Kit shares some of his printing and finishing process - and some handy tools.
Contact sheets. I’d be lost without them! I like to take my time to look at them, often in the morning with a coffee. I use a red watercolour pencil to mark potential keepers with a line. I then decide whether or not to print the potential keepers in the darkroom, once I feel I’ve hit my stride in terms of striking the right tonal balances and so on. If I end up printing a potential keeper, the line turns into a cross: X marks the spot!
So, once the FB prints have been made I tend to let them air dry for a couple of days. I’m not one for rushing this part because this ‘slow’ process does give me time to look at the print over several hours as it dries and reflect on what I’ve made…
As some of you might already be aware: I really enjoy spotting my prints. I like to put myself at a table near a window and put on some vinyl. Spotting can be quite a time-consuming process but it’s something I find very rewarding.
Kit’s essential darkroom items
This is the neg carrier from my Focomat V35 enlarger. While I do also print on a Focomat 1C enlarger now again again, the V35 always seems to lure me back…
I used to use these exact same tongs on a weekly basis, almost religiously, when a dear friend in Paris passed on his knowledge of printing to me. I’ll not use any other. When I use these, a part of me is still in Paris, printing in my friend’s darkroom.
It’s probably not the prettiest or fanciest loupe you’ve ever seen but I really love it because it was one which was given to me by my father. He used to use it while he was teaching darkroom photography at college and I think it was given to him by a Nikon Sales Rep. who used to call by every once in a while with lots of treats…
Because the print isn’t finished until it’s been spotted… And all my unfinished prints get torn into a thousand pieces and thrown in the bin.”
Hand-made by me! Can you tell? These, and my hands, are the only two tools I’ll use for dodging a print. The one on the left is made out of a small paper-clip and the one on the right is made out of a large paper-clip… Ingenious or what?