Lith & Tone


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A conventional silver gelatin contact print from an 8x10 negative print bleached in ferricyaninde and redeveloped in Moersch EasyLith. The process then repeated without fixing the print after the first partial redevelop.Full details on my site,uk.

It’s easy to colour and print an image with digital photography, and countless identical copies can be made. But to do the same with a silver-based photograph is much more of a challenge.

This gallery shows traditional silver-based work where ‘alternative’ processing has been used. This may be the Lith Process or just straightforward print toning using a variety of chemical solutions.

The Lith process if quite complex and time-consuming, but the result is rather unique. In fact, reproducing exactly the same print more than once is even more of a challenge. Perhaps the leading exponent of the technique is the photographer Tim Rudman, with whom I spent a thoroughly enjoyable few days back in 2009 learning his methods.

Toning silver prints is a fascinating topic about which Tim has written perhaps the most concise and thorough guide in ‘The Master Photographer’s Toning Book‘, now reissued but still rather expensive due to its rarity.

I have experimented with selenium, gold, copper and iron toning and some examples are shown here.

Images shown here originated in most cases from film negatives in a variety of sizes, but some work from digital negatives is also included. In every case though the final print is made in the darkroom in ‘the old-fashioned way’.