Lith Printing //
Lith Printing is a photographic printing process that uses standard black-and-white photographic paper with lithographic developer (often heavily diluted standard developer) to produce a print with dark shadows and soft, bright highlights. The effect has been described as “creamy highlights and hard shadows […] an appearance not unlike a charcoal drawing”. Tones, colors, and subtle hues different from standard black-and-white print can be achieved.
|“||Warm tones, hard shadows, enhanced grain and creamy highlights are signature characteristics of lith prints.||”|
|— Ann Pallesen|
A Little History
I learned photography backwards. My first introduction to photography was in a darkroom. I clearly remember being in our high school darkroom alone – no guidance trying to figure out how to print from negatives that were horribly underexposed. I managed to make decent prints from terrible negatives quite often. This was the way I started.
See, I had no idea how to get a proper exposure on film. It was years before I really understood how to use a camera properly, but I was still able to get some pretty cool printing done in the darkroom. That is where I fell in love with photography.
I still consider myself more of a printmaker than picture taker. Seems more artistic I guess. Lith printing is something that really intrigued me along the way. It is an even more mysterious process with it’s own counterculture and following. Prints from Antwon Corbijn of Tom Waits and other musicians seemed so different yet so fitting. These pictures and other lith prints I had seen along the way just seemed special.
The lack of control and uniqueness of each print from a perfectionists standpoint both drives me nuts and draws me in more and more. Each print is unique and imperfect in its own beautiful way. It has proven to be both a time consuming and addicting process that can be highly rewarding and equally frustrating.
For our senior models we really wanted to do something special. Something they could not get anywhere else or any other way. From an artists standpoint I wanted to create artwork. Using my favorite medium, with traditional silver based black and white fiber paper, this lith print series was born. For the seniors, we felt it would truly be a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork we would be creating.
The first problem was that darkroom papers that lith are few and far inbetween these days and most have long been discontinued. Luckily I was able to source a few boxes of long expired paper from Croatia. (The dimensions are even in centimeters – 18×24) The paper I used for these is called Emaks and has very lovely hues when lith printed. In my opinion it is perfect for the portraits we did. It is really hard to show the beauty of these style prints in a digital reproduction.
We will have these pieces on display for Downtown Green Bay’s Gallery Nite at 900 Cedar St. location on Thursday November 17th from 4-9 and would encourage anyone interested to come check them out. You can also contact me at 920 321 8126 to set up a private viewing. These are prints I am very proud of and will have a hard time letting go of. I framed them using the most archival museum quality materials available and each of our models will receive theirs for referring next years Distinction Photo senior models!