My work is sold in editions as toned silver gelatin prints. They are printed on Ilford warmtone FB semi-matt paper then bleached and toned with thiocarbamide which gives a range of tones; warm in the mid to high tones and cooler in the darker areas of the print. It also adds to the level of archival permanence of the silver in the print.
It may seem a form of madness to go back to negative material from a digital file when there are no so many inks and 'fine art' papers to choose from but I went to the 'old school' and I still haven't found a digital print that can match the beauty of a finely crafted darkroom print.
The traditional print comes into its own where an image has large areas of shadow detail as many of mine do. The chemical process can hold these details in a more pleasing way than I have yet to find in a purely digital process. I am sure though, that at the current rate of progress, this discrepancy will soon disappear.
Some of the colour 'giclee/inkjet' prints look stunning, especially when an image comprises vibrant colours and the beautiful 'art papers' look and feel superb but I have never been able to hold all my shadow details using these rougher, textured finishes. It is a compromise I cannot yet bring myself to make even though it would considerably cut the costs of my processing and printing bills.
Winging their way to me now are some test prints that Mike Crawford has made for me on Harman Technology's (Ilford) new paper developed for making BW inkjet prints. Mike has been helping Ilford to fine-tune these new products and he tells me thay are excellent. I will find out for myself in a few days time and will let you know how they look.
Mike is the magician who makes my silver gelatin prints which were once described by the Ricco Maresca Gallery in New York as some of the most beautiful prints they had ever seen. High praise indeed!