Print Exchanges

…the monthly sharing of printed images


Once upon a time a long long time ago photographers worked in darkrooms to create prints of the images that they had captured with their cameras.  These old darkrooms took many shapes, including some even being ‘darkrooms on wheels’.  These wheeled darkrooms helped capture printed images of the civil war and of the developing wild west.

The Digital Age happened.  Darkrooms today are pieces of software such as Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC…and digital printers, many of which that squirt ink onto paper.

The developing and printing of digital images was very difficult at first because the technology was just developing.  The Internet allowed the forming of groups of people who helped each other learn how to print digitally.  In 2002 Tom O’Connell started a Black & White print exchange.  This B/W print exchange continues to this day.

Initially the emphasis of the group was ‘how to do it’.  Members of the group discussed printers, and papers, and ink.  Many problems were worked through as the members of the group learned together.  Meanwhile the software and printer engineers were learning too.  The tools used in the digital darkroom kept improving.  Today the print exchange primarily facilitates simply the exchange of very nice digitally prepared and printed black and white prints.  Many of the problems associated with printing Black & White prints has dissolved into the past.

As many as 12 photographers each month print 12 images and a related technical info sheet (all the same image) and mail them to the print re-packager.  The print re-packager receives the prints, reverse collates them, re-packages them, and ships the print packages back to each participating photographer.  Each photographer receives a package that contains one print from each of the participants, along with the technical info sheet.

The prints are printed with many different printers, using many ink sets, onto a variety of papers.  11 exchanges each year are 8-1/2 X 11″ prints, with February being 13 X 19″ prints.


If you are interested in the exchange of either Black & White or Color prints please feel free to join us.  You will be glad that you did.



A biker in Julian, California