I was looking through old scans and forgot about this one.
I’m pretty sure I know who this truck belongs to, and this picture of this truck seems a fair reflection of his personality.
“FYI- YASHICA CAMERA” arrived today, and was a miserable disappointment. The film advance isn’t really connected to anything, the mirror is stuck up, and the shutter won’t cock. These problems are probably all related, but the point is that the camera is definitely not usable. After all of that waiting and frustration, it is utterly worthless. Now begins the delicate eBay refund tapdance. Though my dealings with the seller so far aren’t exactly confidence-inspiring, I hope this one isn’t too painful. Moral of the story: Don’t be stupid like me- learn your lessons.
I loaded up my students’ cameras with Tri-X tonight, and they’re off into the world of hybrid black-and-white photography. Most have never handled a 35mm camera before, and none has used a manual camera before. One pair is using a KR-10 from my personal stash (actually, it’s borrowed) in place of the disappointing Yashica. I forgot that it has a light leak, so I’ll have to track them down tomorrow with some electrical tape.
It’s strange trying to explain exposure and film and metering to people who have never tried it before. It’s easy to forget how foreign these things feel at first, especially to those of us hailing from the digital age. There’s a difference between explaining and teaching, and I’m hoping this week of playing with the cameras will help take me from the first to the second. Only time will tell.
Probably my KR-5 Super II loaded with Plus-X. I should write these things down.
More toy cameras.
I shot another roll of redscaled film last week with much better results. Wide angle lenses (even if they are plastic and attached to a $3 camera) ar great for close-up perspective-disorting shots. I like how huge the (admittedly huge in real life) brake rotor looks. I had a dream last night that I bought some sort of used Triumph, and it reminded me that I wanted to post this.
Kodak Gold 200 film (expired six years ago and salvaged from my roommate’s mother’s closet) redscaled and shot in a Fuji Smart Shot II toy camera.
Am I lowering my standards?
After my repeated CVS developing disasters (preceded by my CVS scanning disasters), I’ve finally given up on CVS One-Hour Photo Processing. There’s something so incredibly convenient about having your negatives developed while you wait (they put a develop-only through in about twenty minutes), but when they are routinely destroying rolls of your film, it quickly becomes a problem. Now that I’m taking my film to the local professional shop, the dust and scratch problems have literally disappeared. While the jump from $2.19 to $3 per roll is really hurting my wallet, the real downside is waiting for my film to come back. They only run C-41 when enough piles up, which usually comes to about once a week. Last time I walked in literally ten minutes before they were running film and had my negatives back in twenty-five minutes. The next roll I dropped off has been there for five days, and will hopefully be done tomorrow. As a result, the blog has become a bit sporadic, and when a roll doesn’t work out (for example, because I’m shooting slide film I’ve never cross processed before in a camera with a lens I’ve (almost) never used before and another that I’d not only used before but cost $3.71), it can mean a dry week.
As is my usually style, I’ve been occasionally going back to these for a week. letting them grow on me and seeing if anything I really like emerges. Unfortunately, nothing did. I do think this is an interesting shot though (if just for the documentary value), and it’s also an interesting example of what happens when you cross process. These are the “natural” colors. This is not a Photoshop action or something of that nature (my post-processing consisted of a crop, a little highlight recovery, and a slight “s” in curves to boost contrast, along with the sharpening that is a necessity for every negative scan). Cross-processed films tend to turn either magenta or green to varying extents depending on the film used and the exposure, and this is an example of a strong magenta shift. You can also see how it varies across the tonal range: The highlights (the back of the SUV) have virtually no shift, the lights (brighter portions of the pavement and sky) have a minimal shift, and the darks (farther edges of the pavement and sky) have a strong shift toward magenta.
Also, note that I appear in the image. A decidedly postmodern nod in an otherwise pointless picture.
