My Creative Vision For 2022 - The Handmade Fine Art Large & Ultra Large Format Contact Print

November 12, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Fox Talbot Calotype Paper Negative and Salted PrintFox Talbot Calotype Paper Negative and Salted Print Before I share my creative vision with you for 2022, I want to first tell you what I am doing, why I am doing it, and share the story of how photography was created by Willam Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Daguerre in the 1830's. 

Fox Tablot is the original creator of the "Salt Life", not a contemporary hipster brand that is focused on getting young people to willingly hand over their cash for some fashionable clothes.  That "salt life" will surely come and go, but Fox Talbot, his work, and what he created will be remembered forever.   

Right above this text is one of the first calotype's (paper negatives) and salted paper prints that William Henry Fox Talbot created back in the early 19th century. 

The story of Talbot and his salted paper print and calotype's are the reason I am able to have my creative dreams in the 21st century and create a new type of handmade fine art for art buyers and collectors. The work of Talbot is why we have such creative freedom with photography in the 21st century. 

Salted Platinum Print by Tim LaytonSalted Platinum Print by Tim Layton I am using a customized workflow that Tim Jr and I created based on the historic 19th century salted print that Fox Talbot discovered in the 1830's and patented in 1841. 

The tonal scale of the salt print is far superior than any other type of print, even to this day. 

We platinum tone all of our salt prints to help create a print with excellent long-term stability

Platinum is known for its superior archival performance and so we wanted to take advantage of this in our work.

I am thankful for Talbot, Daguerre, and the many others that truly figured out photography and how to make it permanent.  I get to leverage all of the technical and scientific information that came before me and build on it and create brand new contemporary artwork that is unlike anyone else in the world.

I am just an everyday guy with dreams of doing something meaningful and trying to live out my true purpose.


Salted Platinum Print by Tim LaytonSalted Platinum Print by Tim Layton Beauty: My handmade fine art large and ultra large format contact prints are one of a kind handmade pieces of art that are unique, rare,  and extremely beautiful.

The unmatched tonal scale of my salted prints is built on the work of Henry Fox Talbot that started in the 1830's when be discovered and ultimately invented and patented the salted printing process and photography as a whole.

Still to this day, no other photographic process can match the depth of tonal scale in the salted print created by Talbot.

In my prints, tiny silver particles are embedded into the fibers of an exquisite archival paper and protected by the precious and noble platinum metal.  

Based on my creative vision, I can alter the chemistry and push the image tonality in the direction of classic warm tones or deep and cool blacks, and just about anything else in between. 

By matching the subject with the type and texture of the right paper as well as the unmatched tonal scale of the salted process, an ethereal experience is created for my art collectors and viewers that takes on a three dimensional look.  By using the archival stability of platinum, I am able to create artist original handmade artwork that will last generations. 

Permanence: Platinum is one of the most stable metals known to science and this is the reason why I pursued combining the exquisite tonal range of the historic salted print with the permanence of platinum.

We know that a well made platinum print will last as long as the paper it is made on. That is far longer than any silver gelatin or inkjet print will ever last. Based on credible scientific studies, we know that a well cared for platinum print could last a thousand years or more. 

I have taken the amazing protective qualities that we know about platinum and created a protective shield over the top of the tiny pieces of elemental silver in the salted print. By combing platinum with the salted process, I end up with an archival and beautiful piece of handmade art that will last for lifetimes.  We also have a very rigid archival ten-step workflow that we follow to ensure the archival stability of our artwork.  We also varnish our handmade prints, just like painters have been doing for centuries, to protect the artwork from harmful UV light and atmospheric particles that can degrade the artwork over time. 

Rarity: Today there are only a handful of analog handmade printers in the world creating the type of artwork that Tim Jr. and I create.

In our new digital society, it is rare and unusual for just about anything to be made by hand.  Even within the realm of handmade fine art prints, the vast majority of contemporary photographers are no longer making original in camera analog negatives like we do. 

Instead, they are creating digital negatives that are edited in Photoshop and printed on clear transparency material to be used as a digital negative.

We believe and know from firsthand knowledge that digital negatives and in-camera analog negatives do not respond to light or render tones in the same way.  We see clear advantages to using a pure analog workflow and this is how we will continue to do it for the rest of our lives.   

The difficulty and tedious nature of a handmade analog workflow creates a very high bar for contemporary photographers that rely on digital technology.  I love that every part of my process is slow, contemplative, and thoughtful, and I believe that our artwork when viewed and experienced in person will speak for itself.  

What Are Art Buyers & Collectors Saying About Tim Layton Fine Art?

Ice Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim LaytonIce Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim Layton "I just received my handmade silver gelatin fine art print from Tim Layton and it is absolutely stunning!  

I want other people to know the attention to detail that Tim puts into the making of his fine art.  

As a fellow large format photographer and printer of my own B&W darkroom prints, I can tell you that Tim’s work is exceptional.

