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Sharon White 1
Back to Earth, 2019
digital print of a hand-painted gelatin silver print
image 16 x 9

After a 17-year hiatus, I have recently started hand-painting my black and white photographic images again.
Attempting to hand-paint digital images was very frustrating and unsatisfactory. Therefore, I found two excellent old school photographers here in Eugene to help me with this project. Walt O’Brien creates a contact negative of the digital black and white image that I give to him and then Justin C Williams, using the contact negative from Walt, creates an archivally processed silver gelatin print in his darkroom. Now, I can successfully apply and blend the vibrant oil colors to create something special!
Having this art form to enhance or change the feel of an image is very liberating. This artistic method of working with a photograph is also a very “hands on” experience which I don’t have working solely on the computer. Tim Rudman says it best in his book, The Photographers Toning Book, “The sense of creation that is to be had by physically handling a sheet of photographic paper…is very real.”
Beside it being an immensely visual process, it’s also very tactile and satisfying for me to watch my black and white photographic image take on a life and feeling completely different and unique from its beginnings.
These photographs have all been archivally processed, and the transparent oils as well, are archival. After completing an image and allowing it to dry thoroughly I then apply two light coats of an archival varnish made specifically for art mediums. Then the completed images go to Terry and Ann at Raven Frameworks for archival matting and framing.
I will continue working on more images of the Pacific NW, especially the Eugene and surrounding areas.


Sharon White