Films not dead. - F.N.D http://www.filmsnotdead.com - Film Photography Shop, Printroom & Blog Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:21:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Teaching Literacy & Maths through pinholes! http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/03/05/teaching-maths-english-through-pinholes/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/03/05/teaching-maths-english-through-pinholes/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:34:40 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=22780   At school I always hated maths and constiently struggled with it, it never engaged me. Yet wouldn’t it be lovely if you could learn the subjects most kids find boring in a physical and creative way? When we came across this project that David Kendall (director of Fotosynethesis – a non profit organisation that […]

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At school I always hated maths and constiently struggled with it, it never engaged me. Yet wouldn’t it be lovely if you could learn the subjects most kids find boring in a physical and creative way? When we came across this project that David Kendall (director of Fotosynethesis – a non profit organisation that specialises in allowing people to develop their creative skills in photography) sent this idea over to us, we fell in love with it.

Using the most basic form of photography to build on children’s numeracy and literacy skills, Fotosynthesis are planning on teaching 16 different primary schools in Brixton using pinhole photography. The children will be able to learn how to build a camera from nothing, take photographs using their handmade cameras as well as have the opportunity to use a darkroom. This idea needs some help though to get it off the ground; Fotosynthesis have set up a campaign on Indiegogo to help pay for the equipment and assistant facilitator.

This is a great opportunity for children to build their own pinhole cameras as well as develop and understand how to process a handmade photograph. Photosynthesis are planning on building 8 pop-up photo darkrooms in schools and introduce children to the magic of pinhole photography!

Their aim is to: “We want to deliver 64 practical ‘Literacy & Maths through Photography’ workshops to children in 16 primary schools in Brixton, South London. 500 children from different economic and ethnic backgrounds will benefit from the project in the 1st year. 

Using photography as an integral tool this project aims to support the inclusive development of literacy, speech and language and maths in all children irrespective of their learning and linguistic abilities.”

You can support this fantastic project by clicking here.

 

Indiegogo

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52 Photo Tips #6: Pushing film – Stephen Dowling http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/28/52-photo-tips-6-pushing-film-stephen-dowling/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/28/52-photo-tips-6-pushing-film-stephen-dowling/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 07:47:54 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=22741 Push processing is one of the film photographer’s secret weapons. It’s a useful trick when you suddenly find you need to use higher shutter speeds to capture action, or find yourself in lower light than expected. It allows you to use faster shutter speeds – meaning pictures won’t be blurred or underexposed – and increases […]

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Pushed Kodak Tri-X 400 to 800

Pushed Kodak Tri-X 400 to 800

Push processing is one of the film photographer’s secret weapons. It’s a useful trick when you suddenly find you need to use higher shutter speeds to capture action, or find yourself in lower light than expected. It allows you to use faster shutter speeds – meaning pictures won’t be blurred or underexposed – and increases grain, which can add bags of atmosphere. Pushing film/ uprating also produces more contrast and increases the effective sensitivity of your film too, allowing you to shoot well into night fall!

Pushing film involves when one goes to develop their film you simply give it more time in the developer as the technique is overdeveloping the film compensating for the underexposure in the camera.

As long as your camera allows you to manually change your film speed rating, push-processing is easy to do. It means changing the ISO rating on your camera so that the camera thinks it’s shooting a faster-speed film. So if you have a roll of 100-speed film, you set the camera’s meter to 200, or 400. Or if you have 400-speed film, uprating the meter to 800 or 1600 is also a tried-and-tested trick.

It’s one of the easiest film experiments to try out, though for best results there’s a few things to remember.

Label them – immediately: Pushing film will only work if the lab knows that that’s your intent. Changing the meter means you’ll be using faster shutter speeds, which means the film is exposed for less time. This means the film will need longer development times. If you don’t label the film that it needs to be uprated, you’ll get negs that are horribly underexposed. The more the film has been pushed, the worse this will be. So label them, as soon as you’ve shot the roll – a pack of stickers are always in my camera bag for just this reason.

