Learning new tricks, wags tail

Part 1

Every year I do the same thing, and many of you already know this… On the first week of January I separate the negatives with pictures of friends and family and I trash everything else.

Until this day I haven’t look at a single negative and thought: I’ll keep this one.

I don’t look at my negatives as “to keep”. They are experiments and, as such, their value is over after the results are scanned and, many times, posted in here. That’s it.

However… even an old dog can learn a new trick so… no trashing this year. My negatives are stored in a box and I’m giving them to a friend.
New trick learned!

Part 2

Every single wall in my apartment is naked, pictureless.

Last Saturday at the community darkroom I decided to print two negatives. The intention was not to keep them for myself but to give away the prints, as usual.

This was the first picture.


Tough print. The lower part is much darker than the upper part. Previous scans gave me a pretty accurate idea about what I want for the final result. I want contrast, I want… visual thickness!

However I don’t want to risk the lips or the nose.


I’m not nowhere near the result I’m looking for. I know that scanning and Photoshop are different tools than an enlarger and photo paper but… different tools mean different challenges and I’m sure that I will nail this negative in the next session.

Believe it or not, I’m really excited for having to find out how to print this the way I want. Maybe different contrast filters on different parts of the image… some masking yes… It will be fun experimenting.

I admit I’ve been very anxious to see some results but this is what darkroom work is about, I guess… slowing down, focusing on that one negative I really like, trying to make a decent print…

The darkroom is making me choose. The more I use it, the less patience I have for those “so so” negatives. The darkroom is making me want to invest time and work only on the good stuff.

This negative was a changing point. I no longer want to go into the darkroom to make 10 prints in 4 hours but I will love spending a whole afternoon just printing this one.

This is the best I got from last Saturday.
Invest more in the good stuff and less on the experimentation thing, trick learned.


Part 3

About empty walls…

After making 3 or 4 attempts with the previous negative I moved on to another special one. I really, really, love this picture. Joana is in it, it’s dark, grainy, and sexy…

Final 01

This is a dirty negative and all the Photoshop work was just to clean the picture. It was taken with the Nikon F3 and the 50mm f/1.4. Trix at 1600 in Xtol, stock for 10 minutes.

I made an exposure test, decided about the time and made a print, this one:


I loved the way it came out. Yes, the negative is dirty and it shows on the print but… there’s something about it that makes it special…

This is the very first print I want to keep for myself and this is the very first print I will hang in my apartment.

I will look at it many times and every time I look closer, I will see Joana’s eyes looking back at me.


Thank you so much Mary and Joana.

  1. I have only started researching Lith printing, I wonder if that first one would work with a 2nd pass lith print? As I understand it, you over expose a regular print, bleach back the mid-tones and highlights (keeping the darks) then develop in lith developer. Love that second print, so expressive.

    • Thank you Joe, I got some books about printing and I want to explore more but… the damn paper is so expensive! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I will get there and I’m thinking about getting an enlarger for myself… I would never come out of the bathroom again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Alex said:

    For the Part 2, why not try to overexpose the whole image, and then do latent bleaching to open up the shadows?

    • Alex, thank you, I read something about bleaching and I can give it a try. Thank you again.

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