I found a little gem at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery in Keene earlier today. They had a signed, silver gelatin print of “Frosted Window No. Two” by Paul Caponigro on display as part of the Expressive Voice: Landscape of Emotion exhibit. There were also a number of other silver-gelatin prints on display within the exhibit.
Seeing these prints made me realize that while I have been targeting the silver gelatin look in my digital editing, I have not been out looking at real silver gelatin prints to get a good sense of what to look for. I need to do this more often. I am inspired to start working in black and white again. I have never felt completely at home with color photography, so this may be a good opportunity to narrow my focus and specialize.
When editing black and white photos digitally, I need to think “smooth” instead of “harsh.” And yes, I do know that the best way to get the look of film is to actually shoot film. However, after doing just that for a period of time late last year it became clear to me that a digital workflow better suits me. If you are going to shoot film, you really should print in the darkroom to get the full benefit.