Behind the Scenes of a Photographic Laboratory

Fred Jourda, Master Printer at Picto, a prominent Paris-based photo lab, and Clarisse Bourgeois, Digital Manager & Coordination at Magnum Photos, introduced the techniques behind color slide production and the specifics of their printing. Drawing on the same archives that the students had been studying, it was an occasion to better get to know the collection and to understand modern digital processes through an understanding of traditional analog workflows.

Color Slides and their Usages

Some of the key questions covered included:

  • Why did agencies and photographers choose color slides over negatives?
  • What is the technique and process behind producing a color slide?
  • How did color slides allow better distribution of the photographer’s work, especially in the press?
© Liza Moura

The Printing of Color Slides

Further questions included:

  • How do you print a color slide?
  • What were the different types of prints available in the past, and for which usages would each one be preferred?
  • How does a photo lab function and what human resource does it require?
  • What’s the future of printing, and what are the issues at stake with modern techniques?

Behind the Scenes of a Photo Laboratory

After an introduction to the theory, the participants visited Picto’s laboratory to discover the processes in practice. The tour took them through the lab and all of its different services, including pigment and analog printing, through to all the machinery that a lab works with.

To complete the circle, the participants discovered the color darkroom of the lab and the color processes performed by Picto.

© Corentin Schimmel
© Corentin Schimmel
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