DAN. WHEELER  of The Photo Parlour

THE PHOTO PARLOUR - April 13th & 14th 2019

Enjoy two days immersed in the particular pleasures of the silver print.


To make a black and white print is basically a simple process.One can teach it, at it's simplest, in an afternoon.It's refinements can then be the work of a lifetime. Our black and white printing workshop can speed up that process, providing both practical working methods and ways of thinking about the print, about tonality and it's subtleties.

The workshop is built around the twin disciplines of PREVISUALISATION and POSTVISUALISATION.

Previsualisation, the realisation that the print begins not in the darkroom but at the moment of exposure of the negative, when the subject is first recognised. It is the ability to mentally translate the colours of the world into tone, and then to have sufficient control of process to realise that tonal structure in the negative and the print. We approach this through a very simple but effective introduction to the Zone System in practice.

Postvisualisation is the play of the darkroom, the exploration of a negative through varying exposure and contrast controls to explore the potential prints that a negative may yield. We approach this through a rethinking of the test strip, used not only to give a 'correct' exposure but to suggest a range of possibilities. We demonstrate this in practice through the making of alternative prints from a negative.

The structure of the workshop.


Looking at a wide range of prints of all tonalities. Exploring tone in relation to the grey scale allowing an analysis and understanding of varied tonal structures.

A consideration of the emotional and metaphoric impact of different tonal structures, low key and high key prints. B&W the extremes of a culturally given symbolic system. A brief introduction to the zone system, negative exposure and development to allow exploration of full tonal scale prints or prints of extreme tonality.


Recognising under and over exposure and development. Reading distribution of highlight and shadow densities to assess necessary print controls and to establish the most useful placement of test strip. Assessing participants negatives in preparation for printing.


The basic problem of black and white photography is control of contrast. In the negative contrast is controlled by development. In the print by a hierarchy of controls, the most fundamental is the choice of contrast filter. we will explore choice of filter to control overall contrast, split filter printing, pre exposure etc. and local controls to nuance the tonal structure of the print through burning and dodging.


Participants are allocated an enlarger and spend the day in supervised printing. The Photo Parlour has enlargers from 35mm to 5x4 and everyone has a dedicated enlarger for use throughout the day. After the printing session a selection of print are selenium toned and we finish with a spotting demonstration and a consideration of the days prints.

Finally, a word about The Photo Parlour. It is, I think, a unique venue. A large, welcoming space dedicated to photography in all its forms. A good library of photographic monographs and a comfortable area in which to sit, chat, discuss, to look at and enjoy the books. Spaces for exhibition and unusually well equipped darkrooms. And copious tea, coffee and biscuits!

The workshop is suitable for both beginning or experienced printers. we don't attempt to oversimplify, but we are patient in explanation and happy to answer questions and to repeat our answers. We have had people who are using the darkroom for the first time and who have left with glowing prints of appropriate contrast and incorporating all local controls. If you are an experienced printer we will, I think, at least challenge and hopefully expand your ways of both making and thinking about silver print.


The group is limited to six people to enable demonstrations to be visible to all and to allow intense teaching addressing participants personal concerns.

WE HAVE PLACES LEFT FOR April 13th & 14th

To book contact Dan Wheeler @ThePhotoParlour


                                                 01159 867776