» Blogging? Ok, Here we go!

Blogging? Ok, Here we go!

“Blog, Blog Blog. Marlon, you must BLOG” is what they say. So here I am, Blogging.

Ahhh, Digital Imaging. Point, click, work it all out in post. Life is swell for Photographers these days. Todays digital cameras and software literally take the guess work out of making proper exposures. We have way more versatilty to create beautiful photographs as a result of technology than ever before. Almost gone from my world was the conventional darkroom, chemicals, waste, waiting to get film back, hoping everything went well, etc etc. With Digital, it’s all imaging in an instant and I love it, sort of.

It’s the “loving it” over these past few years since making the switch from film to digital that has turned me into one lazy artist. I over shoot just about everything now because the cost per frame associated with film photography has been replaced by the throw away megapixel. I say “throw away” because well, if I don’t like it, it gets tossed from the camera or tossed to the trash on my desktop lightning quick and without another thought. After all, it’s just megapixels and it didn’t cost me anything. Digital Photographers expenses are now in equipment rather than equipment PLUS film. Even the cost of final printing is marginal considering few digital images ever see the print stage these days. The convienence of it all has taken the magic, wonder and the passion for the craft away from me and I let it, without even realising it had happened.

A yearning to get back to the root of why I love Photography was swimming in my head since my trip to Amsterdam just last September to marry my lovely wife Lisa Besseling. Our wedding Photographer, Wesley Nulens shot the day on film and it inspired me. When we got home I dug out a couple of packs of unused but expired Fuji FP-100b Instant film from some past unfufilled creative adventure and since I didn’t have a Polaroid camera that would take that film, I had to borrow one. I called my friend and fellow Photographer Wayne Eardley who has a much coveted Polaroid 180 Land Camera. What makes this particular camera so special is that it’s one of the few in the series of Land Cameras that allows you rangefinder focus with manual control over your shutter speeds and aperature. No built in light meter, no bells and whistles. Success depends on the user knowing his or her shit, period. I was in luck, I posses those skills and he let me use his camera.

I spent the day photographing Lisa. Most of them were nudes, sorry folks, can’t show those but there is one that I can. The expiration of the film is evident in the chemical marks left on the print which, in my opinion, adds to the uniqueness of the look itself.

L3a

We had so much fun shooting and since the instant film aspect was new and wonderous to Lisa, that same sense of creative discovery came flooding back to me as well.

Then came Christmas day. I had discovered just how commited to my creative rebirth Lisa was when I opened this under the tree

photo 3photo 2

 

That’s right, my very own complete Polaroid 180 Land Camera kit. Lisa had scoured the internet in search of one and purchased it on eBay from Photographer Anton Orlov in San Diego, California who was selling it to raise money for his amazing photo project. Read more about it at his site. I’m now a huge fan of his work and what he’s doing for the craft.

I was excited to use it right away and luckily the kit had also come with a pack of Polaroid 665 Positive/Negative film. I didn’t have much hope for spectacular results considering that the film had expired in 2002 but regardless, we began work setting up a studio in our sunroom.

photo 1a photo 2a

 

Then the magic happened, the film was perfect. Beautiful exposures. Polaroid type 665 is really special because: 1) It’s the only Polaroid that comes with a negative in which you can print over and over again.

IMG_3025photo

 

2) This film and all Polaroid pack films for Land cameras like mine are no longer being manufactured by Polaroid. Type 665 film hasn’t been manufactured since 2008 so what ever unexposed film that is out there in the world is all that’s left. It’s quite pricey on eBay and all of it has long since expired. It’s still highly desirable regardless.

PNL PNMar PNOwen

So why the investment into a seemingly dying media? It’s cool, that’s why. It gives you a print instantly. A unique one of a kind print.

The death of the instant image may be a long way off. Fuji, for the time being, still manufactures pack film that fits the Polaroid Land Cameras. I have to say, it’s beautiful film and hopefully enough Artists will still use it enough to keep it from being discontinued.

While Polaroid 665 is rare, Photographers have found ways to cheat almost the same results with Fuji Instant Film by turning the parts that you’d normally throw away from the peel apart type films and turning those into negatives to be printed and scanned. I found some handy tips on YouTube that helped me do just so. The results vary but in my opinion also make each image special and so very cool. The following are side by side comparisons of the instant image and the part that has been salvaged and scanned. The colour images are from the Fuji-100c film with the part that is normally discarded bleached to make a negative and scanned. I’m new to the process and these have been the results of trial and error. Regardless, i’m delighted to get a very interesting negative from something that was never intended to be reused.Lisacombo Lisacombo2 Marloncombo OwenCombo

The following black and white image is from Fuji-3000b type film and what I did here was simply dry the part that you’d normally throw away and scanned it. The results are a less contrasty image from the instant version plus with it scanned I can add a warm tone or any colour tone to the image.

posnegcomboLpos1

So i’m re-discovering what it is to be a thoughtful photographer again. Nothing about shooting film is quick and easy. It’s in the careful composition, focus and metering of light that make me pause and want to create a better image, not a throw away image.

Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Film.

Bye for now

Marlon

All images Copyright Hazlewood Images Up