Friday, 21 November 2014

A short interlude...

Just to let all my faithful readers know there will be a short interlude as I take a break to see The Brother in Chicago.  The good news is I go armed to the teeth with HP5, so all being well there'll be a few darkroom sessions on my return.  The even better news is that I'll be loading up with film over there - as its about 60% of the cost over here, even though the stuff is made in Cheshire - there is a tour of the factory here.  I see others complaining on the FADU forum about the cost of film in the UK and there seems to be no logical explanation for it other than we're prepared to pay more for it here in the UK.  I've ordered a whole dose of 5x4 film as I'm determined to get to grips with the large and heavy camera known as a Sinar F1 which sleeps under a towel in my home office.  I've played a bit with it, but nothing serious.  Hopefully by burning through some FP4 I'll start to get more comfortable with it.  It's too heavy for field work really, but since I'm rarely very far from the car anyway I can't really use that as an excuse.  If I get really frustrated by its weight there's always the possibility of investing in a lightweight 5x4 field camera, such as a Wista, Shen-Hao, Chamonix or even Ebony, but I'm holding back on purchasing more gear for now.  2015 I want to be the year of film and darkroom - honing the basics and getting to grips with producing some decent prints from decent negatives.  I have a hankering for some fibre paper and also to try out some lith printing - some of the lith prints I've seen online have been really impressive and I can't wait.

By the way, FADU - Film and Darkroom User - is a great forum for all things film and darkroom related.  It has a proper traditional slant - no digitally-processed neg scans here - and I like it a lot.  The plan for 2015 is to engage in their monthly print exchanges, where members swap prints.  I don't feel I've got the skill to take part as yet but hopefully things will improve on the technical front with more practice.  There's about 15-20 serious users of the forum who are very knowledgeable and very helpful, plus a whole load of others who chip in from time to time as well.

So to leave you on a thoughtful note here's a scan of a print made sometime in the late 70s.

There's a lot of interest in 'non-sharp' photography which I must admit I have a certain something for.  This guy - Mr Titarenko - is a bit of a master at it.  Another blogger with a penchant for this type of stuff is Ms Andrea Ingram, and you can see some very nice examples on her wonderful blog - as well as very readable blog entries, mostly related to the beautiful isle of Lewis where she resides.

Not a Titarenko, taken and printed sometime late 1970s

The shot you see above looks like the Mersey Tunnel and was most likely taken through the back window of our car on one of our infrequent trips 'to the mainland' in the late 1970s.  I'd like to think it was the more famous tunnel in Monte Carlo, but from the cars visible (Cortina, Mini and Beetle) I suspect the Mersey Tunnel is more likely.  Now I'm pretty sure I wasn't trying to get the effect that I ended up with here, but all the same there is something about it, wouldn't you agree?

Here's another one where I was actually trying for such an effect - this one from the Ballymoney series taken earlier this year in 2014 (you can see the sharp version here - let me know which you prefer!):

Guard cats in Ballymoney - version 2

What is it that's emotive about these?  In the current age where everyone (well, nearly everyone) is obsessed about sharpness of the their lenses, MTF charts and the like it is refreshing to see work which is, well, just different.  There are two obvious ways to end up here - one it to deliberately induce camera movement (as in both the above shots); the other is to capture movement in the frame, so the main subject is moving but everything else remains still.

Here's another one and then I'm off to pack!

Someone I know, 2013

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