Mark the film speed as soon as you’ve taken the film out of the camera. That way you don’t have the frustrating problem of trying to work which of the rolls you’ve shot on a weekend or a trip away that needed to be uprated…

Most labs will do this, perhaps with a small extra charge. If your lab doesn’t – find one that does. They deserve your custom.

Scanned Image 14

Pushed T-Max 100 to 400

Meter for highlights: When you push film, you increase the grain, those speckles that add atmosphere to film pictures (and look so much better than digital noise) . If you concentrate too much on the shadows, you turn what should be pitch, rich blacks into something greyer; the lack of contrast can make shadows look milky and indistinct. Metering for the brighter parts of the scene will make sure that the shadows remain nice and dark.

Push fresh film: New film is the best to push. I’m a big fan of using expired film, but unless the film has been fridge- or freezer-stored you might find the results lack contrast and depth. Shoot expired film box speed until you’re confident it’s giving consistent results. When pushing  colour film it can result in more saturation and distorted colours as well as more grain.

One thing you really can’t do is change your ISO halfway through your film. In some cases people have done this and I’ve seen the results of a darkroom printer actually process half the roll for the selected time and the other side the extra required time. Surprisingly it works, if it’s in the right hands, yet I wouldn’t recommend this.

Limit the amount it travels: Airport x-rays fritz film, and they fritz faster film a lot quicker than slow ISO film. If you push process film away from home, bear in mind you’re also making it more susceptible to fogging from x-ray radiation. One or two passes probably won’t hurt (as long as it’s fresh film) but if you’re taking film through more, you might want to wait until the end of the trip before you start uprating – either buy fresh film on location to push, or leaving it at the normal speed until the last minute.

Some films push better: Black and white film is by far the best to push. King of them all is Kodak’s Tri-X, which has changed little since it came out in the 1950s. I’ve had fantastic results with this 400-speed film rated at anything up to 6400; the characteristic ‘chalk-and-charcoal’ bright whites and deep blacks are retained.

John Convertino of Calexico at Brighton soundcheck, shot on a Nikon FM2N and Fuji Neopan rated at 6400 © Stephen Dowling

A great example of a push processing situation that you must check out is John Alcott won an Oscar “ for his gorgeous use of natural lighting” in Stanley Kubrick’s 18th century period film Barry Lyndon, in which he succeeded in filming scenes lit only by candlelight through the use of “special lenses designed by NASA for low-light shooting on moon landings” and push processing the film stock.

My Soundcheck Sessions project (shown above) has been shot mostly on the now sadly defunct Fuji Neopan, a 400-speed film pushed to 6400. It’s another film that keeps it characteristics with careful developing. Though the film is no longer available, you must still be able to find the last few rolls in a local camera store or on eBay.

Other films might suit your style. The only way to find out is to experiment!

 

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Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840 – 1860 – Tate Britain http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/25/salt-and-silver-early-photography-1840-1860-tate-britain/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/25/salt-and-silver-early-photography-1840-1860-tate-britain/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:35:26 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=20705 25th February – 7th June 2015 Tate Britain Millbank London SW1P 4RG United Kingdom Opening times: Every day, 10.00–18.00 Admission: Adult £12.00 (without donation £10.90) Concession £10.50 (without donation £9.50) For further information: +44 (0)20 7887 8888/visiting.britain@tate.org.uk Opening it’s doors today ‘Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840 – 1860′ is a rare treat, a display of exquisite salt prints from the 19th Century. This is […]

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Jean Baptiste Frenet women-and-girls-doll © Wilson Centre for Photography

Jean Baptiste Frenet women and girls doll © Wilson Centre for Photography

25th February – 7th June 2015

Tate Britain Millbank
London SW1P 4RG United Kingdom

Opening times: Every day, 10.00–18.00

Admission: Adult £12.00 (without donation £10.90)
Concession £10.50 (without donation £9.50)

For further information: +44 (0)20 7887 8888/visiting.britain@tate.org.uk

Opening it’s doors today ‘Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840 – 1860′ is a rare treat, a display of exquisite salt prints from the 19th Century. This is a very exciting exhibition as it’s the first exhibition in Britain devoted to salted paper prints, one of the earliest forms of photography that was pioneered in Britian. This unique process was invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839, from which the salt print process spread across the globe, creating a new visual language of the modern moment.

