Paper Negs : Having Fun With Photography...
I do not want you all thinking I am getting all 'alternative' or anything but I had honestly forgotten how much fun experimentation is......
I attended the FOCUS on Imaging show in Birmingham, England a couple of weeks ago and I was given a job to do on teh HARMAN technology stand.
I was given our SINAR 10 x 8 monorail and told to photograph people......in a 'make shift' studio, the old boy should be able to manage that...!!!
I took ( along with with lots and lots of help from photo students from Warwickshire College, 3 on call at a time, who had volunteered to help us ) 600 portraits in 4 days. But using paper negs and contacting them down:
So 10x8 slides loaded with ILFORD MGIV Cooltone ( its a bit faster than normal MGIV at 7asa or so ) a 0 grade filter stuck on the front of the lens, 1/60th second wide open : The lighting was fairly 'nuclear' I have to admit and not very subtle but it worked. The students then processed the sheets ( in an ILFORD 2150 processor ) contacted them down, under an enlarger 20 seconds at f8 and popped the positive through the processor: A complete positive monochrome print in 8 minutes or so for less than a dollar !.
I am not kidding they looked absolutely fantastic, a little punchy perhaps, but people just could'nt get enough of them, they just loved them, with a depth of field of about 3 inches we had that sharp eye, out of focus hair thing, I had people coming back to have more taken, groups, students, people from other stands like d****L suppliers... just non-stop for 4 days....and do you know they absolutely valued them...one girl cried when I gave her a 'roman' style side view portrait ( to avoid the dreaded teenage braces, that look OK to me, but they don't like them ). I guess 75% of the portraits were people under 30..
Every print was taken...none were left on the display board...
What does this say? to me it says analog is cool.. and lots of fun, if you are 7 or 70, and what we do is actually 'make things' that are really valuable, even if they are not 'technically' the best you could achieve.
Photo students are also great! fearless, these kids were 17 and 18 and they were managing the people, taking the photographs, getting great results and setting up the workflow, sharing out the taking and the processing, no time for lunch just 'got a job to do and doing it'. So full of confidence after just a couple of hours, I Completely had a blast.....
So : Whats this post for ? : this summer, I'm taking the 10 x 8 monorail out, I am going to photograph paper negs on RC of the English landscape, contact them down on ART 300 or FB , destroy the RC neg, and have my own limited edition for 'the summer of 2012' a set of 25 unique prints ( I hope ) for me to keep ( forever ) for less than $ 100...( actually a lot less for me, but you know what I mean ).
Enough.... inspired of Mobberley. I love my job.
Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
I'd like to do some experimenting too---I'm particularly interested in the digital silver paper, but I don't want to buy a huge roll of it just to experiment with--is there a chance of getting some of this in sheets--I"ve been looking to get some in sheets for quite some time and I don't see it available in sheets anywhere.
what a cool post !
LONG LIVE ILFORD / HARMAN TECHNOLOGY LIMITED !
i hope you post some of your summer series
That sounds like so much fun!!!
Thanks for a great post, Simon. I'm always speaking to and encouraging students and other customers in my job at Carmarthen Cameras and hoping to impart some inspiration to those who are film users from my own 30 years experience. Your success at Focus, in reaching a wide audience, adds to the contemporary canon of films place as an artistic/expressive medium that is accessible and good fun. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get to Focus this time and I was looking forward to seeing your stand in particular.
I have a 5x4 Speed Graphic on loan from a friend and @ 10 DDS's and I will be cutting down some 10x8 MG IV, probably today.
Would regular RC MGIV have a 'film' speed of @ 5 or 6 ISO ?
If only I could persuade the boss to stock the 5x4 Harman pinhole.
Regards, Mark Walker.
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Simon, it is clear you have the worst job.... I think many of us are jealous. You don't happen to need someone to help demonstrate your products?
You remind me that I need to order some of that direct positive paper of yours. And build me that 8x10 camera.
The ILFORD monochrome paper for digital / laser exposure ( both FB and RC ) is not available in sheets :
This product cannot be coventionally exposed, it requiries laser exposure.
Simon ILFORD photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
Dear Mark Walker,
Thanks for your post : MGIV is 4asa approx.
Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology limited :
It's wonderful to read your enthusiasm, Simon! Wonderful. Not only do you supply some really amazing monochrome products, but you dish out some much needed enthusiasm about darkroom based photography in this day and age of sterile mass production. Thank you!
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".