New Series of Articles on Film Testing by Paul Wainwright in the Darkroom Underground

April 10, 2017  •  2 Comments

In a series starting on July 1st, 2017, Paul Wainwright is writing a series of articles in the Darkroom Underground Magazine on how to establish your personal exposure index (EI) rating for your film and how to use this tested EI to establish proper development times for normal (N), expanded (N+) and contracted (N-) development times.  

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Paul's method is based on tonal values in your negatives and prints that you establish visually, versus having to use a densitometer.  I have personally tested Paul's method and I can attest that it will help any film photographer produce high-quality negatives and prints rendering the maximum tonal scale possible for the negative, developer, and paper of choice.  

Article Segments

  • Article 1 – making the zone test negative (July 1, 2017)
  • Article 2 – using this technique to determine personal film speed and development time(s), without a densitometer. (October 1, 2017)
  • Article 3 – checking the spot meter for linearity, and what to do if it’s not linear. (Jan 1, 2018)

"My proper proof contact prints are done at a lower-than-normal contrast (about what we old-timers used to call Grade 1), so my visible zones for a properly exposed and normally developed negative (non-black to non-white) are Zone 1.5 to Zone 8.5. Please be aware that there is LOTS of detail that could be registered on your film above Zone VIII, it's just a pain in the butt to get it to show up in your print (i.e., an opportunity for dodging and burning)."

Paul is a rare photographer because of his masterful mind and his ability to tell stories via his photographic art.  Paul earned a Ph.D. from Yale University and he worked for Bell Laboratories for nearly 25 years before pursuing his love for analog photography full time.  Paul's understanding of film speed and development is unparalleled and his ability to explain the details is a defining moment for many photographers.  

Paul's work has appeared in numerous juried competitions and solo exhibitions, most recently at the Baldwin Gallery at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Panopticon Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, the Mugar Art Gallery at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont.  Wainwright’s work is included in the permanent collections of both private and corporate collectors, including the Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham, New Hampshire. -

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