Fuji Sensia 100 shot in a Fuji Smart Shot II (which is ghetto beyond all imagining, and please be aware that the camera in that image is the “deluxe” model, which mine is not) cross-processed C-41 (and not ruined, but unfortunately also pretty uninteresting).
Philosophy is important.
A few weeks ago, I was perusing my local camera shop, which is one of the few local “mom and pop” stores I actually feel obligated to support. This is because they actually provide services, information, and products that I would miss if they were gone. The film was closing in on a decade expired, and I thought it might be interesting to play with, The results were incredibly grainy, had unpredicatable color shifts (some warm, some cool), and ugly mottled patterns in the dark areas (light parts of the negatives). This is a black and white-processed image from a color negative scan from this roll. I always feel like I should disclose this, and sometimes I do. The color version, which I think is interesting considering the unique qualities of the film, is here. I like it, but I don’t think it has the same impact, and the coldness of the tones (causing the blue cast) was frustrating me.
So, where are the incredible Velvia desert shots from my backpacking trip (as referenced here)? Unfortunately, they don’t exist, and I don’t mean they aren’t developed yet. I was supposed to leave two Fridays ago, but I had been battling the flu all week. I woke up on Friday feeling worse than ever, and had to make the difficult decision to cancel my plane ticket based on doom and gloom predictions of possible sinus infections, chest constriction and/or breathing trouble, and pneumonia (none of which came to pass). Instead, I spent the week at home, which means no desert pictures. I did do a little shooting (some Sensia headed for C-41 processing and some expired 400CN black and white film in a toy camera I picked up for less than $4), but neither roll is quite finished yet.
In addition to avoiding death in the wilderness (I made a good choice, since it snowed the second day and was cold and windy for part of the week, which would have been miserable while battling a fever at 8,000 feet), I spent some of my week thinking about my photography in broader philosophical terms. In the last six months, I transitioned from a thoroughly modern digital photographer to a lo-fi obsessed cheap and bizarre camera toting weirdo, and I’m not quite sure why. I think I’m closer to being able to photo- (and culture-) philosophically define myself. A manifesto may appear here soon.
Konica VX100 expired while dinosaurs still roamed the earth (2000), shot in a “borrowed” Minolta XD5 with a tons-o-fun Vivitar 28mm lens that is significantly older than I am.
Looks can be deceiving.
The next Dinosaur in my series, actually photographed minutes after the first. I didn’t really have anything interesting to do with this one, however, until I created my cross process simulation, as seen on the redux of Reading. This is tricky though- Reading II, with its smooth, muted colors, was shot on expired film. This image, which, in addition to color shifts has extreme grain and appears to have aged badly, is digital. Part of this is necessity- it was dark, and my digital performs poorly at high sensitivities. The rest, of course, is taking this flaw and running with it: An image this noisy will never work as a high-fidelity piece of digital art. What will it work as? Perhaps a digital replication of/homage to the low-fidelity world of the cross processed negative. Is it cross processed? No. Does it look like a cross process? Not really. Does it work? You tell me.
Pentax digital SLR operating at an unfathomably high sensitivity to price ratio. Image quality follows accordingly.
Photography is disassembly.
One of my favorite things about the infamous shower scene in Psycho is the way that Hitchcocks’ careful camera work literally cuts Janet Leigh (as Marion Crane) into pieces. The audience goes from visuals of the rising and falling knife to individual pieces of Leigh’s body. At least in an impressionistic sense, she is being vut into pieces.
Photography can work much the same way. The camera can take a larger phenomenon (in this case, a farmers’ market) and cut it into the little pieces that hold it together. This particular slice is a box of extra bears full of honey that a vendor had stashed in the back of his Jeep.
Photography is about the gaze.
The great thing about photography is that it allows one to enter another’s perspective. You or anyone else may have seen this completely differently. If I went back tomorrow, I probably would as well. That’s the fun part- a slice of my gaze preserved and stretched over an infinite length of time.