So You Want To Be A Great Darkroom Printer?

By: Robert Byers

Making great prints in the darkroom doesn't happen by accident. Like anything done well, it is a labor of love and doers not come easily. If you are equal to the challenge it will open up an exciting lifetime avocation. It is a lot of hard work and involves many years of studying the technical aspects of photography. It starts with classes, workshops, textboxes on photography and supplies, including chemicals, photographic papers, films and a knowledge of sensitomitry. Also, it involves countless hours in the darkroom on a regular basis, not just a casual visit once or twice a month. Before one even opens the darkroom door, you must have in your hand exposed film that contains excellent "previsualized" images, not images made by a random pressing of the shutter release.

And last, after all of the studying and experimenting with various chemicals, papers, films and light sources on enlargers you must find the combination of those elements that produces the prints that please you and other viewers. By doing that you cease wasting hours endlessly experimenting, which time should be devoted to your own processing workflow.

Good luck
Robert Byers

Robert Byers
Mr. Robert K. Byers, of Carmel Valley, California, whose black-and-white images have always had an appreciative audience, was one of the first members of Ansel Adams' Friends of Photography and served as treasurer for that organization for many years. A business advisor, attorney, and friend to many of the great photographers, including Brett Weston, Bob continues to shoot and work in the darkroom. Mr Byers' work has been shown in numerous one man and group exhibitions throughout the U.S.,Europe and Japan. His images are in public and university museums, as well as corporate and private collections both here and abroad.