"Campfire under the MilkyWay"
For information on Gallery Los Olivos, click here.
Over the years, I have worked in several somewhat distinct media, including, of course, traditional darkroom and silver printing, various internegative processes, and in recent years, a variety of inkjet media. With the advent of modern inkjet printers and inks, it became clear that the silver print had become an "alternative" medium. The wet process has simply been eclipsed by the best modern digital approaches. My effort has been to push the envelope in B&W photography, which has taken a back seat to color by the major printer companies. As a former darkroom worker who often mixed his own developers from the raw components (specifically, POTA for Tech Pan film), the B&W inkset development work I did came rather naturally. (A brother who was a PhD chemist in the carbon field didn't hurt.)
At www.PaulRoark.com/BW-Info/ I cover or link to numerous current as well as older inksets and workflows that I have used in the past. MIS Associates (inksupply.com) continues to sell many of the older inksets that I developed; all such work by me has been on an open-source, royalty-free basis. I just make and continue to make what I want and have allowed all to use my formulas and profiles as they saw fit. Of particular interest to B&W printers who want the best for the least, the generic dilution base formulas for diluting matte black pigment inks is also linked to this page. These allow creative printers to make their own unique and very cost effective inksets.
My primary wide format printers now have variants of what I call a "Carbon Variable Tone" inkset in them. This puts 100% carbon pigments, which are by far the most lightfast, in all but one of the ink positions. In one ink position I have a specially formulated "toner" that is light blue. This gives a print tone range from warm (natural carbon) to neutral, while at the same time keeping the job of making profiles rather simple.
The basics of the best B&W printing are simply to keep the carbon content as high as possible for the tone you want, and use the best pigments available. This maximizes longevity and virtually emiminates artifacts such as metamerism.
My current favorite camera is a Sony a7rii that has been modified by having a KolariVision
Ultra-Thin cover glass replace the thick cover glass of the OEM Sony.
What it allows me to do is use Leica-M lenses on the state of the art Sony A7r
series of full frame cameras.
Note that when this modification is made, the OEM Sony optics no longer give a good
image. The cover glass is part of the optical formula. I've chosen to stay with
Leica-M manual focus optics. In my view, this combines the best optics with
the best full frame sensor.
For technical information on lens performance, see the MTF curves/charts at https://www.paulroark.com/MTF-Curves-LiecaM-Sony.jpg.
In general, B&W prints are available in a number of sizes from 8x10 up to 44" wide (9800). All are printed with a dedicated B&W, carbon pigment inkset of my own design). I do not sell color prints.
Large canvas prints will be limited to 10 per image on canvas. This does not affect the separate limits on other media, such as Arches watercolor paper.
Arches (and other un-coated) watercolor full sheet prints are also limited to 10 per image.
All of my prints are made individually, as needed. It is my intention to never become a large volume printer.
Generally, I think the "limited edition" approach has to be approached cautiously for the type of photography and printing that I do. Images evolve and change with time, as my then-current preferences for the look of a print change, as do the technology and materials I use to make the print. As such, my approach to this issue is sometimes a bit different than those who are making copies of a painting. I try to balance the limited quantity with the ability of the image to evolve (and my life expectancy, of course).
Note that Ansel Adams sold open edition prints -- massive numbers, often printed by assistants. His most famous images improved as he refined his printing techniques and as materials improved. Stopping the evolution of an image is a big mistake for photographers who are also printers pushing the limits of the medium. "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" is Mr. Adams' most famous example of how prints can evolve.
Arches prints - "Carbon on Cotton": I consider my most archival print technology to be carbon pigments on Arches Hot Press (uncoated) watercolor paper. Note that I often print on the back side of the arches for a more interesting texture and better durability. This paper is not inkjet paper, but the finest cotton-based watercolor paper. With no coating to crack or flake off, it is expected to have a much longer life than coated inkjet papers. Carbon pigments are also not standard inkjet pigments. They are much more lightfast than any major commercial printing system. This "carbon on cotton" medium, with the inkset and workflow being developed by me, establishes a benchmark of archival imaging and is a rather unique printing technology that I am proud to have pioneered. As noted above, I have imposed a lifetime limit on all such images. I will never produce more than one full sheet carbon on Arches print per week. This limit also applies to large canvas prints, but for a different reason -- their size.
Carbon pigment on Arches prints I make for others using their files/images are not included in any of these limits.
Inkjet paper prints - Unless otherwise stated, prints are sold on an open edition basis. Most of these are the 11x14 prints noted above, but some are of other sizes. As with all of my fine art prints, however, I make one print at a time, as needed. Thus the overall number of prints I make will never be very high.
Canvas prints - I had a show in September of 2017 that featured large canvas prints. While it was well received, I tend to favor the Red River Satin paper for even large prints. The canvas texture interfers somewhat with the details of the photos. On the other hand, for huge prints, it is a medium that does have a place in B&W photography. Note, however, that only a few of the canvas media have the dmax needed for good B&W printing.
The October, 2010 issue of "Cowboys & Indians" magazine also has a short article about me. See it here.
The first of my 100% carbon inksets, sold by MIS Associates, is written up in Shutterbug magazine. The article is on line here. My carbon printing information page is here
I use several Red River Paper products and beta test some of their papers. They have a short blurb about my work here.
The December 2013 "Shutterbug" magazine, in the Digital Help column regarding inks suggested, "visiting a black-and-white expert's website, www.PaulRoark.com."
In June 2018 I was featured on the Red River webpage/blog. The article can be see here.
From mid-Februry to mid-April 2019 a broad cross-section of my work was featured at the Elverhoj Museum in
Solvang, California. Click
here for a copy of the postcard relating to the exhibit. For a copy of the review of the Elverhoj show by the SB Newspress,
And there is always an exhibit of my work at Gallery Los Olivos (see above).
Thank you for visiting my humble website.
Solvang, CA, USA
All Photographs -- Copyright 1980-2021 Paul Roark -- All Rights Reserved