U10 #2 – Photography printing and experimenting

Yesterday I also went back for an afternoon in the black and white photography printing studio to reprint some more photos of my first film since my second film didn’t develop right and left me with an empty film roll. It didn’t help that the weather hasn’t been nice enough yet on the few free mornings that I could have gone up to Hampstead Heath to take more photographs. However I am planning on taking photographs in Luxembourg to combine them with photographs from London anyway so there is still enough work to be done.

printing effects of expired photography paper

printing effects of expired photography paper

I still have photography paper from when I first did a black and white film printing and processing workshop at the age of fourteen which my dad passed onto me. However that paper was already expired by then, so no it is even more expired. This means that the paper is lacking contrast abilities which isn’t helping in my process but it will be like that for now. I only had the time to work on one negative yesterday which I blew up to maximum height. Inside the image whose size was larger than double of my paper size so that the paper could lose itself in the format, the first testprint came out very weak and with weird black smudges on it, as seen on the first image (the pros of old paper: you never know what you are going to get out of it). I suppose it is a residue of developing liquid from ten years ago. It gives the image an interesting feeling. It is however the only printed picture that did this for now, so I’ll see how I’ll continue from that. Adding seconds and seconds onto the testprints, the photograph only came out with more contrast in opposition to ghost photographs from 55 seconds onwards and with a 5 contrast filter. I then went over 115 seconds and an 8 contrast filter (meaning two filters layered) which created an acceptable set of contrasts considering the weak printing paper as well as the lack of contrast on my negatives which are still only the test–negatives. From that onwards, I started experimenting with layering and trying to get different dimensions. However waiting for two minutes to pass and going through two clickings as the lightcounter stops at 99 seconds took a lot of waiting and patience. Luckily the paper fitted through the mechanical printing machine so that saved me a lot of time to do all of the testprints. I started playing around and covered the paper one over the other to show hidden and less exposed fractions of the same image. As I continued I reduced the size of the image which allowed me to reduce the time as well. Now I am left with another stack of testprints which I can at least use for the mid–point review to show in which directions I am trying to go with my self–directed project.

Here are a few snaps of the results:

Why am I doing this? During my self–directed project I have been (and am still) looking at the value of the image as well as the process of seeing, information capturing and processing, triggering intrigue and self–awareness in a specific environment. The photographs in forests and of trees remind me of my home country Luxembourg with whose landscapes I have a love/bored relationship which started the motive of the forrest as a comparison between Luxembourg and London. I specifically searched for nature in London that looks similar to the one present in Luxembourg and as a second layer I want to be able to combine pictures of Luxembourg together with those that I take in London, creating a confusion between similar things that you can see but don’t necessarily capture as being from different places. So the project is influenced by how the personal perspective onto things chance if they are something that you are not used to seeing compared to what you are used to having around yourself and growing up in which sort of translate to being bored from my home landscapes and environments. This boredom of my home landscape is however also influenced by my personal opinion that there is not much going on in Luxembourg in general in terms of news and life which reflects in the opinion of what I can see. I have to however also add that this concerns mostly the landscapes that are close to my village; there are a lot of beautiful spots in Luxembourg which I don’t call boring.
All in all, I am trying to create deceptive images/models that create confusion in a second layer and hopefully a questioning of what it is that you are looking at and can see in (or not see).


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