The show contains a wide range of prints from an array of different photographers such as Talbot, Baldus, Nègre, Nadar, Salzmann and Fenton as well as some lesser known names. It has been curated by Carol Jacobi (Curator of British Art 1850–1915) and Simon Baker (Photography International Art) in collaboration with the Wilson Centre for Photography.

 

This revolutionary photographic process transformed subjects, still lifes, portraits, landscapes and scenes of daily life into images. It brings it’s own luxurious aesthetic, soft textures, matt appearance and deep rich red tones, the variations seen throughout this exhibition is fascinating to observe. It’s also an incredible opportunity to view the original prints in an exhibition format, which has never been done before on a scale like this before.

The process starts with dipping writing paper in a solution of common salt, then partly drying it, coating it with silver nitrate, then drying it again, before applying further coats of silver nitrate, William Henry Fox Talbot pioneered what became known as the salt print and the world’s first photographic print! The specifically soft and luxurious aesthetic became an icon of modern visual language.

The few salt prints that survive are rarely seen due to their fragility. This exhibition is extremely important to recognise this historical process as well as a fantastic opportunity to see the rarest and best up close of early photographs of this type in the world.

Jean-Baptiste Frénet, Horse and Groom, 1855 © Wilson Centre for Photography Roger Fenton, Captain Mottram Andrews, 28th Regiment (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot, 1855 © Wilson Centre for Photography Jean-Baptiste Frénet, Women and girls with a doll, circa 1855 © Wilson Centre for Photography D. O. Hill and Robert Adamson, Newhaven fishermen, circa 1845 © Wilson Centre for Photography John Wheeley Gough Gutch Abbey Ruins, circa 1858 © Wilson Centre for Photography 2

 

 Tate Britain 

Images courtesy Tate Britain © Wilson Centre for Photography

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Denton Camera Exchange http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/19/denton-camera-exchange/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/19/denton-camera-exchange/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 10:20:55 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=20976   When you think of Texas the stereotypical thought is real cowboys, vast land, large lakes and Longhorn Cattle. So we were surprised to learn upon watching this 5 minute clip that Armand Kohandani opend up, Denton Camera Exchange. It’s the only camera retail outlet in Denton, Texas, a city of around 110,000 people and the […]

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photo

The outside of Denton Camera Exchange

When you think of Texas the stereotypical thought is real cowboys, vast land, large lakes and Longhorn Cattle. So we were surprised to learn upon watching this 5 minute clip that Armand Kohandani opend up, Denton Camera Exchange. It’s the only camera retail outlet in Denton, Texas, a city of around 110,000 people and the 27th most populous city in Texas.

In the video below Kohandani explains how he came to make his camera store by buying some inventory with a loan from his father, and how he’s trying to preserve the unique history of film photography.

“There’s lots of folks out there that don’t even know that film is still available, and it surprises them that I still carry it.”

