Photography is. . .
Especially film photography. Especially especially when you develop the film four or five weeks after you shoot it. Not only did I forget most of what was on these rolls, I had a rather rude awakening to what worked and what didn’t. It’s this processing (literally) delay that is so alluring about film. Once I’m detached from my images, it’s much easier to see what I did right (usually by accident) and what I did wrong (usually what I thought I did right).
The other thing that’s surprising about photography (especially when there’s a delay) is that it often allows you to revisit what you saw in a breadthless instant and mull it over for as long as you’d like, reinterpreting it as you see fit. When I shot this frame, it looked like this. I wasn’t impressed, and passed over it multiple times when trying to find the “keepers” from my D.C. set. When I was looking for something to put up here to kick off my photo week, something about it caught my eye. After some adjusting and cropping, I figured out what it was: The expression on the soldier’s face. A few more crop attempts, a little digital burning, and a lot of dust spot and scanner artifact removal (CVS insists their scanners are clean and it’s an artifact of the scanning process, though I only half believe them), and this is the result.
When I first saw the scene, I was drawn to the soldier’s expression. You can tell because it’s what I focused on. However, I thought the other soldiers in the background added more interest. Upon further inspection of the frozen slice of time I took, I realized that all of this was distracting, and rearranged the slice accordingly. Now it says what I want it to, and probably what I wanted it to all along. Unfortunately, because the scan was intended for a 4×6 print and I’ve lopped of two thirds of it, it’s pretty pixelated by now. Bear with me. This one’s on my list for a high-res scan in the future.
Old faithful (for photographers in general, not me) Tri-X 400, Clayton F76+ at the normal dilution, which I’m pretty sure I’m never using again. 1+19 is smoother, scans better, and costs less. Sure beats turning the contrast all the way down in Lightroom and throwing away 20 milliliters of developer every time I develop a roll. If I could only use my fixer at 1+19. . .