Video Shows The Process Of Creating A Massive 4x5 Foot Print In The Darkroom

The darkroom has been replaced with Lightroom these days and many of today's photographers do not have the experience of processing their own prints the old fashioned way, much less anything larger than a common size. Here is a video from Norwegian photo assistant Oystein Gronvold which shows the process of producing a large 4x5 foot print in the darkroom.

The print in the video was of an image shot by photographer Dag Alveng. It is a 120x150cm silver print created from an 8x10 negative. Although the video is condensed into a very short 3 minutes the actual process can take upwards of 5 hours to complete. Unlike using Lightroom, if you mess something up there is no undo button, and the process has to be restarted from scratch.

[via PetaPixel]

Peter House's picture

Peter House is a commercial fashion photographer from Toronto, Canada. He shoots over 10,000 pieces of clothing every year for a variety of lookbooks. Clients range from small local boutiques to international brands such as Target, Winners, and Sears. In addition to that Peter runs one of the most popular rental studio's in the Toronto area.

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I've printed up to 16x20, which you can still use an easel for. Projecting on the wall is pretty sick. But I do like his burn technique.

Used to do this in CH, printing cibachrome for a reprographie firma.
Color printing means no lights at all.
And we did ciba composite prints for advertising firms using sheets of halftone film masks done with exacto knives,and pin registration to line the layers up. Dodged, burned, and each slide color corrected and noted for the final print.
Make an exposure, roll the paper up and light safe, lights on and setup for the next exposure.
All before Photoshop. And all in pitch black rooms. Taped and held lots of paper to those walls.
I learned to make sure the right box of paper hadn't been moved while you were setting up. Lol
We did have paper processors 48" wide, ( and one room long),which was state of the art back then.
I miss the challenge of the "mise en place", but not all the heavy chemicals, and dealing with responsible disposal.

Yeah, I worked at a shop where similar stuff was done with C-prints, although I never did big work like that. I did comp work with Ektachrome dupe stock, the biggest was 16x20, which was child's play compared to that. :-) Definitely didn't take 5 hours for those C's tho! No time for that in commercial production. ;-)

Clyde is who inspired me to start taking pictures. He used to do a lot of arts festivals and his work is really amazing. He shoots digital now rather than lug around a 60lb camera, but only switched about a year ago.

Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing :)

This brings back memories. My first job out of art school was a photo mural printer. 4x5 was one of the smallest sizes I did. LL Bean was one of our clients and we would reproduce the paintings they did for their catalogs to be hung in their Freeport store. I would print a 72x72" photo on 73" paper in total darkness. The largest I ever did was for the Norman Rockwell Museum in Sturbridge, MA. We scanned Rockwell's painting Main Street, Sturbridge and then printed cibachromes of it as wall paper that was hung in the lobby of the museum. I think each strip was 48"x144". I don't remember how many strips it took. I haven't been to the museum in several years. It would be interesting to know if it's still up.