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Note About the Blog


Over the past few years, I have held back on exper­i­ment­ing more with my pho­tog­ra­phy and writ­ing, par­tial­ly because I’ve been afraid to share my fail­ures or “work-in-progress” with any­one at all.

So I final­ly decide to use this blog to do more exper­i­ments, to fail more ful­ly, and to be more hon­est with myself.

I want to exper­i­ment with film pho­tog­ra­phy, street pho­tog­ra­phy, and land­scapes. I am aware that all the great libraries and gal­leries of the world have yawned them­selves to sleep with the type of work I will be cre­at­ing and shar­ing here; but I don’t want that to stop me from trying.

Now that that’s all out of the way, let’s get down to business.

I used to think that the whole “film vs dig­i­tal” argu­ment was a moot point— dig­i­tal is faster, sharp­er, cheap­er, eas­i­er, reli­able, sus­tain­able, and con­sis­tent. Film, on the oth­er hand is time-con­sum­ing, expen­sive, incon­sis­tent, and to a cer­tain degree, anx­i­ety induc­ing in that one is always wor­ried if the image turned out right.

But a few months ago, I bought my first pack of medi­um for­mat film and fell head over heels in love with it. The entire expe­ri­ence of shoot­ing film is some­thing else entire­ly. Pho­tographs aren’t made on a group of pix­els neat­ly arrayed on a sil­i­con chip as a series of 0s and 1s, they are made on thin strip of gelatin coat­ed with ran­dom­ly placed sil­ver crys­tals that have spent their entire life in dark­ness. You can’t just plug the images into a card read­er, you have to wash them, pre­pare them to with­stand the light.

So the result is a lot more unpre­dictable and organ­ic. It is ran­dom, which is some­thing com­put­ers can nev­er tru­ly be.

That is not to say I won’t be tak­ing dig­i­tal images; I love dig­i­tal too, and will con­tin­ue using it for com­mer­cial projects and per­son­al projects alike. I just think that film can inspire in a way dig­i­tal can not.


 Ilford Panchromatic F 50 Ilford Panchro­mat­ic F 50

The first three images I want to share are abstract images shot using an Ilford Pan F 50 Film. From a lit­tle online research, I have learned that this film, while it has a fin­er grain, isn’t as sharp as Ilford’s Delta 100. This came as a sur­prise, because  I used to think that the slow­er a film is, the sharp­er it would be (because of the fin­er grain), but appar­ent­ly, fine grain doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly trans­late to sharpness.

Which brings me to my next point — none of the scans have pro­duced tack sharp images. I am not sure if it’s because I did­n’t focus image prop­er­ly, or if the fault lies in the neg­a­tives them­selves, or whether some­thing went wrong dur­ing  the scan­ning. Don’t get me wrong, I real­ly likes the added blur in these images. I just want to be able to con­trol it.

I quite like how these images turned out. I feel as if black and white is very con­ducive to abstract pho­tog­ra­phy— it sim­pli­fies every­thing into shapes, pat­terns and rhythms that allow one to blur the line between real­i­ty and fiction.

One can see this abstrac­tion in the first image. In Abstract One,  its not imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent what we are look­ing at. The grain in the images, and the blur­ry nature of the film seems to add a cer­tain nos­tal­gia and time­less­ness. That said, I think that there is a cer­tain weak­ness in the com­po­si­tion. The image seems too weight­ed on the left side, and giv­en the square for­mat, it just adds to the anx­i­ety. I also don’t know how to feel about the leaves peek­ing out just a lit­tle bit from dark­ness. On the hand, I like that they are some­thing that you can bare­ly see, while on the oth­er hand I feel like they are avoid­able clut­ter that don’t  add any­thing to the image.

In com­par­i­son, I quite love Abstract Two. It is sim­ple in com­po­si­tion, and I real­ly like how the top half mir­rors the bot­tom half. Things are  being mud­dled togeth­er. The jux­ta­po­si­tion of the hard with the soft adds just the right amount of ten­sion to the image. I used a long lens to cap­ture the image, which in ret­ro­spect was the right choice because it flat­tens the space even fur­ther. There is some­thing curi­ous and mys­te­ri­ous about it.

In Abstract Three I love the rep­e­ti­tion and the way the shad­ows are falling. The bright­ness jux­ta­posed with the dark­ness makes me sense the bright after­noon light. Like Abstract One, I am not sure how I feel about the tree jut­ting out of the rock.   I want to feel har­mo­ny in this pho­to, but the branch seems to dis­rupt it. The emp­ty space on the top left also both­ers me. I wish I com­posed it to fill the space with more rocks.

Tech­ni­cal­i­ties aside, what do you think these pic­tures are try­ing to say? Divorc­ing them from me as an artist, I think there is a sad­ness to the images. I feel that the images are about how growth, decay, and time­less­ness, co-exist in the same space. They make me miss my family.

I want to print these images. I don’t think they would look good on shiny paper at all, but I thin they could work well in a rag paper. They need to have a hand­made qual­i­ty about them, a cer­tain imper­fec­tion in order to work as prints.


Tagged: agfa · blog · film · hasselblad · ilford · kodak · pan f · photography
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