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Digital Black and White Vision and Printing Hands-on

Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

August 1, 2020. 9am-5pm (Virtual via Zoom)
Second day TBD when we can safely assemble for hands-on work.

Register with Credit Card Online. or call 650 355-7507
Limited to 6 people

>Explore and learn to finesse the art of black and white photography and printing in the digital age with classical landscape photographer and digital photo pioneer Stephen Johnson. Stephen comes from the world of large-format black and white photography and has spent years in the darkroom while helping to develop some of the techniques used in high-quality digital photography technology today.  Virus will make first day virtual, second day to be determined as we can get together in the classroom.

Steve has been deeply involved in the development of the digital photography world we now live and work in. His fundamental premise all through this development was that the new digital tools and materials had to equal or surpass traditional methods. Black and White photography arrived in high quality early on the capture side, but only in the last few years has black and white digital printing risen to the same heights.

Explore the black and white possibilities of modern printers and their controls, nuance of tonal and image tint, the glow of traditional looks and the subtlety of completely new ways of seeing black and white. Available printers include HP, Canon and Epson, all with dedicated black and white workflows and gray plus black inks.

Steve has maintained his deep love of black and white photography while leading the transition into digital photography. His digital black and white work dates back through 1992 with the Kodak DCS 200, the Leaf DCB and later through the BetterLight, Kodak dedicated BW cameras and the Foveon BW mode. Steve's use of custom Iris inks, gray inks for Epson printers and development work on the HP Z series black and white modes shows a long-term interest in bringing digital BW into the mainstream digital world. His was the fist digitally derived black and white print offered by Friends of Photography in their print collector program in 1995.

Discussions, demonstrations and hands-on projects will include conversion from color files, using filtered color for traditional tonal effects and duotone controls for tonal tuning.

Featuring Hahnemühle Fine Art Papers

Topics Include

  • Black and White Printing modes
  • Special Printing Drivers
  • RIPs for Black and White
  • Special Ink sets
  • Traditional Looks and New Looks
  • Fine Art and Traditional papers
  • Selective conversion
  • Tone and Beauty

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Many black and white printing options and papers will be explored in detail, including the new gelatin-silver look papers which Steve lobbied for for many years.

This will be a first-class hands-on experience for lovers of Black and White photography. It should be fun.

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fitzgeral reserve


Stephen's deep understanding of the technical, combined with his incredible artistic sensitivity is such a benefit to his students. The knowledge and understanding I gained in his digital printing class left me feeling much better equipped to make the choices necessary to elevate my own printing.

-David Gardner, Lightight Photography

Stephen Johnson is a photographic educator with exceptional talent and dedication. His talents as a teacher are no less than his skills as a master printer.

-Michael Reichmann
The Luminous Landscape

To Register
Registration fee must be paid in full to secure a spot in the class. Additional information will be sent upon registration.

Register with Credit Card Online. or call 650 355-7507

All studio workshops run from 9am to 5pm.

Nearby Overnight Accommodations

A full-time photo student tuition scholarship is available for this workshop. To apply, please download the application form and send it to us by mail or email.

Stephen Johnson

A photographer, teacher and designer, Stephen has been teaching and working in photography since 1977. His books include At Mono Lake, the critically acclaimed The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland and Making a Digital Book. He runs his own photography, publishing and design company--scanning and designing his photographic books using a Macintosh computer and since 1994 photographing in the field with digital view cameras.

Current projects include With a New Eye, his groundbreaking and historic all digital national parks project, a new book Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography for O'Reilly, ongoing portfolio development and extensive lecturing.

Stephen's pioneering work in digital photography, desktop color separations and digital imaging has included software and product development for clients such as Apple, Adobe, Eastman Kodak, Leaf, Ricoh and SuperMac. His work with Adobe includes the creation of the duotone curves shipped with their Photoshop software.

His photographic clients have included the Ansel Adams Publishing Trust, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Friends of Photography. Johnson's photographs have been widely published and collected internationally.

Apple Computer recognized Steve in 1997 with a ColorSync Profiling Excellence Award along with his good friend Bruce Fraser. In 1999, Folio Magazine declared the publication of Johnson's digital photographs in Life Magazine to be one of the Top 15 Critical Events in magazine publishing in the twentieth century. Stephen Johnson was named as a 2003 inductee into the Photoshop Hall of Fame, recognized for his achievements in Art. Canon named Steve as one of their Explorers of Light in 2006. In 2007 X-Rite named Stephen as a founding member of their exclusive Coloratti group of photographers and educators honored for their skills in color management.

In 1997, Life Magazine described Stephen Johnson as an artist that "...applies science to nature and creates art." His images create " intimacy that brings subject and viewer close in ways conventional photographs cannot." 

The Photographer’s Gallery wrote in 1998: “Stephen Johnson's photography rides on the "bleeding edge" of photography's transition to a digital media. Schooled in the traditions of fine-art western landscape photography, Johnson has taken his understanding of traditional photographic processes and brought those skills to bear on the emerging technologies and aesthetics of digital photography. He has pushed technology companies to rise to the best of what image making can be, and pushed his own vision of how we see and record light in the natural world. This has led him to conclude that the way we have traditionally captured images with silver-based photography has been a poor and distortive view of the real and rich world before our eyes. His photographs look almost "unphotographic" in their clarity and purity of color. He shows us a world we know, but rarely see on paper. His is a truly remarkable vision.”

sjPhoto by Fiona McDonnell

Stephen has received numerous awards and grants for his photographic work, including an NEA for At Mono Lake, awards from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, the Commonwealth Club of California and the Golden Light Award for the Great Central Valley. The New York Times named the Valley book as one of the eight best photography books of 1993.

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Full Biography


For more information on these seminars email or call 650 355-7507.

Stephen Johnson Biography
Workshop Testimonials
Workshop Review

To Register
Registration fee must be paid in full to secure a spot in the class. Additional information will be sent upon registration.

Register by phone 650 355-7507

Cancellation Policy

This workshop is financially dependent on adequate class registration. Where minimum enrollment requirements are not met, the class will be canceled, and a full refund given. You will be notified at least one week in advance if a workshop is not going to take place. Student initiated cancellations received prior to one month before the workshop will receive credit for a future workshop of similar value, a 50% credit will be given for notice received at least 2 weeks immediately prior to the workshop (a full credit less a $50 overhead fee will be given if another student is able to fill the spot from a waiting list). No credit will be given if canceled less than 2 weeks prior to the workshop. Credits need to be redeemed within one year.

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Last updated on July 13, 2020 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2020, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.