Light & Shadow #35

Chinks, Not Chaps — Caldwell, ID Circa 1995

In 1992, I left the newspaper business to freelance as a commercial photographer. For a time, I shared studio space with another photographer. Mark Lisk is a creative soul and consummate landscape photographer. During downtime one afternoon, I watched as he transferred Polaroid images to watercolor paper. I was inspired to explore an alternative process of my own.

I had an idea in mind and could think of no better subject than Jim Hanks (Light & Shadow #34). At his corral fence with beaver fur chinks — yep, they’re a thing — and a lariat, we made the picture that kicked off my era of hand-colored black and white photography.

Hand-coloring was nothing new. Photographic portraits were often colored with oil pigments directly on the b&w silver gelatin print. While their colors were generally soft and somewhat transparent, I approached my pieces with a bit more gusto.

I employed the method for several years before it ran its course. I enjoyed the curiosity expressed by people and felt the work was uniquely me.

Chinks, Not Chaps — Hand Colored

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