Welcome to Historic Photo Archive

and Tom Robinson's Fine Prints

For twenty years, photographers, museums, collectors and archives have been sending me original negatives for fine printing in my darkroom. In addition to my fiber black & white prints, I am now making archival Ultrachrome color prints. I was Ray Atkeson's last printer and was named by him to continue printing his work posthumously. I have written three books about historic photography in Oregon, and contributed the Oregon section to the standard reference work "Biographies of Western Photographers" edited by Carl Mautz. I handle photo conservation and copying projects on a professional basis. I do contract work for the Federal government and have a Federal CCR number.

Ultrachrome prints

Digtial prints are made on the Epson K3 Ultrachrome photo printer. I use archival pigments as recommended for the most permanent results. I scan the original negatives with a top quality Howtek drum scanner, a $47,000 machine that makes about as good a scan as can be had anywhere. Substantial effort is expended in making color balance and contrast adjustments, as well as appropriate measures to mitigate any blemishes or dust marks that may be present on the vintage film or glass plate. It is my experience that Ultrachrome prints are the most cost-effective method of making archival prints of outstanding quality for framing and display.

Archival fine prints

My darkroom is equipped with four enlargers ranging from an 8x10" Saltzman to a 35mm Leitz Focomat. I have three archival washers, complete supplies for recreating historic printing processes, and I stock every major brand of fiber photographic paper made as well as some now-unavailable back stocks. I try to make as good a print as can be done. Each negative is individually printed using traditional methods of contrast control and image enhancement as described in Ansel Adams' book "The Print". There is no RC paper, machine processing or hurried work here. It is intended that these will be investment quality, a print I made ten years ago from one of my negatives sold at an auction for over $600, even though I still make the exact same print using identical materials today (I was not the seller, sad to say)

About the collection

I preserve the original negative and transparency files of over 4000 studios and deceased photographers. This is the fourth largest collection of Oregon photographs in the world and the third largest in the state (Oregonian and OHS are larger). As to negatives and transparencies themselves, this is the largest collection of Oregon film in the world. The collection includes original glass plate negatives, nitrate film and vintage Kodachrome color. Of course, prints made from these original plates and film have dramatically better clarity and tonal range than reprints made by copying old prints and postcards. Many images have been cataloged and indexed. They include historic, fine art, educational, scenic, industrial, commercial, product, vernacular, portrait and aerial photographs taken by commercial photo studios, photojournalists, amateur, fine art, and military photographers over a period of 150 years.

All photos on my website are available for sale in any size. If you don't see what you are looking for, send an email and request a search of any subject. I will post matching items for you to examine. There is no fee for the search and you are under no obligation. If you purchase a print and are not satisfied for any reason, a full refund will be given. My guarantee is that you will not be disappointed.

Thomas Robinson meeting with tribal elders to identify photos.

1994 photo by Scott Gregory

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