A Little Bit Of Lith

A lith print of trees. Taken at Lake Community Gardens, Isle Of Wight
Trees at Lake Community Gardens, Isle Of Wight – A Lith Print.

So now I’ve splashed some paint on the blank canvas of this blog, let’s jump right in. Lith Printing. What is it? Well it’s a wet darkroom process that’s best described in this article by Tim Rudman. The short of it is, it’s an infectious development process, where blacks get blacker quicker, the blacker they are. This is, however, a gross simplification, but it will do. If you’re interested in lith printing, Tim Rudman’s books (“The Master Photographer’s Lith Printing Course” and “The World of Lith Printing”) are the best place to start.

A lith print of a woman walking down a pavement with buildings either side.
The Mall – A Lith Print

I don’t remember when I first heard about lith printing, but what I do know, is that I was seduced by it. The deep blacks. The subtle highlights. The tones of the print. I liked the uniqueness of the individual images. No two lith prints are the same (though if you’re fastidious, you can make very similar ones). The same negative, printed several times and developed in the same batch of developer will turn out differently. There are so many variables that it can be an unwieldy beast to work with.

A lith print of some buildings
Union Street, Ryde – A Lith Print (taken with a lensbaby)

Then there are the developing times. Working at high dilutions of developer can lead to printing times in excess of 15 minutes, especially as the developer becomes more exhausted and oxidises. But as I said, it’s worth it! Suffice it to say, there will be plenty of lith prints on this blog.

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