The general advice on choosing a film/developer combination is to select just one (or two) and to stick to this until you have learned its subtleties. The snag is that I enjoy experimenting, so I find sticking to this advice difficult. However, aside from some specialist techniques like infrared or pinhole, I seem to have settled on a few combinations that I favour …
I have written a few posts on split-grade printing before (here and here) but I thought that I would revisit it again in more detail. The reason for this is that I am having some problems with it, so a post like this forces me to re-evaluate what I am doing, starting with the basics and trying to understand where I am going wrong.
The advantage that a print has over an on-line image, or even an image in a book, is that the photographer retains control over the look of the photograph, assuming that the photographer can specify the lighting conditions under which the photograph is viewed.
Mention ‘landscape photography’ these days and many would immediately think of that style of photography that looks to the ‘beautiful’ or to the ‘sublime’ or to the ‘picturesque’ in our countryside. Perhaps we have Edmund Burke’s ‘A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful‘ to blame for that.
Romanticism in landscape photography is nothing new of course. 19th century Romantic photography provided a position which enabled a counter-reaction into Modernism.
When I see the two words ‘Zen’ and ‘Photography’ together my in-built bullshit alarm starts to ring. An on-line search of the words ‘Zen’ + ‘Photography’ will retrieve ethereal long exposure landscapes and seascapes or articles about the need for an empty mind when pressing the camera’s shutter. And and so on. Empty indeed!
This photograph took some effort. The church is almost abandoned, lying about five miles west of Rugby, North Dakota. The problem was that the altar and its furniture was not quite square, so I moved the furniture to find symmetry around the figure of Jesus. Whereas I find asymmetry often pleasing, something that is supposed to be symmetrical but is a shade out gnaws at me at little.
This blog is about my efforts at learning film photography and silver halide/alternative printing.
For me, film photography and darkroom skills are two sides of the same coin, inseparable. Taking a picture fashions the options that you have in the darkroom. Printing a photograph tells you how you could have done better when taking that photograph. I could not do one without the other.