Paul Roark
Black and White Photography


Sunrise at Lake 5, John Muir Wilderness (62" by 32" framed, un-glazed)

Fishing Boat, Ninilchick, AK (42" by 34", framed & glazed)

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"CARBON on CANVAS"
Gallery Los Olivos' Featured Show for September 2017

In this show Paul displays the results of his latest exploration of the range of printing media that are available for his carbon pigment printing processes.

There will be an artistís reception on September 10, from 2 to 4 pm.

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"Count...Paul Roark as among the inspired landscape shooters. ... Roark has a clear understanding of the visual language passed down through more than a century of landscape photography, in the specific realm that is the black-and-white medium. Ö Much as Edward Weston did in his dunes photographs, Roark finds in these sandy shapes an almost abstract domain of shapes and rounded earthly forms. [Roark's Oceano Dunes print] looks almost beyond earthly ..." writes the Santa Barbara News-Press art critic.

Paul's prints have been sold to collectors all over the world, including an entire small works show to a collector in Moscow. They can also be seen in select locations closer to home, including some CEO's offices and Cedars Sinia Hospital's juried collection. Moreover, they can be seen and purchased in large or smaller, easily transported versions from Gallery Los Olivos.

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Paul has become internationally known not only for the artistic merit of his photography, but also for the black and white digital printing processes he has developed. He is both a photographer and master printer. In a book devoted to black and white digital printing Paul was identified as one of the three primary pioneers of digital B&W photography.

As noted in a review of one of Paul's shows by a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography, "Having made silver prints myself for the last 30 years, I know what a good silver print looks like ... But what really grabbed my attention were his carbon prints. They are absolutely incredible images, some of the best I've ever seen - anywhere. They possess a range of subtle and delicate tonalities not often seen in even the best silver/fiber prints. They have rich, deep, powerful blacks and a level of detail in the shadows that are seldom seen in any print, be it silver of carbon. They all have very fine and sharp detail in both highlight and shadow that does not diminish when one takes a close, "in my face" look. There were no "dots in the highlights," no noise in the shadows, no artifacts, no imperfections of any kind. They were quit simply, perfect in my humble opinion."

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A significant part of Paulís photographic journey has been exploring and pushing the envelope of B&W technology. Growing up with a darkroom in Glenale, CA, he mastered the traditional silver halide film and paper technologies, including mixing his own developer for allowing Technical Pan film to be used for pictorial work before Kodak made a commercial version available. When Photoshop became the center of the digital darkroom, Paul explored various methods of making large internegatives for printing the images refined in Photoshop via an enlarger and the silver print in a modification of the traditional analog darkroom. However, by the first part of the 21st Century, the best inkjet printers had surpased what the old analog enlargers could produce. As such the focus of his attention switched to optimizing that new technology for B&W work.

The problem with even the best inkjet printers was and remains that they are oriented to color printing. Making a neutral B&W print from color pigments is not a good idea. Even if one can get the image neutral, it wonít stay that way because of differential fading of the color pigments. Thus Paul, working with the founder of MIS Associates, searched for the best carbon pigments that could be used for inkjet printing. The carbon-carbon bond is the strongest in nature, and carbon pigments have been used for printing for thousands of years. Using these carbon pigments in various dilutions, prints made with Paulís inskets are not only very smooth, but have also been found by a third party testing company to be many times more lightfast than the prints made with the commercial inksets. They are also more lighfast and archival than the silver print. Moreover, the cost of Paulís carbon inksets can be as little as 1% that of retail ink in small cartridges.

Every inkset and formula Paul has developed is made available in a totally open source manner; all are detailed in the many PDFs Paul publishes on his webpages. ďPhotography has been such an important part of my life and psyche, that I want to help others reap those same rewards. I develop new approaches for my own use, and it costs me nothing to share the results of my efforts with others. Itís a labor of love that I donít do for profit. The most important rewards are psychological.Ē

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Note on Editions: All prints are made one at a time by Paul Roark, as needed. The large canvas panorams will be limited to 5 prints each. The glazed non-panorama canvas prints behind glass will be limited to 10 prints each. Arches watercolor full sheet prints are under separate limits, and small inkjet prints (not Arches or canvas) are sold without regard to limits.

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Concurent with the Gallery's front room show, Paul will also be the Santa Ynez Valley Arts' "Artist of the Month," with a show called "CARBON on COTTON" in the "Guild Room," which is also in Gallery Los Olivos. This show will start on September 6. Carbon pigments on Arches watercolor paper is likely to be the most archival photographic printing process that is realistically available to photographers. Because Arches is not a coated or laminated substrate, it will not suffer the cracking or delamination of the coating that affects virtually all standard photographic print media, including the old silver prints. This is yet another area of photographic printing that Paul has pioneered.
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For Paul's webpage, go to www.PaulRoark.com.