Rob Pohl

I like the control in processing individual sheet film negatives to suit the lighting conditions at the time of exposure. I also enjoy experimenting by mixing developers from raw chemicals, and experimenting with development times. Most people do not recognize how much control over the look of the final negative rests with choices made in development.


Rob Pohl founded the Monochrome Guild in 2002, at a time when many photographers were prioritizing digital photography. Given the richness, tonality and depth exhibited by traditionally printed photographs, Rob wanted to hold on to the importance of shooting film and chemical printing. To that end, Rob set out to gather a group of artists with similar beliefs and abilities, forming Edmonton’s Monochrome Guild.

A self-taught photographer and printer, Rob started shooting film in 1979. After years of shooting 35mm and color slides, he set up a small home darkroom to immerse himself in chemical aspect of the photographic process. He soon came to understand how much control over the look of the final monochrome print is in the hands of the artist during the developing and printing processesRealizing that roll film had limitations to the quality and control he wanted over the final print, Rob began shooting 4×5″ large format film in the mid 90s. Today, he shoots 8×10″ large format film to create carefully exposed and processed, high quality negatives. While he loves his 8×10″ view camera, Rob alternates with his 4×5″ field camera on site, recognizing the physical limitations of transporting larger and much heavier equipment, as well as the optical limitations of the longer focal length lenses of 8×10″ format. 

Although Rob has worked in portraiture and documentary styles, Rob’s photographic interests are generally focused on two themes. Approximately half of his work focuses on the natural world, from grand landscapes down to small natural details. The remainder of his work is historic and somewhat documentary in nature, with these images centred on the remains of manmade items and locations, abandoned or otherwise. 

Rob is driven to create images that, while captivating at first glance, have something more to say. Working towards portfolios and bodies of work, he works towards conveying a message within the scenery he captures, to impart emotions in the viewer. Rob believe his most successful work is that which raises questions in the minds of the audience

Instagram: @largeformat4x5