Information: ISO 1200

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Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s – 1990s – V&A http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/19/staying-power-photographs-of-black-british-experience-1950s-1990s-va/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/19/staying-power-photographs-of-black-british-experience-1950s-1990s-va/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 09:22:30 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=21039 16th February – 24th May 2015 Victoria and Albert Museum Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL Opening Times: 10.00 to 17.45 daily 10.00 to 22.00 Fridays Admission: Free Further information: +44 (0)20 7942 2000/ vanda@vam.ac.uk Opened on the 16th of February the V&A and Black Cultural Archives have teamed up over the last 7 years to create a […]

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Armet-Francis_-_Se_3202256c

Armet Francis, ‘Self-portrait in Mirror’, 1964. Museum no. E.103-2013. © Armet Francis/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

16th February – 24th May 2015

Victoria and Albert Museum Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Opening Times: 10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays

Admission: Free

Further information: +44 (0)20 7942 2000/ vanda@vam.ac.uk

Opened on the 16th of February the V&A and Black Cultural Archives have teamed up over the last 7 years to create a new show with the V&A museum, “Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s.” 

Recently acquired works explores the experiences black people had in Britain during the latter half of the 20th century. This was result of a conscious decision to boost the museums permanent collection of photographs by either black British photographers, or that represent black people living in Britain.

Over the period in which the V&A and Black Culture Archives have worked together, the V&A have been able to collect over 100 photographs by 17 artists ranging from Charlie Phillips documentation of Notting Hill during the 1960s and 70s, to J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere iconic black and white photographs of Nigerian hairstyles and headwraps.

The display also plays on the idea of identity, with Maxine Walker’s work looking into the idea of racial stereotypes, by photographing herself in a variety of different wigs and costumes. Her identity is also questioned through the use of photographic techniques presenting herself with a range of different skin tones.

Curated by Marta Weiss, the small yet powerful exhibition provides a delightfully varied mix of subject matter and form, that has never been  gathered as one collection before. The display represents a period when black Britons transformed the nation’s music, art, fashion and youth scenes.

To coincide with the display at the V&A, Black Cultural Archives are also presenting an exhibition drawn from the collection at their heritage centre in Brixton from the 15th January – 30th June 2015.

Notting Hill couple, 1967. ‘Merely posing for this picture might have seemed like a statement of defiance back in the 1960s,’ says Matthew Ryder. Photograph: Charlie Phillips/Victoria and Albert Museum J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, 'HD-557/74 (Beri Beri)', 1974, from the series 'Hairstyles'. Museum no. E.234-2013. © The Estate of J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. High Street Kensington, 1976. Photograph: Al Vandenberg/Victoria and Albert Museum James Barnor, 'Wedding Guests in London', 1960s. Museum no. E.102-2012. © James Barnor/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Armet Francis, 'Self-portrait in Mirror', 1964. Museum no. E.103-2013. © Armet Francis/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, 'Untitled, HG-423-04', 2004, from the series 'Headties'. Museum no. E.227-2013. © The Estate of J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

V&A Museum

Images courtesy – V&A

Black Cultural Archive

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52 Photo Tips – #5: Don’t get Frustrated – Stephen Dowling http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/18/52-photo-tips-5-dont-get-frustrated-stephen-dowling/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/18/52-photo-tips-5-dont-get-frustrated-stephen-dowling/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:27:05 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=21023 There’s no getting away from it – shooting film can be frustrating and an exciting process. If you’ve come from digital, where a shot can be tweaked and upgraded at the touch of a few buttons, the gap between what you see in your viewfinder and what turns up on the negatives can be dispiriting. […]

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There’s no getting away from it – shooting film can be frustrating and an exciting process. If you’ve come from digital, where a shot can be tweaked and upgraded at the touch of a few buttons, the gap between what you see in your viewfinder and what turns up on the negatives can be dispiriting.

Every film photographer has had that feeling; the expectation of an incredible shot that is punctured when the prints or scans come back from the lab – pics scratched, blurry, underexposed or poorly composed. Enough of those moments and it’s no wonder many think ‘what’s the point?’ and return to digital.

Most of those frustrations are easily solved however. There’s a few things worth bearing in mind until they become second nature – the kind of thing that those of us who’ve been shooting on film for years do without even thinking.

