Process of Hand Coloring Photographs

The Art behind the process

The silver gelatin photographs are taken with various single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, and/or a medium format camera, using black and white film, such as Ilford HP5 Plus or Delta Universal, Kodak T-Max 400, Tr-X, or Artista Black and White, etc.

After processing the film with Kodak D-76 developer, contact sheets are made, whereas images are selected for making test strips using polycontrast filters and various time exposure intervals. The enlarger used is a Beseler 23CII. The paper most often used for the prints is RC polycontrast, multi-grade, poly-print, etc., preferably matte, pearl, luster, etc., surfaces. The test strips are then developed using Dektol, stop, and fixer, then washed and dried. After determining the desired amount of time and contrast, prints are made as either 11" x 14" or 8" x 10" photographs. Cropping changes the composition of each photograph.


Each Photograph is an Original Artwork

For sepia-toned prints, a two-part bleach bath and toner are used. For hand coloring the silver gelatin prints, Marshall's photo oils, photo pens and/or Prisma pencils are used. All prints are done by hand by the artist, with no lithographic or other processes involved. Each photograph is an original art piece. There are variations from one photograph to another -- some subtle, others very dramatic. Photographs are mounted using acid-free pre-cut mats and mounting board then inserted into protective sleeves. The following mat sizes are used: 11" x 14" for 8" x 10" photographs, 16" x 20" photographs.