One of the jobs I’ve been most fortunate to print over the past few months has been an exhibition for Joe Donnelly.

The images were all shot digitally, using a Leica M Monochrom digital camera and the world’s fastest aspherical lens, the Leica 50mm Noctilux‑M f/0.95. A typical image in the series would have been made with the lens wide open at f/0.95, approximately a 2 second exposure and the camera set to ISO 10,000. All the images were captured in virtually no light or just one candle.

The majority of the images were printed in gelatin-silver while several were printed in polymergravure.

After I had edited the files in Photoshop, I made either negatives (for silver prints) or positives (for the photogravures).

The silver prints were made in a darkroom, using traditional methods, gelatin-silver paper and chemistry on two different papers – Foma for its warmth or Adox for cooler, more neutral tones. For the polymer gravures I used Hahnemühle Copperplate paper and Charbonnel inks.

Left: After John Singer Sargent — gelatin-silver print
Right: Black, Brown and Beige (Melissa in Shawl) — photogravure


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