Pic: Pixabay

Clean your camera: We’re not talking hours of polishing and rubbing. Open the back of the camera before you head out and give it a few gentle blasts from an air blower (you can pick these up for a few quid). Run a cloth or some cotton buds to pick up any debris. This is how you prevent dirt, sand, dust and git getting stuck between the film transport and your film. Most people blame labs for scratchy negs. Most of the time it’s because their camera’s not clean.

Shooting on a 150mm lens needs a shutter speed of 1/250th or faster © Stephen Dowling

Keep your shutter speed above your focal length: Blurry photos? Your shutter speed isn’t fast enough. The quickest, simplest way to avoid that – apart from using flash – is to keep your shutter speed “above” your focal length. Have a 50m lens on your camera? Shot at /60th or faster. A 135mm lens? Shoot at 1/250th or faster. If need be, load a faster film so you can use these speeds, or a lens with a wider aperture.

Taken on Rolleiflex T 645 insert + attachment close up lens number 2. Right next to a window in a very dark room.

Be aware of tungsten light: Most film is balanced for the colour of daylight – there was a lot of tungsten-balanced films available on the market back in the day, yet now not as much, but if you want to use tungsten film you could always try the beautiful Cinestill Film! Sometimes that orangey glow of light adds bags of atmosphere – think of the golden glow of candlelight and the feelings that can evoke. But the tungsten cast can be overpowering, especially for portraits. I tend to shoot indoor portraits black and white unless I can find a window, or I’m intentionally wanting to use tungsten light.

Scan 1

Get closer: Best piece of advice I ever got, from musician Chris Colbourn, who’s a cracking photographer – get closer. When you’re about to take a picture, stop – take a few steps closer, and recompose. That’s the single best piece of advice I’ve ever received. So many of my early shots were ruined by the vast amounts of empty space, and the point of the picture lost amongst it. Every time I go out to take pictures, it’s the piece of advice that still rings the loudest, wherever I am.

I can’t guarantee that every pic is going to be a keeper if you keep to these rules, but they will help cut down on some of the common traps that’s so easy to fall into. And shooting film should be fun, not frustrating.

 

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Remembering Eugène Atget – A Pioneer of documentary photography http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/12/remembering-eugene-atget-a-pioneer-of-documentary-photography/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/12/remembering-eugene-atget-a-pioneer-of-documentary-photography/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:14:56 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=20701 February 12, 1857, Libourne, France –  August 4, 1927, Paris, France  Today we remember a founding father in documentary photography, photographer Eugène Atget, who was born on this day 158 years ago. Atget was a French photographer who found his calling in photography when he started documenting Old Paris in 1898. During this time Paris started to undergo radical […]

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February 12, 1857, Libourne, France –  August 4, 1927, Paris, France 

Today we remember a founding father in documentary photography, photographer Eugène Atget, who was born on this day 158 years ago. Atget was a French photographer who found his calling in photography when he started documenting Old Paris in 1898. During this time Paris started to undergo radical modernisation. Atget grouped his photographs of Old Paris, which included architecture and architectural decoration, into a series titled “The Art of Old Paris.” The series comprised of more than 3,000 pictures, most produced between 1898 and 1915, which were straight forward documentations. Though his determination to document the scenes and streets of Paris he became known as a pioneer in documentary photography.

With an interest in painting but lack of facility led him to take up photography in the late 1880s. At this time photography was experiencing unprecedented expansion in both commercial and amateur fields. Atget entered the commercial arena. Equipped with a standard box camera on a tripod and 180×240 mm glass negatives, he gradually made some 10,000 photographs of France that describe its cultural legacy and its popular culture. To make a living Atget printed his negatives on ordinary albumen-silver paper and sold them. Despite the prevailing taste for soft-focus, painterly photography from c. 1890 to 1914, Atget remained constant in his straightforward record-making technique. It suited the notion he held of his calling, which was to make not art but documents.

By 1891 Atget had found a niche in the Parisian artistic community selling to painters photographs of animals, flowers, landscapes, monuments and urban views. In 1898 – 1915 he began to specialize in documents of Old Paris, to satisfy the popular interest in preserving the historic art and architecture of an ever vanishing city.

