Silver Gelatin Workshops led by Lewis Oldham at Rabbit Hole Studios

Kate recently had the opportunity to trial a two-day Silver Gelatin workshop run by Lewis David Oldham at Rabbit Hole Studios at Compstall Mill, Stockport. Lewis has comprehensive knowledge of the technical side of producing outstanding photographs, with a keen interest in architecture, landscape and portraiture. He co-owns Rabbit Hole Studios, located in Compstall Mill, Stockport, with photographer Martina Jones and together they run alternative processes workshops and photograph interiors, portraits and products.

Day 1 began with a survey of silver gelatin prints on a range of papers, toned with a range of toners. After a coffee and a chat, and armed with a Fuji 6×9 and 120mm black and white Fomapan film, an exploration of the gorgeous autumn woods surrounding Compstall Mill began. Lewis was a clear and patient guide on the subject loading film, light metres and F-stops, resulting in photographs of trees, flowers and roots, as well as an overflowing dustbin and the decaying innards of an abandoned building.

Back at the studio, Lewis provided clear and informative guidance on the printing process, covering everything from making a contact print on resin-coated paper, selecting negatives to print and making and interpreting a test strip to putting that interpretation into practice. Some of the best moments from the course included learning split grade printing as well as dodging and burning a print. Over the course of the two days, Kate gained confidence in the process. Once she had a print she was happy with on resin-coated paper, Lewis taught her how to print on fibre based paper, creating a number of copies to variously tone with selenium, sulphide, split sulphide/selenium and gold. The resulting sepia-toned print on fibre based paper is shown below.

Lewis Oldham is a highly knowledgeable teacher whose weekend Silver Gelatin course we can’t recommend enough. It was a brilliant couple of days, during which the processes of shooting film, developing, printing and toning were illuminated in a memorable and inspiring manner. This workshop will give you the tools to make a print from conception through to printing for an exhibition.

silver gelatin print
Kate’s sepia-toned print of an abandoned building, on fibre based paper.

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