Friday, July 17, 2009

Paper Nagatives

Today, I finally cut down some photographic printing paper and put it into my Anniverary Speed Graphic 4x5 press camera. I've had this camera for years. I have even taken it outside to look at images through its ground glass a few times but I never wanted to spend the money on 4x5 film. About two years ago I bought some Ilford RC paper with the intention of making some cheap paper negatives. The guy at Central Camera thought I was a moron when I told him what I was intending to do. It isn't a very crazy idea. Paper negatives were the norm for decades and are not uncommon, even now, among pinhole camera users. Anyway, the internet told me that my paper has an ISO speed of about 6, so I set the camera up, did a meter reading, and exposed the paper for 4 seconds. Processing the paper in the darkroom is a breeze and then I just scanned and inverted the image digitally. The image is just a test, nothing spectacular, but I think it came out surprisingly good for a first attempt. I might lengthen the exposure a bit if I was doing it again. I probably won't be using this technique much though, because I only have one 4x5 film holder, allowing for only two shots at a time between darkroom visits. Plus the camera is huge and all the extra stuff I'd need to carry around makes it too cumbersome. I don't know how the old-timey guys did it. I'm happy to know that it works though, and maybe I'll figure out a project for it in the future. If I can devise a portable darkroom, maybe someday I'll become a street peddler, selling while-you-wait portraits to passersby.

1 comment:

JD said...

this pic is gorgeous. it makes gsu (that is gsu, right?) look like a prison at dawn before all the inmates are up. i'm taking a simile class.