Working alone, Atget accumulated a vast stock of photographs of old houses, churches, streets, courtyards, doors, stairs, mantelpieces and other decorative motifs. He marketed these images not only to artists but also to architects, artisans, decorators, publishing houses, libraries and museums. While Atget made his name doing this work, much of his production was routine; his artistic fame came from his pursuit of this approach.

In 1920 Atget sold most of his negatives of  “Old Paris” to the government. Until his death thirty years later he worked quietly at his calling. Atget created a tremendous photographic record of Paris in the nineteenth century yet he never had any of his work published. Luckily  Man Ray and Berenice Abbott, who were working in Paris at the time kept his work alive and significant. Abbott preserved his prints and negatives, and was the first person to publish and exhibit Atget’s work outside of France. Many existing prints of Atget’s images were, in fact, made by Abbott in the 1930s from his negatives.

© Eugène Atget © Eugène Atget © Eugène Atget © Eugène Atget © Eugène Atget

Information: MoMA

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From start to finish the making of a 16″x20″ camera – Shane Arsenault http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/11/from-start-to-finish-the-making-of-a-16x20-camera-shane-arsenault/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/11/from-start-to-finish-the-making-of-a-16x20-camera-shane-arsenault/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:52:56 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=20824   We saw this via PetaPixel and had to get in touch with Shane Arsenault about his amazing achievement. Arsenault is a student at Alberta College of Art and Design, in his 4th year graduating with a Bachelor of Design majoring in Photography. Arsenault has covered a range of mediums within photography working with a wide variety of techniques […]

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We saw this via PetaPixel and had to get in touch with Shane Arsenault about his amazing achievement. Arsenault is a student at Alberta College of Art and Design, in his 4th year graduating with a Bachelor of Design majoring in Photography. Arsenault has covered a range of mediums within photography working with a wide variety of techniques such as the collodion wet plate process to building his very own camera, it’s clear to us that Arsenault’s love and respect for the medium is extremely strong and ever growing.

Arsenault kindly let us share this story he wrote on his blog about how he came to build his very own 16″x20″camera, enjoy:

Starting back in May of 2014, I finally put my first foot forward in the making of a 16×20 inch bellows camera. The idea to build a camera was nothing new to me, but I was always hesitant to begin construction since I am the type of person that prefers to work off a set of blue prints and directions. Unfortunately, since my drawing skills aren’t amazing, it was pretty difficult to visualize and plan a solid blueprint of the project – which ultimately forced me to bite the bullet and simply begin construction of the camera and problem solve along the way.

Before building the camera, I did set out to make an outline of what I wanted the camera to achieve and be used for. For example; I knew that it needed to have a full range of motion as most Large Format Cameras (tilt, shift, swing, rise, fall), exceptional bellow draw to allow me to get close to subjects, and utmost, to look professional. With these goals in mind, I would be able to make a camera that can be used for all sorts of subject matter and situations.

From then until now: the construction of the camera is complete, I have run multiple tests in studio with the camera, and have shot a small series of six portraits.

During the process of building the camera all the way to the small series I have created, I have made a point of documenting what I have done in order to create a short visual essay to share the process with you all. Here we go!

I needed to have some sort of foundation in order to start construction. I chose to start building the film (paper) back. By starting with the film back, this allowed me to make all the proper measurements that I needed in order to complete the rest of the camera.

Here you can see where I used a router to make a space large enough to fit a piece of 16″X20″ light sensitive material. Its depth is deep enough to fit everything from paper to film to 3mm tin or glass. What is being clamped down is an 1/8th inch piece of MDF; once the top piece of wood (in the background of the image, top right) is fitted on top of the MDF, there would be enough space for a dark slide to fit in to keep the film safe from light.

Clamping the top piece of the film back. The colour of the wood is darker now since I chose to do a quick layer of stain to make sure all the hard to reach (stain) places would have some sort of protective coating.

