Friday, 8 September 2017

Memento Mori

Inside St Thomas' Church on Rathlin Island is an unusual piece of stonework on one of the walls - Memento Mori, remember you have to die.  A reflection on the transient nature of earthly things and pursuits.  An example, apparently, of a transi or cadaver tomb that depicts the decayed corpse of the deceased.  Whatever your take on it, and its message, it is an unusual piece of work (at least for this part of the world) and one that I like to photograph when I find myself on the island.

All mounted and everything.  Memento Mori, September 2017.  Handheld on the 'Blad, 50mm lens.

With all the stone work I just had to develop the print in lith.  I took a chance and re-used some I'd made up a while back and while it was a little slow to get going on the Foma paper it developed quite nicely in the end.  For those interested in such things I over-exposed (in the darkroom) by 3 stops, which seemed to give a decent amount of contrast.  As we all know (from Tim Rudman's book on lith printing) in the land of lith, contrast is increased by cutting exposure and developing for longer.  Since there is (or should be) infectious development going on it isn't always easy to gauge the right time to lift the print from the developer, particularly since you're working under the safelight.

I have a safelight wired into the enlarger timer so that it comes on once the print has been exposed. A second safelight sits near the wet bench - this one I keep off until I can see the image getting close to being ready, which can be anything from 3-10 minutes, for me at any rate.  When I think it's nearly cooked I'll switch this second safelight on and lift the print out of the developer and hold it close enough to see what the blacks are like.  If need be, the print gets re-immersed in the developer for another bit and then I'll take another look.  When I think enough is enough I'll dump it into the stop bath and then fix it.

It helps, I find, if I've already developed a print which has some nice blacks in it and is now sitting in the water tray.  That way I've something I can compare the current print to try to get the right snatch point.

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