The Spring 2020 Complete Photographic Process for B&W


The Spring 2020 Complete Photographic Process for B&W

from 200.00

Instructor: Bruce Barnbaum

May 31, 2020 (9:00 a.m.) to June 5, 2020 (2:00 p.m.)

Workshop Fee: $1425 (includes complete lab fees)

Deposit amount: $200 (non-refundable)

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Photograph Above: Mt., Shasta, Incoming Storm

The resurgence toward traditional film/darkroom photography keeps gaining momentum. This is evident by Bruce having been invited to teach three "traditional-only" photography workshops in 2018: one at the Photography Center Northwest (PCNW) in Seattle, Washington (near Bruce's home) and two others in Germany, under the sponsorship of Jobo, the renowned manufacturer of traditional darkroom processing equipment. Through his own photography, his books, and his workshops, Bruce is recognized as a leading figure in photography today, and is in demand for his clear, understandable way of explaining the thinking and methodology of photography, both outdoor in the field, and indoors in the darkroom. This "Complete Photographic Process" workshop goes through the full process from beginning to end, and does it in remarkable depth in just six days. 

The traditional b&w silver print remains the gold standard for quality imagery available today! It is unmatched by digital approaches. This workshop based at Bruce's home/studio will show you why. Nobody explains the Ansel Adams Zone System of negative exposure or the most direct way to obtain fine darkroom prints better than Bruce, showing that the so-called technical difficulties are truly trivial. Bruce makes them easily understood and usable almost immediately. Seeing both in use, rather than just reading explanations about them, is a further benefit…or as Bruce puts it, “It difficult to write an essay about how to tie a shoelace, but it’s simple to do it once you see it demonstrated.”

The traditional photographic process is truly "hands-on," allowing you to create your image from beginning to end, and in the end, no ink-jet print equals the quality and depth of a fine silver-gelatin print derived from a traditional negative. Furthermore, ink-jet prints do not compete with the archival longevity of the traditional print. This workshop employs traditional materials—b&w film, variable contrast enlarging paper, darkroom chemistry and dichroic LPL enlargers. It emphasizes the most critical concepts of light, composition, relationships of elements within the scene, and ultimately, the artistic expression within you that you put into the final image...rather than the latest tricks (apps) that so dominate digital approaches. You will see and personally experience the fine artistic control you have at every step of the traditional process, especially when you step up to the enlargers to print your own negatives. No other workshop gives you the opportunity to work with the finest enlargers printing your own negatives. 

The most important part of photography is seeing and imagining, and the second most important part is carrying those qualities through to a final meaningful image. The traditional silver-gelatin b&w print conveys that vision with unmatched brilliance and subtlety. You'll learn an enormous amount about creating a mood and interpreting a scene to turn it into your own vision. You'll learn how to express yourself better about the world that is photographically important to you, and how you can create whole new worlds. Even if you do digital work, you'll learn a great deal of value from this workshop. Why? Because digital techniques are derived directly from traditional methods. (For those who want a more complete discussion of traditional and digital approaches, see “Thoughts on Digital Photography” on this website.)

Today’s b&w darkroom is radically different—and far more versatile—from what it was in the distant past. High quality variable contrast papers, dichroic enlarger heads (making full use of variable contrast papers, from highest to lowest contrast levels), the reemergence of masking and seldom-used toning techniques, combine to make the darkroom an exciting, creative place. It is not only a place giving you extraordinary control and exactness, it is also a contemplative place—a sanctuary—where you can work at your own pace to create fine art. Our emphasis remains focused on one central goal: photography as an artistic, expressive form of non-verbal communication. 

