Cyr’s trays

John Cyr, Sally Mann’s Developing Tray, 2011

John Cyr is a New York photographer who runs a darkroom printing service, making black & white prints with traditional silver-based materials. In his unique exhibition project called Developer Trays, he has photographed dozens of darkroom trays used by well known photographers.

I am photographing available developer trays so that the photography community will remember specific, tangible printing tools that have been a seminal part of the photographic experience for the past hundred years.

Although his images are in colour, the trays are used for black & white printing; the various grey hues you see are caused by the silver deposit during the developing process. As ordinary working tools, darkroom trays are not beautiful things but Cyr’s photographs transform them into memorials for the analogue tradition. The developing tray is where the image magically appears on the paper, a chemical event that digital photography has no answer to.