Now having this print in my hands, I can tell you that this selenium-toned print looks three-dimensional.  That is high praise considering we work in a two dimensional medium.  If you have not already joined Tim’s Fine Art Print Club, I strongly recommend that you join now! You will not regret your decision. -John D'Angelo, NY

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Chamonix 20x24 Ultra Large Format View CameraChamonix 20x24 Ultra Large Format View Camera In the section above, I shared some important details about our handmade fine art prints and in this section, I share some important technical details with you. 

Hopefully this information will give you a better idea of what I am doing, and the equipment that is needed to create my artwork.

In the new year, I am hyper focused on using my 14x17 ultra large format view camera.

I specifically purchased this camera to make this new artwork.  It is huge, heavy, and requires a lot of time and patience to operate. Everything must be planned out and orchestrated ahead of time because of the nature and difficulty of the work. 

The analog negatives that I create are literally 14 inches by 17 inches in size making for a huge negative. 

Chamonix 20x24 Ultra Large Format View CameraChamonix 20x24 Ultra Large Format View Camera I take my analog ultra large format negatives and place them in contact my my sensitized sheets of museum quality papers by sandwiching the negative and my sensitized paper between two sheets of heavy glass. 

I then expose the "negative and sensitized paper sandwich" to ultra violet light in a special UV light printing machine that I designed and built. 

Talbot and Daguerre back in the 19th century worked with much smaller cameras and systems.  The size and scale of my artwork ups the level of difficulty that very few are willing or able to pursue. 

The hand applied silver halides and platinum chemicals all work together to create the beginning of an unstable image on the paper.  This new and magical image needs to be chemically processed in order to make it archival and permanent. 

I have a documented ten-step archival workflow that is based on 180 years of knowledge from the photographers, researchers, and chemists that came before me.  Both Tim Jr. and I am extremely diligent and we follow our documented workflow to ensure the highest quality of artwork for our art buyers and collectors.

What Are Art Buyers & Collectors Saying About Tim Layton Fine Art?

Ice Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim LaytonIce Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim Layton

"I have been following Tim's journey for some time now; I shoot mostly 4x5 and some 8x10, and have a small business, Zee Zee LightBenders, that specializes in alternative printing in cyanotype, Salt, Kallitype and of course traditional black and white silver gelatin. I have been following Tim's quest on the Wild Horses of Missouri and was lucky enough to purchase "The Nomads" print. I live in Africa, so nothing moves with speed. 60 days later I received the package from Tim, no fault of his, that's how we roll in Africa.

Well, was the wait worth it? - ABSOLUTELY!!!! A beautiful print on textured paper. I went on a Namibia trip to see the wild horses there in January this year so I can absolutely relate to this experience. 

Keep up the good work Tim, love your work and contribution to conservation" -Rodney Rudman, Cape Town, South Africa

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William Henry Fox TalbotWilliam Henry Fox Talbot By the 1830’s photography was about to finally be realized and come together.  

Daguerre was in France making images with silver iodide on metal plates and Talbot was working in England making images with silver chloride on paper.

Working simultaneously in two different countries, one not knowing about the other, but all of that changes when each of their discoveries and work is shared in the press. 

A rivalry begins between Daguerre and Talbot.

William Henry Fox Talbot is a gentleman scholar in England, living in an old Abbey in the village of Lacock. Talbot was a respected man and he was a member of the house of Lords. He was very wealthy and had many personal interests. 

During his honeymoon in Italy, Talbot was trying to make drawings with the camera lucida.  

It is reported that he was frustrated that he didn't possess drawing skills and this inspired him to try and make pictures with the camera obscura. 

He starts to research a way to put a material in the back of the camera that would record the image.  

Think about this for a moment.  He is trying to do something that has never been done before with any real success.  There are clues, but nothing but him and his own imagination. 

Join Tim Layton on YouTubeJoin Tim Layton on YouTube When Talbot returns home to Lacock Abbey he begins a series of new experiments and he is able to produce a photographic image.  

But there was still a problem. 

Talbot was making images using silver chloride and he called this process, photogenic drawings. 

He hand coated paper with a chloride salt and silver nitrate solution and then placed a plant or object on the sensitized paper and set it out in the sun.  

The ultraviolet light reacted with the chloride salt and silver nitrate to essentially create a drawing that was a negative.  It would be dark in the areas where there was nothing blocking the light where the object was located and light tones would appear in the areas blocked by the object.  

Darkroom Underground - Underground - Niepce and Wedgewood were also working on a very similar approach, but they could not figure out how to make the image stable and permanent. 

Through more experimentation, Talbot discovered that if he takes his exposed photo drawing and puts it in a strong bath of salted water, all of the areas that were not exposed to light, meaning the areas that did not convert to metallic silver, become less sensitive to light over time and it would stop printing out. 

At this point, Talbot could share his photogenic prints with people inside the house under candlelight.  

Transport yourself back to the 1830’s and think about how magical this really was at this time.  

Talbot continues to experiment and makes a salted paper print from a negative. 

This was the invention that literally created what we know today as photography. 

