Contributing Editors and Kindred Spirits

 Site Index 

We are many and working on a wonderful variety of projects. 
Stay tuned. Or, better yet — join us!



Denise Ross Our Newest Contributor: Bill Winkler
Kit Funderburk Henk Mantel Kevin Klein
Sterling Wood Wendy Monahan Mark Osterman
Chris Patton     Michael Carter


Websites and Blogs

  Laurent Girard's A Printer's Life   
  James Browning  
   Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee   
  Marco Boeringa  

Laurent Girard

Although not an emulsion maker, Laurent Girard is a darkroom artist — an artist who writes deeply about both the technical and emotional aspects of art created by hand.  I enjoy his blog, A Printer's Life, very much.  He practices what he writes. I invite you to appreciate his beautiful photography here, imagesandwords, the work of laurent girard.


Henk Mantel

Henk is learning to make emulsions.  He brings us a European perspective.  Follow his story here.


Wendy Monahan

Born into a 1960's rural existence, I was raised in a continuously moving matriarchal household of a riding-instructor mother and piano-teacher grandmother. As a child I raised domestic animals, caught wild ones, collected stuff and made bug houses. While living in a rural solitary existence I dreamed of being a scientist and spent days reading science fiction novels. At some point I began to worry about the passage of time and become fascinated with the process of photography. Armed with a Kodak Brownie and a Polaroid instamatic, I documented all of the family pets, livestock, and anything or anyone else that would sit still long enough. Somehow I survived my teen angst and went to college, forgetting science and choosing to study anthropology at UNLV. After completing the degree, my intention was to continue an academic education. I began to work on a Master's Degree in Public History while at the same time taking a beginning photography course at the community college. I knew about halfway through a semester of medieval history, that I was on the wrong path. I had a great interest in history and art, but also needed some sort of scientific grounding. I studied commercial photography instead and have spent the last ten years as a photographer in Las Vegas. While I enjoy the work, digital capture and computer editing do not satisfy my need to make tangible things. So, I'm happily back in the darkroom. My first goal is to learn to coat my own papers and see where that takes me.


Denise Ross

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at The Light Farm (and author of any text not otherwise attributed.)

"For me, it's always been about photography — its art, science, and history.  By the time I graduated from high school, I had worked up a draft for a book about the old processes.  By the time I was ready to start on an MFA and my book, William Crawford had written The Keepers of Light — A History & Working Guide to Early Photographic Processes.  No one could have done a better job than Crawford.  I was delighted.  But, even at the time, I was disappointed there wasn't information on the silver gelatin processes.  Of course, then, no one suspected that film-based photography would ever become 'alternative'.  And, as I soon discovered, the information was locked away and unavailable. 

It was another twenty years before I decided to return to the questions.  My education, employment and interests all finally led me toward picking up where Crawford and others had left off.  It was to my great relief that I was no longer the only one interested.  Silver gelatin is a big topic — too big for any one individual (certainly me), but it is not too big for a cooperative effort.  Creative people with a passion for photography, the miracle of the internet, and a growing philosophy of Open Source have all come together to make The Light Farm possible."

Denise Ross

Michael Carter

My main education was in oil painting fine art; a BFA degree was earned from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1971(?). Along the way I had to take photography and other classes. That was a long time ago and now finally I can play all I want with cameras and stuff like plate coating.

I worked in a granite shop, a huge commercial printing company art department, free lance, substitute teaching art mostly, silk screen printing, farming, building, remodeling, finally I became a certified public school art teacher K-12 and taught in McKeesport mostly, and then I taught in a private Christian school.

My web site,, is an attempt to put it all together. I have collected plate camera things, made a darkroom, and am in the process of documenting everything I do with it. I've written some things and they can be gotten to from my contacts page. Movie links are there also. I taught film animation with 8mm and 16mm equipment. I just got a Mac to better make books to print. Finally, today I had lunch with a friend and I made a show and tell presentation of my old Primo plate camera; the plate holder had a developed good negative in it. People in the restaurant went "WOA" and "WOW" it was cool to teach again.

James Browning

Jim is well-known to many of us for his work with dye transfer materials - both emulsions and coating technology.  Jim’s example of history rescue into the public forum was the inspiration for The Light Farm.  To learn more about Jim and his work, please visit, a wealth of information and inspiration.

Kit Funderburk

We have a rare and valuable opportunity to expand our knowledge of the iconic Kodak papers. Kit Funderburk was a papermaker at Kodak and today is an historian of photographic papers.  Kit isn’t an emulsion maker, per se, but he understands the substrates and the essential character they bring to b&w paper. It is his belief that we should be able to get very close to the original papers — closer even than I had dared hope.

Here is Kit’s contribution to us:

“In 2006, I edited/authored a book (spiral bound booklet) titled History of the Paper Mills at Kodak Park which was intended as a memento for Kodak papermakers (the last papermachine was dismantled in 2005). I won’t go into the details but that book led to lots of questions about the history of the fiber based B&W papers so I wrote a second book in 2007 titled A Guide to the Surface Characteristics, Kodak Fiber Based Black and White Papers. I’m strictly a papermaker (retired). The books are about manufacturing paper support and there is nothing about emulsions, emulsion coating, or photo products (subjects I don’t know much about). Both books are available at no charge though I do ask that requesters cover the mailing costs. The mailing cost is $4.60 within most of the US but is as high as $14.00 for some international locations. If you would like a copy or want more info you can contact me at ‘KitFunderburk at gmail dot com’. I'll also be happy to try to answer questions here.”

