Photographing and Developing

When I think about photographing, it is with film - usually at this point of time black and white - and it is inseparable from the process of developing the film and whatever comes afterwards.

And even though, as for example tonight, sometimes not all goes according to plan and you find yourself with a damp spiral (I know, I know - I am going to write myself a big placard - NO DAMP SPIRALS!) and the 120 film will not load onto it as everything in the changing tent starts to then get damp and sticky, it is still something I would never want to relinquish. The thing is, no matter what the problem (and usually there isn’t one) you work out a remedy and you get through it in the end. Sure, this time I might lose some shots due to kinked film or whatever but that’s just part of it sometimes, and now I shoot extra for insurance against things like that if there’s something that is really working in the picture.

The whole process, from tracking down your subject (if it is a portrait as it was today), to intuiting what might be a good theme or premise for the day’s shoot, perhaps scouting locations (we were out at Sunbury today, so plenty of great spots), selecting angles and lenses and what to do with his hands, whether to look at the camera or away, all of these and a zillion other things are immensely satisfying when it all comes together.

And what comes after? Drying the film overnight, then either low resolution scanning or maybe making a proof sheet in the darkroom. Then assessing - which works best and which sits most comfortably in the other photos in the set - and doing a final high resolution scan and inkjet print or a beautiful darkroom print.

So from nothing, just some virgin film rolls at the start of the day, you get at length a picture that might give you (and hopefully your subject and maybe even other people) pleasure for a long time to come.

I really love photography.