The re-emergence of chemical toning

We live in interesting times as far as black-&-white printmaking is concerned. The impact of digital technology on the photographic world in general has been immense. In the world of printmaking in particular, the largest effect has undoubtedly been on the colour market.
Whilst colour printers have forsaken their darkrooms in droves in favour of their digital-light rooms I as an individual in recent years have embraced both mediums, but enhanced and added to my darkroom and traditional processes, to quote a good friend and photographer of mine “at times you seem to be heading in the complete opposite direction to the rest of us”

I am now finding a steady re-emergence in demand for traditional wet monochrome prints, with the grand old skill of chemical toning (adding subtle colour) as was the art long before the invention of colour photography to be very sort after. The various colours that can be produced with the different combinations of chemicals, paper developers and true fibre paper are endless!

As colour has gone digital analogue black-&-white it seems is returning to that distinctive craft of years gone by.
People seem to want that exclusive retro hand printed piece of fine art, with the added archival permanence gained in the toning process from attack by airborne external pollutants and oxidants that chip away at your precious print, as then you will be able to enjoy your image’s sparkle and contrast just as it was the day you acquired it for many decades to come.

Steve Denby - 2008