Having convinced myself that I would never get into Large Format (sheet film) photography, I finally talked myself into buying a 5×7 view camera with an additional 4×5 back. Such is life.
This new series of posts will describe how I get on with the new format for I will undoubtedly make mistakes. I don’t mind sharing these as I have no pretences to keep up and writing about them helps me to stay objective. After all making mistakes is the only way of learning anything.
In this first post I talk about the rationale for going into large format and the kit that I acquired.
If you are like me, scanning is a bit of a pain. Never an ecstasy. However getting it right is important to some workflows. In this post I set out what works for me on black and white films, much which has been learnt through trial and mostly error …
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.
This page is about my efforts at learning film photography and silver halide/alternative printing.
I am no expert and I hope that, by writing these posts, I am not holding myself out to be one.
Some have spent more than 30 years honing their darkroom skills – these are the experts. This site is more of a notebook to myself, recording my progress in film photography and darkroom work. If nothing else, I at least will be helping to preserve a craft that is in danger of disappearing.
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 don’t think the same relationship holds for digital photography.
However I do not eschew digital photography, as this is something different. It’s just not my scene.
Abandoned farm house, North Dakota, lith printed on Foma paper