Back to All Events

Digital Black and White Vision and Printing Hands-on Workshop

  • Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery 1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard Pacifica, CA, 94044 United States (map)

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. 

Sign Up with Credit Card


  • Sat, February 9, 2019 9am-5pm

  • Sun, February 10, 2019 9am-5pm


  • Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery

Address: 1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard

Pacifica, CA, 94044 United States 

Feb. 9-10, 2019. 9am-5pm
Tuition and supplies: $450 (optional one-day lab add-on Aug 7th. $200)

Sign Up by Phone: 650 355-7507

All ink and premium paper supplied with dedicated instruction and a great atmosphere. This Workshop is limited to 6 people (all students get special attention and their own printer).

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

More About the Workshop

Stephen has been deeply involved in the development of techniques for the digital photography world we now live and work in. His fundamental premise is that these new digital tools and materials should be equal to or surpass traditional methods. Digital black and white photography of superb quality has arrived, and in the last decade black and white digital printing risen to beautiful heights.

In this workshop, you will explore the black and white capabilities of modern printers and their controls, subtle nuances of tonal and image tint, the glow of traditional looks and the drama of completely new ways of seeing black and white. Our available printers include HP, Canon, and Epson, all with dedicated black and white workflows and black plus gray inks.

Stephen has maintained his deep love of black and white photography while leading the transition into digital photography. His first digital black and white work dates back to 1992 with the Kodak DCS 200, the original Leaf Hasselblad back and later the BetterLight Scanning Back, Kodak dedicated B&W cameras and the Foveon X-3 B&W mode. Stephen’s use of custom Iris inks, gray inks for Epson printers and development work on the HP Z series black and white modes show a long-term interest in bringing digital B&W into the mainstream digital world. This is why one of Stephen’s black and white photographs was the first digitally derived print offered by Friends of Photography on their print collector program in 1995.

The workshop’s discussions, demonstrations, and hands-on projects will include conversion from color files to black & white, using filtered color for traditional tonal effects and duotone controls for tonal tuning.

Printing: The workshop will cover many black and white printing options and papers in detail, including the new gelatin-silver look papers which Steve lobbied the industry to develop for many years.

This workshop will be a first-class hands-on experience for lovers of black and white photography. Groups are very small (max of 6) so that every student can get special attention. Do join us. It will be very informative, and most of all, fun.


"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.

Call to Register: 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 cancelled less than 2 weeks prior to the workshop. Credits need to be redeemed within one year.

Stephen Johnson

Photo by Fiona McDonnell

Photo by Fiona McDonnell

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, pioneering the transition into digital photography including the field use of a Macintosh laptop and digital view cameras.

His work has included 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. Current work features a concentration on flora for his new project, Life Form.

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, Canon, Eastman Kodak, Foveon, Hewlett Packard, 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.”

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.

Earlier Event: February 2
Yosemite Valley in Winter
Later Event: February 23
Other Worldly Exhibition Opening