Surreal Portraits Created by Painting Developer Onto Photo Paper

At first glance, photographer Timothy Pakron’s “Silver Print” series of portraits might look like ink paintings or some kind of CG art. They’re actually photographs created by hand painting developer onto photo paper in the darkroom instead of immersing the paper entirely in the solution. Pakron writes,

By using the familiarity of the face as the template, my process involves hand painting the developer in the darkroom, intentionally revealing specific, desired aspects of the face in the negative. Doing so creates a stark negative space that gives the portrait a lucidity. Instead of creating a realistic, straight from film portrait, I am more interested in exploring how the original image can be brought to the surface in alternative ways. The portraits embody their own unique strangeness.

Silver Prints by Timothy Pakron (via Beautiful/Decay)

Image credits: Photographs by Timothy Pakron and used with permission

  • Donovan Rekanize Fannon

    File that into the “Why didn’t I think of that?” box. I like it a lot.

  • Flgraphics

    I was thinking exactly that Donovan was

  • bob cooley

    Did this 20 years ago in college… and did a gallery show of it.  No WWW back in the day :)

  • James Robinson

    i did this at college too, but not quite as effectively, nice work :)

  • Emma Brabrook

    I really like this, they really do have a quality of their own. Sort of like a cross between illustration and photography. Like others have said, it makes me wish I’d thought of doing it too!

  • Daniel Scarbrough

    I did this when I ran a small chain of one hour photo labs in Richmond,VA. I got bored and painted some abstract shapes on exposed paper with developer then ran it through the bleach and stop baths. Created some cool images for frames. Once people came in and saw them I started getting offers for my “art”. I then started experimenting with doing the images like the artist above but the owner of the the business lost all the shops for tax fraud(and it was around 1998-99 the end of one hour photo shops). Wish I had kept up with it since I thought it was pretty unique at the time. Glad someone else thought to do the same thing.