Back In The Print Room


Before I became a photographer, I trained as a print maker. My introduction to the print room started when I came back from racing in Australia and enrolled in an Art Foundation Course at Hastings College where I was taught by Ian Brown, an inspirational tutor and master printer. That started my love with printing and the printed work.

During those early years, I was most interested in silk screen printing inspired by the pop artists of the 60’s and particularly RB Kitaj. Much of my raw material for my prints was found in the junk shops of Hastings. This consisted of trawling through boxes of old photographs that had been rescued from house clearances, looking for gems that I could scan and re-purpose in my prints.

There Was Never A Time When I was Not

Early Silkscreen print using found photos from junk shops

It was during this time I started to appreciate photography as a medium in its own right and by the time I enrolled on a degree course at Kingston University I was starting to take photographs of my own to use in the prints. This also led to a change in direction, and I started to experiment with lithography and early photographic processes such as Cyanotype Blue and Van Dyke Brown Prints.

Sofia Comp

Early photography work, Sofia, Bulgaria

When I graduated, I went to work in an advertising agency in London but kept in touch with Ian at Hastings College and, for a while, continued to make prints in my spare time. However, over time, the draw of commercial photography took me away from the print room and I didn’t really consider using the medium again. That was 25 years ago.

I’m pleased to say I’m now back in the print room.

The catalyst for this, was an article Ian Brown had posted about a new photographic etching process which he was running through his Volcanic Editions workshop based in Brighton. This sparked a reunion and a return to the print room.

The workshop is run from his home in Brighton and various artist use the facilities to make works of art through various printing processes. The Photo-polymer Etchings process has made it possible to transfer a high-resolution image onto a metal plate which is then inked up and printed on a traditional roller bed. The resulting images are rich in tone and depth and have an organic look and feel to them. It’s possible to print both black & white images and also full colour by separating the image into x4 CMYK plates and over printing them on each other.

The process starts with the image being printed onto acetate, which is then placed onto a light sensitive emulsion plate and exposed to light.

Plate Exposure

Some areas are hardened by the light and the areas which are not, are washed out in a water bath after the process. The plate is then dried, hardened in sunlight and finally inked up ready for printing. As with all printing techniques, there are a million things that can go wrong along the way, so patience and an aptitude for working through problems is an important consideration.


– X4 metal plates hardening the emulsion after the washing process
– Inked black plate ready for printing


Printing x4 colours is more demanding as each colour plate must be exactly aligned in registration to achieve a good result.

Col Printing

CMYK Printing
– Registration of the blue plate
– Yellow, magenta & cyan plates printed, just the black to go


As the plate is squeezed through the press the image is impregnated into the paper leaving an embossed line around where the edge of the plate was. The results can be spectacular.

Belvedere Hotel, Furka Pass Framed

Finished x4 Col Furka Pass print


Col d’Iseran, France


Roubaix Velodrome Shower, France


Colle Delle Finestre, Italy

The etching ink produces a black that is so rich in depth like soot.

It’s great to be making hand prints again. I really believe there is something special about photo-polymer process which brings something unique to the photography. It has also reinforced my belief in the importance of the printed work and the need to showcase work on a wall rather than through a digital screen.

Over the coming year I will be making more prints which will go online for sale through the website shop. Print runs will be low (1/15) as each individual print takes about an hour to print.

If you would like to view some of the prints currently available to purchase go to:

If you would like to find out more about the process or give it a go, more details can be found at Volcanic Editions.