Bill Winkler

“I began studying photography, and purchased my first SLR (a Pentax K1000), at the age of 45. Fortunately, this was in 1993 and the ‘Digital Revolution’ had just started crying for Mother’s Milk. So, I received an excellent foundation in traditional Black&White Photography. Shortly after taking my first course in Color Photography I saw my first Large Format Color Transparency, and became obsessed with everything transparent. I did a one semester Independent Studies course in Color Separations, shortly before taking a workshop in Platinum/Palladium Printing.

The next ten years, I dedicated to working out a method for printing Pt/Pd/Au on glass.

I now have a system for reliably printing these metal images on glass, and (if desired) adding color using a variation of the Gum Dichromate method. I have entered the world of emulsion making because I hate being dependent on commercial film. Also, I wish to do Dye Transfers and Matrix Film is no longer commercial. Since all of my work involves Color Separation, I must make Panchromatic emulsions. I am currently restoring two 1930-1940 tri-color ‘one-shot’ cameras.

I am a Native New Yorker, but have lived in California since 1974. I have always worked in some field of research, first in Cell Membrane function, then in industrial coatings.”

To read Bill’s first article, please go here.

Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee

Few people have done more to promote the art and craft of chloride contact printing paper.   Many years ago, they introduced a new generation of photographers to the beauty of Azo paper with amidol developer.  When Kodak stopped making Azo, they moved heaven and earth (and fended off skeptics) to create a replacement paper.  It’s gorgeous, and perhaps better than Azo.  The paper is called Lodima,  — ‘amidol’ spelled backwards. 

The availability of Lodima means that today’s photographers haven’t lost the chance to experience the unique beauty of chloride paper, without having to make their own.  Traditional photography faces enough hurdles in a too-busy world.  Being able to buy and open a great box of paper will help guarantee a continuing ‘Gaslight Culture’, at every level of participation.

Michael’s and Paula’s website is a wealth of information.  They work deeply and share freely. Their ‘Azo Forum’ is invaluable for both commercial and handcrafted paper.  Our sincerest thanks to them.

Please visit Paula’s and Michael’s site here.

Kevin Klein

"I used to be a starving artist but now am a self-employed sign painter/maker, always living on the edge like most self-imposed craftsman types.

The early photographic techniques have been an interest of mine since I was twelve and put a piece of photographic paper into a cheap plastic camera and made a negative. From that time on, I had a deep interest in how photography was done in the days of its beginning.

Now, I have replicated some of those techniques with the wet collodion, dry collodion and gelatin plates along with salt, albumen and cyanotype printing process.  The equipment used is mostly homemade except for the Kodak 5x7, which has a wet plate-era lens and modified back.

The majority of work is done at or near the home darkroom, unless dry plates are used.  Otherwise, the portable darkroom gets loaded up on the truck and taken to the field or reenacting events; this has been done only a few times, it’s a pain."

Kevin Klein,

Marco Boeringa

Although Marco isn’t yet an emulsion maker, his work with liquid emulsion prints is an artistic inspiration when it seems sometimes as though there’s too much science to photography.  Marco has supported The Light Farm from the beginning.  His latest contribution is here.  Also, make sure you look at his plans for constructing a handcoated paper drying box along with much else at

Mark Osterman

Mark has been the process historian for the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography for the past ten years. His full time job is doing primary research using the collection and teaching photo conservators how early photographic processes were made and used. The scope of Mark’s work runs from pre-photographic, early Niepce, Talbot and Daguerre variants all the way up to gelatin emulsions for developing and printing-out materials.

Recently, Mark has been involved with readying the launch of a new Eastman House program — The Center for the Legacy of Photography.

Mark and his wife, France Scully Osterman, are internationally recognized masters of the wet plate collodion process. Please visit

Chris Patton

Chris is one of the most creative and innovative photographers working today.  He truly channels the best of the spirit of the 1890s — the era when silver gelatin became ‘photography’.  Chris has spent his professional life at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, CA, and still has found time to work with every historical photographic process.  Chris is also a gifted writer and teacher. I am very grateful that he has decided to put his inventive energy into dry plate emulsions.   To learn more about Chris, his work and photographic philosophy, and his Seawater Dry Plate Emulsion, please go here.

Sterling Wood

I have been an avid do-it-yourself-er since I was young. At age 5, I wanted a tool kit for Christmas. Note to Santa: You can't do anything with a plastic saw! My photographic interest started with an inexpensive — but actually very nice — Exa camera and a flimsy — not so nice — enlarger. The darkroom was the desk in my bedroom and I could print late at night when there were no passing cars throwing light into the room. Photography is very much a multidisciplinary medium, involving chemistry, physics, optics, mechanics, electronics, not to mention aesthetics — and now computer-interfacing (ie: using Photoshop & GIMP). I once read (ca: late 1970's) that photography was a unique activity in that it used both the wooden clothes-peg and the silicon microchip. It seems for most people the clothes-peg side of the equation has vanished. I have a degree in Art History. It appealed, I suppose, because it too is multidisciplinary, covering everything from prehistoric pigment technologies to modern architecture. I am looking forward to experimenting with handmade silver-gelatin emulsions. The process embodies skills and attitudes that have been the essence of photography through almost its entire history. I have spent most of my working life as Owner or Manager of photo labs and camera stores. Most interesting: my wife and I ran a custom black-and-white lab in the 1980's and 90's. I did a lot of work with lith-film separations and with black-and-white reversal processing. With a little tweaking of chemicals, I found one could make reasonable b/w slides from most negative films. Never found a commercial application for that, and unfortunately didn't keep my notes. I wonder how well it would work with a handmade emulsion? Maybe I'll find out someday!


Copyright © The Light Farm