01/01 Pires 2015

Finally I stopped by the community darkroom to pick up the prints from last Saturday.

I was very curious to see the difference between the glossy and the matte finishing of the Adox paper.

Before that, let me just share some starting tips to anyone wanting to begin home printing or using somekind of community darkroom.

Printing is the final step I guess. Being able to print a negative, controlling the contrast, exposure, masking… is a very cool experience but unfortunately very few amateur film photographers are able to take this final step.

Setting up (even) a little darkroom takes space. Printing takes time. To do both it takes money. The truth is we can buy an enlarger for peanuts these days but the paper is another story.

In Lisbon I can only find Ilford Multigrade and Adox paper. The Adox paper is a bit cheaper but the Multigrade is an absolute classic, the TriX of photo papers! (Back in the days when I first started printing there was no Multigrade paper, only fixed contrast.)

So, the choice was Ilford or Adox. Me and Pedro went for the Adox and we got the MCP 310 (glossy) and the MCP 312 (matte) 24 x 30 cm. The Adox paper, just like the Multigrade, is of variable gradation and the Ilford Multigrade filters (or others of the same kind) also work with the Adox.

The point is, Adox is cheaper than Ilford Mutigrade and it delivers high quality prints.

2015-01-06 19.33.11

Let me just share another beginners tip: FB and RC papers… Remember those eternal disputes on photographic forums I’m always talking about? Well, this is one of those heated disputes, which one is better, the Fiber or Resin coated paper?

I’m not taking part in that debate and I know very little about printing but I can tell you this: if you don’t have a paper dryer get the RC kind of paper for the simple reason that it stays straight when drying naturally. FB paper will curl till kingdome come and keeping it under some heavy books will do nothing.


Both the glossy and the matte are very good, really they are. Nice touch, thick enough. The coating of the glossy paper is not too shinny, just the right touch… but the matte is beautiful. So lightly sanded texturized, I love to feel it with my fingers. That’s my favorite and that is the paper I’ll be using more.

There’s no point is scanning the prints but here they are.




Those prints are for friends as late Christmas presents. I chose each image specifically for each person and soon they will be traveling all over the world. Along with each image I will also send the negative. Every picture is, and will be, unique forever.


I don’t ever “sign” anything. I’ve designed CD covers, book covers, I’ve taken pictures of famous people and I’m pretty sure you will not find my name anywhere. I don’t care about that. I only care about a job well done. You guys belong to the few ones that know my adventures.

However this is not work, this is for friends and I wanted to make these prints unique so I decided to put my signature on them. For the very first time in my professional, or passionate amateur photographer, life I did it.


  1. Mark said:

    What a great idea. Individual prints, including being signed and then sent with the negative. Not something we see too often today and a very personal touch. Looks like some great images there.

    • Thank you so much Mark! Printing (and shooting) for friends could be a project for 2015. 🙂

  2. dehk said:

    You got some fancy paper there, never tried them, don’t want to afford them haha., Prints looks good.

    • It’s becoming very expensive. The printing fever will slow down 🙂

  3. Borja said:

    I’ve used Ilford RC multi-grade paper. I found it easy to use and easier to manipulate for dodging and burning. I have yet to use Fiber. But it is on my bucket list of things to do before the big one hits. 🙂 I think sending prints to close friends and relatives are precious to share. And sharing them requires an effort to let go as it is. For me it is tough to decide when a print is ready, but I’m crazy that way. I enjoy seeing your work. Please continue.

    • Thank you so much my friend and you are right, the prints never look… right. There’s always the desire of making something a little different.

      Like the final stoke on a painting… 🙂

  4. Very nice post. I also grew up in the pre-multigrade days. In any case, I’ll take matte (or “satin”, or semi-matt, depending on the maker) over glossy any day – it takes fewer fingerprints when the prints are passed around.

    I very much like the print with the statue of Garibaldi – i’ve never quite managed to take a decent picture of that one statue…

    • Thank you Alessandro.
      That print is for a friend who skates and it’s funny because the skater is looking down and it seems he doesn’t have a head and the majesty of the statue. 🙂

      That’s D. João I, a Portuguese king 🙂

  5. raulpc said:

    Muito interessante o teu blog, sempre, Paulo! Pois, fiber paper is the thing, é só o que uso, às vezes lá vai um rc quando calha… Quanto ao curling, é um facto, que resolvo (não tenho prensa a quente) secando em cima de uma moldura com rede que fiz eu próprio, emulsão para baixo. Depois é mesmo deixar uns dias under heavy photo books e no fim fica direitinho, pronto a arquivar ou emoldurar!

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