Huntington Witherill
Silver Gelatin Prints
Silver Gelatin Prints

From 1970 through 2005, Huntington Witherill produced and archived an extensive collection of silver gelatin prints (collectively known as: “the archive”). All prints contained in the archive were made exclusively by the photographer and were produced in a traditional wet darkroom using conventional enlarging techniques (from 1970-1995) and a digital hybrid contact printing process (from 1995-2005).

Those previously produced silver gelatin prints (both conventional enlargements and hybrid contact prints) remain available for purchase through the archive. At the end of 2005, Witherill discontinued working in a traditional wet darkroom altogether. No silver gelatin prints were produced after 2005.*

*For a detailed explanation regarding the reasons for the discontinuation of silver gelatin printing, please see:
2006 Notice Regarding Silver Gelatin Prints.

If you are interested in purchasing silver gelatin prints made by Witherill, chances are good that whatever specific image you are interested in will be available through the archive. For detailed information regarding the availability and specifics of any particular image, please direct inquiries through the “Available Silver Gelatin Prints of this Image” links located on the image enlargement page for any image that is available as a silver gelatin print. Or, you can direct inquiries through the "Contact" page (above).


Print Pricing-
For silver gelatin print pricing information please see Print Pricing below

The Archive

The archive is composed of silver gelatin prints that were produced in “open” editions (meaning the prints were never numbered, nor artificially limited). Prints are supplied signed, mounted, overmatted, and labeled or stamped on the mount verso. Prints are available in a variety of image sizes ranging from 8”x10” through 20”x24”. Not all images are available in all sizes. The archive itself is composed of Vintage, pre-Vintage, and Modern silver gelatin prints, as defined below:


Vintage Print Terminology


Black and white silver gelatin prints in the archive will be classified in one of the following three (3) “vintage” categories:

Vintage-   Defined as any print made within two (2) years of the original negative date and the original negative is at least 25 years old.
pre-Vintage-   Defined as any print made within two (2) years of the original negative date but the original negative itself is not yet 25 years old.
Modern-   Defined as any print made more than two (2) years after the original negative date.


Archive Statistics

(calculations as of September 1, 2008)
Count Percentage of
Total Archive
Total number of unique images in archive- 702 100%
Unique Image Statistics
Total unique images with only 1 print available- 215 30.63%
Total unique images with 2-5 prints available- 324 46.15%
Total unique images with 6-10 prints available- 82 11.68%
Total unique images with more than 10 prints available- 81 11.54%
Vintage Print Statistics
Total “Vintage” prints in archive- 20.31%
Total “pre-Vintage” prints in archive- 39.52%
Total “Modern” prints in archive- 40.17%
Image Size Statistics - (long dimension in inches)
10” or smaller 17.13%
10.5”–15” 42.25%
15.5”–20” 40.49%
Over 20” 0.13%
Overall Print Condition Statistics*
Rated at 10 92.08%
Rated at 9–9.5 6.97%
Rated at 8–8.5 0.95%
Rated below 8 none 0.00%

*Print condition ratings are based upon the overall look and physical condition of each individual print and include a collective evaluation of the print itself, the mount, and any associated overmatting. Prints are rated from 1 to 10, based upon a percentage scale in which 10=100%, 9=90%, etc. Though evaluations are subjectively made, any print that is rated at “10” should be characterized as a “pristine” print.

Silver Gelatin Print Pricing

Individual silver gelatin prints from the archive are priced (as of July 1, 2013) between $270.00 and $4,800.00. Specific print prices depend upon print size, vintage, condition, and the total number of prints that remain in the archive of that specific image. As a general guide, the basic structure for silver gelatin print pricing is as follows:

Basic Silver Gelatin Print Prices
(as of July 1, 2013)

Image Size   Basic Retail Price
8x10   $475.00
11x14   $700.00
8x20 (panorama)   $800.00
16x20   $1,200.00
20x24   $2,400.00

Please Note- The above outlined basic retail prices assume a “Modern” or “pre-Vintage” print which has been rated as being in condition “10” (pristine) and for which there are more than three (3) prints of that specific image remaining in the archive. Images with fewer than three (3) prints remaining in the archive will be priced higher. “Vintage” prints are currently base-priced at twice (2x) the basic retail prices stated above. Any print which carries a condition rating of less than “10” will be priced lower than the calculated retail price by a factor which is based upon the specific conditions associated with that print. All prices are subject to change without notice.

