A Tale of Resilience

One of the major differences between film and digital photography are the stories one can tell. In the digital realm to tell someone that you underexposed 10 or 12 photos 2 or 3 stops without noticing just means you are not very good at what your doing.

Alternatively, mistakenly putting a 50 ASA film in the camera and metering for a 400ASA film will extract humorous groans from those who have also done it. It becomes an more interesting tale when you compound the mistakes. In this picture which I shot two weeks ago I never noticed that the film was not the much faster HP5 that I thought it to be and I consequently metered and developed it as if it was. But what makes the tale interesting for those who like such things are the extraordinary details. Such as because the film was over ten years out of date I was reluctant to buy new developer and the internet said that Rodinal  film developer could be kept for a few years before it went off. I had an open bottle of it that had been hanging around for about a year and a half so I thought  why not give it a go, even though the chemical’s colour had shifted from light amber to almost black.

The fixer (just as old) smelt a little, but what the hell.

The end result is that the chemicals did their job and properly developed the film , but due to the massive underexposure  when I shot the film the negatives are seriously thin and it took a slow 3200 dpi scan to get a sort of image.

Considering everything, a 4-second handheld exposure, terrible lighting conditions, gross underexposure, old out-of-date film and failing chemicals, I was surprised to get anything and yet I still got a picture. And it looks like a very old photograph  straight out of the camera, which is cool.

Film, it’s amazing stuff.

Bronica SQa, 50mm wide angle, f4, 4 second exposure, Ilford Pan F, ISO 50.

ANARCHY-PRIDE-HITCHHIKE

ANARCHY-PRIDE-HITCHHIKE

 

If any one thing exemplifies the reason I needed to reorganize my library of images it is today’s post.

Having spent the week moving pictures around and doing very little else I decided that the last post of the week would be a photograph from my favorite shoot of 2015. My memory for pictures is good, but reality and memory are two different animals. The picture is from a large group of individual portraits I did in a single evening. In my memory the shoot took place around February/ March whereas it actually took place in November 2014. As this was a very specific set of pictures I knew where to find the folder but more obscure shoots under the old system would take a lot of looking to find.

It’s easier now, although the filing system can and will be further refined. But it is the sheer volume of images that has surprised me, not that I’m blind to the amount of times I press the shutter release, but the massive amount of people, places and objects that needed to be properly categorized for easy access has been mind bending.

 

This picture was shot with Ilford HP5 6x6cm roll film using a Bronica SQA camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens attached. The film was developed with Adonal (A Rodinol clone) developer and pushed 1 stop to help alleviate anticipated problems with fogging, because the film was very old and very much out of date. It may not have been my favorite shoot from 2015, but it is still one of my favorite shoots in recent years.

Library Nightmares

I like to think that I’m an organized person, especially when it comes to organizing my photographs. I do like to think this because in reality my library is a massive nightmare. There is a system, although I don’t think I remember what it was. My New Year’s resolution was to organize the library and like all well-meant resolutions I’ve been expert at avoiding it. I thought today after finishing what I had to do I’d get out of such work by visiting a friend who lives far enough away that I couldn’t both visit and do the donkey work of organizing the library. Sadly he wasn’t home, nor was anybody else who could rescue me answering their phone. With all alternatives exhausted, I begrudgingly sat down and began.

It seems like it will be a never-ending story, but it must be done because seeing the disarray has shaken my belief in my ability to find pictures.

What has amazed me is how long I’ve been doing these composite pictures. This one was shot in 2013, but others go back to 2011. This image was shot from the 26th floor of the Jakarta Shangri-La and shows the city’s massive urban sprawl and the reason why Jakarta was voted the most traffic congested city in the world in 2015.

50mm, f8, 1/50sec, ISO250. (it took 29 frames stitched together to make this image)

It’s One Way to Protect Nature

Having been busy with other things today we are left with another picture from a long time ago, from back in the days when film was plentiful and the only option available.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was wandering around the business district of Perth in Western Australia and I remember being drawn into this carpark by the subtle graduations of light in this vast empty space. Then I saw this tree and it was such a great metaphor for the way we treat nature that it demanded to be photographed and I couldn’t resist.

This photograph is nearly twenty years old, but as relevant today as it was yesterday, proof that in a world of fast moving change, things aren’t changing that much.

The film is Tri-x and the camera my beloved Bronica SQA with what looks like the 50mm wide-angle lens.