This popular and informative hands-on workshop allows you to print your negatives with immediate response and suggestions of improvement from Bruce. The improvements that you see during the workshop tend to be astounding. The workshop explains all aspects of the modern b&w process, starting with finding subject matter that means something to you, bringing out its strongest compositional and emotional elements, properly exposing and developing the negative and on to high quality printing of the negative. In this workshop you'll see fine prints, you'll see how they're produced, and you'll produce them yourself because it's other words, you get to print your own work in Bruce's fully equipped, state-of-the-art darkroom (featuring seven identical LPL enlargers accepting negatives from 35mm to 4x5") with printing suggestions and help from Bruce throughout. We do not know of another workshop that offers this opportunity. You’ll learn how to expose and develop your negatives to obtain the densities and separations that make your prints glow. You’ll learn about the astounding range that film encompasses—far greater than most people understand, far more than is normally taught, and far beyond the range of digital sensors—and how to fully use that range to get the most out of your negatives. You’ll see demonstrations of printing by a master printer using the highest quality papers, including unique methods of burning and dodging and potassium ferricyanide bleaching for refined control and additional print brilliance. Rounding out the demonstrations will be selenium toning of prints (and perhaps also of negatives to increase their contrast level), full archival processing of prints, plus mounting and spotting of prints for gallery or museum display. 

The days are filled with information...and fun! You'll also get wonderful refreshments throughout the day, every day, prepared by Bruce's lovely wife, Sonia Karen, and her fabulous breakfasts to start each day on the right note. A few hugs, barks, and licks from Bruce's and Karen's dogs makes the week even more pleasurable.

NOTE: the workshop begins Sunday morning, May 31 after breakfast at Bruce’s home. We request all students arrive the evening prior to the workshop (May 30), and join us at 7 p.m. for an informal get-together with wine, dessert, informally meeting one another and seeing the exceptional workshop facilities. The workshop runs through Friday afternoon, June 6, ending at about 2 p.m. Please plan your travel to allow full participation in this workshop.

Accommodations: Participants can stay at Bruce and Karen's home or guest house, or at the nearby “Paca Pride” guest ranch, or camping on Bruce and Karen’s property, or at U.S. Forest Service campgrounds nearby. Once you sign up for the workshop, we will send you complete information about all accommodations. Just fill in the form and return it to us, and we'll make all reservations on your behalf, beginning the Saturday night, just before the workshop begins, and ending Thursday night prior to the close of the workshop.

More Details About the Workshop: The workshop is in a beautiful setting, just over an hour’s drive north of Seattle, Bruce’s darkroom/classroom/gallery facilities are in his home surrounded by over a hundred acres of forests, meadows and marshes. all below Mt. Pilchuck, towering more than 4,000' above the Bruce and Karen's home. There is immediate access to forest and mountain hiking trails nearby on U.S. Forest Service land of the rugged North Cascade Mountains of Washington State. 

Outdoor sessions in these surroundings concentrate on light, composition, and effective use of the Ansel Adams Zone System for exposure. You’ll learn how to use light as a tool for your interpretation, and you’ll see how it applies to any subject matter: portraits, architecture, still life, etc., outdoors or indoors.

Indoor sessions feature probing discussions and constructive evaluations of each student’s negatives and prints, with suggestions of improvements that can be made to strengthen your statement. Because you get feedback from your fellow students during these sessions, as well as from Bruce, you'll have new ammunition for evaluating your own work in the future.

Bruce's seven LPL dichroic enlargers, accepting negatives from 35mm to 4x5, gives every student the best possible equipment to produce the best possible prints. You'll print your own negatives—either those you bring to the workshop or expose and develop during the workshop—with ample time for you to try new printing techniques soon after seeing them demonstrated by Bruce. You will experience an immediate boost in the quality of your imagery. That's a guarantee!

The goal of this workshop is the thorough integration of the entire photographic process. You’ll learn how to envision your final print while viewing the scene from behind the camera, and then to create a strategy of negative exposure, negative development, and darkroom printing to fulfill that vision. No workshop program does this better.


To register for this workshop via the website, please pay the full amount ($1,425) or the non-refundable deposit ($200) using your Visa or Mastercard credit card (sorry, no other credit cards). If you register with a deposit, the full payment is due 6 weeks prior to the workshop. If you have specific questions, please email Bruce at or phone him at (360) 691-4105.


Alternatively, to register by regular mail:

Download the workshop application to your computer from here: 
Workshop Application.doc  or a PDF version: Workshop-Application.pdf

Print it out, fill it in, and send it to:

Photographic Arts Workshops
P.O.Box 1791
Granite Falls, WA 98252

If you have questions that requires immediate answers, email Bruce at or phone him at (360) 691-4105.