Terms and Conditions of Sale

Any silver gelatin print purchased from the archive comes with a 10-day money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied, for any reason, you may return the print(s) (postage paid) within 10-days of receipt for a full refund. Refunds apply only to the costs of the print(s) and any applicable sales taxes. Refunds do not apply to shipping costs. Any returned prints must be received within 10 business days of the original delivery date, postage paid, and in their originally delivered condition. Prints are sold on a first come, first served basis. No other warranties are expressed or implied.

2006 Notice Regarding Silver Gelatin Prints

As of January 1, 2006, I will no longer be accepting orders for the printing of new silver gelatin prints to be made from my film negatives. I will however continue to offer, for sale and for exhibition, any previously produced silver gelatin prints that remain in my existing silver gelatin print archive.

Background

Over the past 10-12 years, advancements in digital imaging have been both remarkable and undeniable. And though conventional film-based approaches to the medium will remain valid and vital, from an industry-wide perspective, the predominate method by which photographs will be made, both now and in the foreseeable future, will (in my view) continue to progressively migrate toward digital imaging. The fact that manufacturers are increasingly reducing the scope of their offerings of films, film-based cameras, black and white silver gelatin printing papers, chemistry, and other related conventional tools and materials serves only to reinforce this reality.

In my own work I have gradually (over the past 15 years) adopted these new approaches to the medium as digital tools and materials have continued to advance and improve. And I have concluded that the technology has now finally progressed to the point that both the physical and aesthetic qualities I strive to achieve in my own work can now be fully met, without compromise, using digital tools and materials. As a direct result of ongoing changes in the medium, and my own choices, I have not used a film-based camera since 2002, and the most recent conventional enlargement I’ve made from my film-based negative archive was produced in 1995.

In 1996, I began to produce silver gelatin prints using a “hybrid” process. That process employed the use of both conventional and digital tools and involved 3 separate steps. Step 1- A digital scan was made from the original film negative. Step 2- The digital scan was then used to produce a digitally generated film internegative (using an imagesetter). Step 3- The resulting film internegative was then contact printed in a conventional wet darkroom, using traditional chemical-based printing techniques, resulting in silver gelatin contact prints up to 16” x 20” in size. Parenthetically, as a result of the increased aesthetic potential and unparalleled technical control available through the use of digital components in the hybrid process, I was, from 1996-2005, able to produce what I believe to be some of the very best silver gelatin prints that I was ever able to achieve.

Nevertheless, everything in life seems to involve some form of trade-off. One of the least admirable aspects of digital-based photography is the fact that the technology is continually evolving and changing. What that means is that the ongoing advent of new and improved technologies will continue to render the technologies they replace, as obsolete. Such is the case with the imagesetters required to produce the digital film internegatives. Imagesetters are still around, but they are rapidly disappearing. By the beginning of 2005, it had become nearly impossible to obtain a usable imagesetter internegative because so many of the most reliable service bureaus had begun to replace their imagesetters with newer direct-to-plate technologies.

During this same period of time, inkjet printing technologies progressively evolved and improved to the point that (as of 2006) an inkjet printer employing archival pigment inks is fully capable of producing an aesthetically uncompromising rendition of a photographic image, possessing its own unique and admirable qualities, and deserving of no apology or excuse. Further, pigment ink prints themselves are now approaching a 300 year life span in terms of their archival permanence. Again, deserving of no apology or excuse.

I decided to first attempt to incorporate digital methods into my personal photographic process back in 1991. In the beginning, the tools and materials were quite crude by today’s standards. It took many years of concentrated effort, ongoing education, and re-education to become familiar and proficient with such a relentlessly evolving set of tools and materials. Nevertheless, the aesthetic rewards gained through the application of the technology – together with significant improvements arising from the inevitable and ongoing improvements in the technology itself – have caused me to come to the conclusion that digital-based photography has now indeed arrived to the point of being the very best way for me to approach my photography, now, and into the foreseeable future.

As a result of the above determination and my ongoing commitment to the future of my photographic pursuits, I have discontinued producing silver gelatin prints, entirely, and will no longer be accepting custom orders for silver gelatin prints to be made from my past film negatives. However, I will continue to offer, for sale and for exhibition, those silver gelatin prints that remain (and continue to be maintained) in my existing print archive. I am currently in the process of cataloging the archive and those prints should remain available for exhibition and sale into the foreseeable future.

While subjectivity will continue to reign supreme when it comes to one's individual preferences for one type of photographic printing process over another, the subjective nature of those personal choices thankfully remain the very source from which art derives one of its most beneficial pleasures.

The images and descriptions contained on this web site are protected by federal copyright law and international copyright treaty provisions.
All Reproduction Rights Reserved    Copyright ©2010 Huntington Witherill