contact images, I get the feeling of what the photographer is looking for.
During my workshops and mentoring I teach, how to assess the negatives and then to print allowing the light and subject to emerge fully from the negative.
For example, this bed shot was taken in my house in Yorkshire. The house faced south so there is a strong light coming though the small square windows and the light falls across the bed. I felt that just by printing for the highlight and letting everything else go that this would give shape to this image.