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Matinee: 'Crafting the Fine Silver Image with Alan Ross' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

29 February 2020

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 243rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Crafting the Fine Silver Image with Alan Ross.

This short 2:50 clip narrated by landscape photographer Alan Ross takes you along for the ride on his recent Ansel Adams Gallery Photography Workshop.

Ross was an assistant to Adams selected by Ansel to be the exclusive printer of the Yosemite Special Edition Photographs, of which he's made nearly 100,000.

This particular workshop was a little unusual, though. It took place just after nearby wildfires had filled the valley with smoke.

But the participants had a trick up their sleeve. They were working in black-and-white film. So the smoke only added an exotic dimension to the images, Ross reports. They captured images they had never seen before.

Film, yes.

Digital isn't going away, Ross says, but "film still has its wonderful characteristics," he says. There's a tangibility to film he finds wonderful, in addition to the magical experience of seeing the image come up in a tray.

So the workshop included not just field work but lab work.

Admittedly, the video is low-key promotion for the workshops but it's so well put together, we felt we had taken a mini-vacation to Yosemite, traipsed around with a big camera and leisurely shot some film we later developed with all the efficiency of a digital capture in the darkroom.

It was an illusion of course but one we thought we'd share.

Just imagine for a moment those guys at the workshop are us doing the very thing we love to do with no particular promise of success but the confidence of knowing what can be done even as a fire rages on and smoke obscures the scene in front of our lens.

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