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Notable: Darkroom Edition 2016 by John Sexton Released

In Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on December 13, 2016 at 1:04 pm
Trees In Snow, Winter by John Sexton

Trees in Snow, Winter Sn, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite Valley, CA, 1989, John Sexton

Well, the weather’s turned frightful, but photographs are never not delightful. John Sexton is taking part in the holiday spirit with a special limited release of his Trees in Snow, inspired by his Darkroom Edition fundraiser 30 years ago.

The first limited edition print I released was my image Birch Trunks, New Hampshire. It was offered under the mantle of Darkroom Edition 1986 thirty years ago. The idea behind that limited edition print was to generate funds for the design and construction of our studio darkroom complex in Carmel Valley. Fortunately the edition was a great success, and we are still enjoying the luxury of working in such a fine darkroom, studio, and workshop facility. Much to my surprise I received a number of letters (this was long before emails and eNewsletters!) asking if I would be offering another Darkroom Edition. It had never crossed my mind. Over the years I have offered six previous Darkroom Edition limited edition prints – all of which have sold out. Since 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Darkroom Edition series, it seemed like a perfect time to rejuvenate the idea.

This image has held a special place in my heart since I made the negative and first printed it a number of years ago. I liked the image so much that I selected it as Plate One in my book Recollections: Three Decades of Photographs. I made this image during a winter trip to my favorite photographic location, Yosemite Valley. The day started out with a heavy overcast that soon lead to a steady snowfall. I made a few negatives as I explored the valley, and the snow kept falling and falling. In early afternoon the clouds suddenly broke and strong, crisp low-angle sunlight raked across El Capitan Meadow. The light moved quickly so I had to respond in kind. Using the 150 mm lens on my 4×5 Linhof Technika camera I made an exposure of 1/2 second at f/45. The high contrast between the intense sunlight on the bright snow and the deep shadows in the background forest necessitated N-1 reduced development, a technique to allow the negative to accommodate such a high contrast situation.

It is an understatement to say that this negative is difficult to print. Dodging takes place during the entire basic exposure with both hands. This is followed by extensive burning in, as well as localized print flashing, a technique to add detail in extremely bright areas. While the printing techniques are challenging, the excitement one gets when turning on the white lights in the darkroom and seeing a print that is “just right” makes it all worthwhile.

These 11 x 14″ silver gelatin prints will be offered in a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered prints along with ten Artist’s Proofs. There will be no reprints. For this special edition, Sexton has reduced the price of the print by 20%. Prints are already shipping, so if you feel the need, act now.

For More Information: John Sexton

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