He expanded his photogenic drawing work and found a way to make the prints permanent by fixing them with sodium thiosulfate (hypo). 

Sir John Hershel discovered sodium thiosulfate could remove the unwanted silver halides and make the image more stable and permanent and Talbot ran with this and applied it to his photogenic drawing process. 

Salted paper prints are made in a way that allows the salt and silver nitrate to sink into the fibers of the paper.  Depending on the paper used a soft looking image was created.

In contrast, the Daguerreotype was extremely sharp and crisp looking and this is the first hint of photography being a vehicle for recording information versus being something artistic. 

Talbot goes on to improve the process and creates the calotype paper negative.  The calotype uses silver iodide vs. silver chloride because he learned from Daguerre that it was more sensitive to light. 

This allowed Talbot to create what we now know as the latent image on the paper negative in 1840.  The latent image needed to be developed by a chemical versus printing out like the salted paper print. He used gallic acid to develop the hidden latent image on the calotype. 

Now he places the Calotype into the camera, creates and exposure, and then places the calotype in contact with the sensitized silver chloride paper to create a positive print that was permanent.  

He fixes the negatives with hypo, just like the salted paper print. 

It finally all comes together between making a negative in the camera and contact printing it to a positive. This is the beginning of modern photography as we know it today over 180 years later. 

Jouis DaguerreJouis Daguerre In my mind both Daguerre and Talbot co-invented photography.  They needed each other and one without the other may not have been able to finalize their research and work. 

Talbot used his new process to create a new series of photographs and work that we can still see today.  The Pencil of Nature was his first formal publication of photography and text explaining his process. The original Pencil of Nature contains the original salted paper prints that he created with his new process.  That had to be simply amazing at this time. 

The Pencil of Nature was originally published as a serial between1844 and 1846 and it was the first book in history to be illustrated entirely with photographs.

Talbot hoped to spur public interest in photography but was forced to cease publication after just six installments. In its time, The Pencil of Nature was not a commercial success; however, more than 180 years later, it is recognized as a major contribution to the history of photography. 

Indeed, it has been said that the importance of this book is comparable to that of the Gutenberg Bible in the history of printing. 

In 1840 Fox Talbot invented the Calotype process—the precursor to film cameras—transforming everyday subjects into works of art. 

His twenty-four resulting prints, which include architectural studies, local landscapes, still lifes, close-ups, and even a carefully executed portrait, remain strikingly modern and quietly beautiful.

Just like Talbot in the 1840’s, I feel compelled to make handmade salted contact prints with my analog large and ultra large format view cameras and create photographic works of art.  

My mission and purpose is different from Talbot's, but we share the same love of photography and the arts.

I am building on the work of Talbots calotype (paper negative) and salted paper prints and using the archival properties of platinum to ultimately create a brand series of artist original handmade prints for our collectors. 

What Are Art Buyers & Collectors Saying About Tim Layton Fine Art?

Ice Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim LaytonIce Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim Layton

"The artwork by Tim Layton is very unique, all handmade, from the negative to the final print on Ilford MGIV fiber paper and gently toned in selenium.  

The tones are subtle, and distinct, and placed in just the right grey scale zones so the overall contrast of the print feels complete - from pitch black to delicate highlights.

Holding one of his prints in your hands and viewing it carefully in daylight will reveal the beauty of his handmade darkroom prints.  In addition, Tim's prints are simply beautiful and artistic." -Anders Blomqvist, Sweden

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If you want to follow along as I create this new artwork, you can get the latest updates about the new artwork and the history in my Free Darkroom Diary.

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What Are Members Saying About The Darkroom Underground?

Join Tim Layton on YouTubeJoin Tim Layton on YouTube There is no shortage of people providing information on photography on YouTube and the internet.   Some  are even aimed at the analog photographer, but what Tim has done with the Darkroom Underground (DU) is nothing short of pure brilliance.  DU is not only for the analog photographer it is also for the Large Format &  Ultra Large Format Photographer.  I don’t know of anyone else who is covering ULF.

He has simplified learning with wonderful videos that are supplemented with show notes so you have all the information for you to do this on your own. But unlike anything else out there you have Tim as a resource, too. He has always been easily available for questions or clarification and he welcomes suggestions for future shows.

If you are serious about learning all aspects of analog and LF/ULF this is the place to be. -Michael Wellman

"Tim Layton is providing very useful information for all those who are interested in analog photography and large format cameras. He covers in a very detailed and entertaining way the different aspects of this field. He always takes the time to explain the details and share all his know-how. Nothing is hidden or secret. Everything is on the table. 

The videos and blogs are shot and edited in a very professional way. Tim is always ready to receive and share the suggestions and ideas coming from other people. He is a very good community manager. 

I would like also to underline the growing role of his son, Tim Junior who contributes also greatly to the quality of the videos, text and explanation. Last but not least, Tim is always welcoming suggestions and questions and ready to interact. I recommend warmly the work of Tim Layton. -Stéfane France


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