Unblinking Eye
                Controls in Black and White Photography

 

KiteSituation: The art of photography lies in the artistís ability to pursue her own vision. It is a rare photographer who does not interpret what she sees in some way [see Subjective and Objective].  How can she do this through the black and white photographic medium, which is in and of itself objective?  Despite the objectivity of the camera, the way we humans look at things is inevitably subjective, so no two photographers will ever photograph the same scene in exactly the same way.  But there are a multitude of controls available to the black and white photographer that enable her to dramatically increase her artistic freedom.

  • Expansion and Contraction of film scales (Normal Plus and Normal Minus development).  (see Zone System)
  • Choice of various negative developers (Rodinal for acutance, pyrogallol for high-value separation, D-23 or POTA for compensation, etc.)
  • Choice of various print developers for image color, softness, etc.
  • Print toning.  Selenium, Gold, Sulfide, Polysulfide, Platinum, and other toners.
  • Negative intensification.  Selenium toner, or any number of heavy metal intensifiers, including silver, chromium, iron, and uranium.
  • Print reduction or bleaching.  Potassium ferricyanide or Farmerís Reducer.
  • Negative reduction or bleaching. Potassium ferricyanide or potassium dichromate bleaches.
  • Latent image bleaching of negatives.
  • Latent image bleaching of prints.
  • Print solarization (the Sabatier effect).

Bibliography

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