Once the top piece of the back was fitted, I proceeded to add a few strips of pine around the edges to cover up all the layers of wood and MDF, and ultimately give it a cleaner and more professional feel. Once everything was in place, I then sanded down all sides of the film back to make sure there were no protruding edges and to make sure it looked like one unified piece of wood. With the exception of the dark slide and a stain job, the film back is done!

Now that the film back is complete, I was able to take all my necessary measurement from it, and start construction on the actual camera. Simply, I needed to start construction of building a light tight box that could hold a film back and ground glass back, and hold a lens to project the images. Here I started building the back of the camera. I needed to build a box that would allow me to slide in and out my film holder, and the ground glass back – once that was built, I could proceed to the next steps.

With the frame built for the sliding backs, all I had to do was build around it. While doing this, I needed to make sure that I provided sufficient space for my bellows to attach on the inside of the camera (seen in picture 2), and to make sure that I made everything large enough so that the back of the camera could stand and support itself. I provided multiple shots so you can get a better idea.

Now that the film back and the back of the camera were fully built – the rest of the construction was easy, all I had to do was take all the measurements from the parts that I already built, and re-apply them to make the front of the camera and make the ground glass back. In these two pictures you can see what the front element of the camera is going to look like. Directly in the centre of the front box is where the lens will be placed.

Here (below)  you can see me routing the hole in the front of the camera where my lens is going to be mounted.


All pieces of the camera are fully finished (including the ground glass back, which I haven’t shown)! With the help of my friends, we added a couple coats of stain to the entirety of the camera, and once dry, varnished the whole thing for a nice finished matte look. All that is now left to do is mount the lens and attach the bellows.

After a long search of which lens to use that would have an image circle large enough to cover 16″X20″, I ended up purchasing a vintage 19.75 inch (502mm) F10 Kodak Anastigmat lens.

Here is a view of the camera when it is extended. Since the bellows were much to complicated to me to construct by hand, I ended up getting them custom made by a fellow in Hong Kong where he hand made them using reinforced vinyl. Furthermore, I got a local custom leather shop (Odessa Goods) to create simple leather handles for my film and ground glass back – this made it easy to insert and remove the backs as needed.

 

The very first negative made with the camera. You can tell by the look on my face I am pretty excited! (Below) This is the first negative that I chose to go on and make a contact print within the darkroom. Below you will see the final product.

Here is the very first print I made using the above negative. I am using RC paper to create paper negatives of my subjects, which I then go on to make a contact print in the darkroom that gives me a positive. In this particular case, I used a 20″X24″ piece of RC paper to make my contact print.

Since the ASA (ISO) of this paper is around 2, during the shoot, I use hot lamps to allow me to focus on my subject, then proceed to use a Profoto D4 pack with one light at full power to provide me enough light for an instant exposure. The results could not have been better.

                        

You can see me focusing the camera onto my subject, then loading the film back, and finally lifting up the dark slide in order to make my exposure. Its funny to think sometimes that to operate the camera I must use a table as a tripod, a stool to stand higher than the camera, and an assistant to operate the manual shutter (simply taking the lens cap on and off). If you look closely on the middle shot just to the left of my feet, you can see the ground glass back I use to focus my images.

These particular images taken of me was during a shoot where I photographed 6 people through the course of an entire day. All of my subjects were influential photographers within the photographic industry and have mentored me throughout my own photographic journey. Below is the body of work that I have produced so far:

                                

 

Information courtesy of Shane Arsenault/ Images © Shane Arsenault 

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52 Photo Tips – #4: Always Carry a Notebook – Stephen Dowling http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/07/52-photo-tips-4-always-carry-a-notebook/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/07/52-photo-tips-4-always-carry-a-notebook/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 16:21:11 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=20746 There’s two bits of kit that are vital when you’re starting out in film photography. It’s not something that you need to buy from a camera store, nor order over the internet. You’ll find them in every corner store, and they will cost you next to nothing. A notebook and pen are invaluable for any […]

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© Stephen Dowling

There’s two bits of kit that are vital when you’re starting out in film photography. It’s not something that you need to buy from a camera store, nor order over the internet. You’ll find them in every corner store, and they will cost you next to nothing.

