The Craft of Toning Black & White Photographs

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Instructor Barry Umstead

Black & white photographs are toned for two basic reasons:  to protect them, without changing their appearance, or to alter the way they look, while also protecting them. Traditional B&W photographs made in a wet darkroom are called gelatin silver prints (gsp).  The visible tones of a gsp are made of silver, suspended in gelatin on a paper support. If left untoned, the silver will react to our atmosphere with unwanted consequences. Some toning procedures replace the silver with a non-reactive metal while other procedures introduce non-reactive metals that bond to the silver, creating a protective coating.   Students will be able to use both types of toning procedures.

BRING TO FIRST CLASS: Bring to class:  Black & White photographs:  up to twenty-five 8x10” prints, OR fifteen 11x14” prints, OR six 16x20 prints (or a combination of sizes)

Sign up for extra time in the Darkroom! Check out our B&W Darkroom Open Lab times!

$25 materials fee paid to the instructor
1 meeting
Fort Mason (2 Marina Blvd – Bldg B, San Francisco, CA 94123)
Room 106


Instructor Bio:

Barry Umstead has been making Black & White photographs since before most of his students were knee-high to a grasshopper.  When he took his first Beginning B&W Photo class, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House so, yeah, he’s been doing this awhile.  While he cannot claim to have studied with Ansel Adams, he did once say hello to Ruth Bernhard in a local coffee shop. 

He has taught photography classes and workshops for several establishments in the SF Bay Area, including UCBerkeley, the Bay Area Photographer’s Collective, and, most recently, the much-missed RayKo Photo Center.  His own B&W photographs have been shown and published locally and internationally and were acquired by a regional art museum for their permanent collection.

Barry is looking forward to luring all sorts of students, newbies and old hands alike, to the gorgeous Fort Mason setting to introduce or reacquaint them to the awesome magic of making photographic prints in a traditional wet darkroom.  After all these eons, he is still truly, madly, deeply in love with the art form and is dedicated to spreading his love far and wide.