A notebook and pen are invaluable for any photographer, but especially for those shooting film. I have one in all three of my camera bags, just in case I forget to take one before I head out for the day. I’ve got a soft spot for Moleskine notebooks, the re-released little black book used by travel writers, poets and artists through the 20th Century, but any reasonably robust little notebook will do.

Digital photographers have the benefit of EXIF data when it comes to editing their work – with a few clicks they can find out the shutter speed and aperture chosen, the ISO, even the time and the exact spot the picture was taken. Shooting film, you have to jot all this stuff down yourself. And you should – when it comes to looking through your pics, you’ll want to know why some shots worked – and why some were failures.

So why not just tap all this stuff into your phone? Because writing this stuff down is a memory aid in itself, far more than pushing the keypad on your smartphone.

Here’s the stuff I suggest you write down:

Exposure details: What shutter speed? What aperture? If you’re learning on a manual camera, then writing down the combinations that create the photos you like is invaluable.

ISO: Have you pushed the film? Is it expired, and do you need to shoot it at a different speed? Do you want to cross-process some of your slide films? Note this stuff down. Even better – buy a pack of cheap stickers so that you can stick it on the film when you take it out of the camera. There’s nothing worse than shooting a handful of films and then not being able to work out which of them need to be developed differently.

Camera/lens: I rarely go shooting without two or three cameras, especially if I’m travelling. One might be loaded with balck and white, one colour film, one with slide to be xpro’d. Make a note of what camera has what in it.

Colour and atmosphere: I find this specially useful when I’m travelling; I don’t take a picture of everything I see, as much as some of the people I travel with might think.
But my notebooks are full of other observations and colour, snatches of conversations and moments that pass by too quickly to record with a camera. This doesn’t just help me as a writer but as a photographer as well. They are little reminders to keep your eyes open. You never know what’s going to be around the next corner.

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The World’s First Photo Book from 1843 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/04/the-worlds-first-photo-book-from-1843/ http://www.filmsnotdead.com/2015/02/04/the-worlds-first-photo-book-from-1843/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 16:56:05 +0000 http://www.filmsnotdead.com/?p=20722 Anna Atkins was an English botanist and a photographer who is often considered the first women to have created a photograph (Constance Fox Talbot is another name that comes up in the discussion regarding the earliest known female photographer), as well as being the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images entitled ‘‘British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions’’! […]

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algae311

© Anna Atkins

Anna Atkins was an English botanist and a photographer who is often considered the first women to have created a photograph (Constance Fox Talbot is another name that comes up in the discussion regarding the earliest known female photographer), as well as being the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images entitled ‘‘British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions’’!

Her love and interest for the Cyanotype printing method began through its inventor, the astronomer and scientist Sir John Herschel, a family friend who taught her how to produce a print.

The online show Objectivity recently paid a visit to The Royal Society in London to see its copy of Anna Atkin’s Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, published 1843.

Only 17 copies of this book are known to exist in the world, and the Royal Society’s 403-page, 389-photo copy is thought to be “the only existing copy of the book as Atkins intended.” Other owners of this book include the British Library in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the New York Public Library.

Copies of this book sold for £133,500 (~$200,000) and £229,250 (~$350,000) at auctions in 1996 and 2004, respectively.

These are not your typical photographs. Atkins would have placed the algae specimens directly onto photographic paper and then exposed the paper to light, creating silhouette photos of the algae once the paper is developed.

 

 

© Anna Atkins © Anna Atkins © Anna Atkins © Anna Atkins

 

Information: Petapixel

To make your own cyanotypes click here.

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