Tag Archives: traditional photography

make photographs like it is the last time

sometimes i make a photograph and it is the last time i see whatever it is i am photographing.

 

this is a gas station that was on this corner for decades, and it was torn down in 2011 to make way for a new gas station.  the new gas station was a giant self service kind of place, it has something like 10 or 12 pumps and a shack in the middle.  it has no ” character or charm ”   it is just a gas station.

 

before the station was built i wanted to photograph the old one.  i wanted to photograph the building and lights because when they tore it down i wouldn’t be able to remember what was there.  i’d eventually forget like most people what it was like how shabby, run down and  dirty it was.  the gas station wasn’t one of a kind, and it didn’t win any awards for uniqueness, but in this day and age of cookie cutter everything, it was kind of nice to see something that was from maybe the 1940s or 50s, from the last cookie cutter age.  this filling station lasted maybe 50 years, i don’t think the new station they put in its place will last half that long.

it will  look shabby and run down faster and that’s ok because it really didn’t take as much effort to make. there is no polished ceramic tile, or gull wing lights, its just a least effort gas station.  maybe in a few years when it starts to look bad and maybe have some character, i might decide to photograph it.

 

gas station sandy lane

torn down 2011

Posted in Misc., photographs Also tagged |

TMY retina image

as i have been making long exposures again

here is another one on kodak tmax 400 film

this is a very long exposure, reversed negative tweeked levels and color removed and then tint added in photoshop

 

retina

multi hour retina image
reversed tinted with photoshop

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, Misc., technique and style Also tagged , |

cyclone negative cyanotype

a couple of days ago i was making some more cyanotypes i loaded up some contact frames with waxed negatives to see if i could get a better print than i did with my old coated paper some of those prints just didnt’ work out ..  and at the same time i found an old hand coated paper negative made with the cyclone #3 a while ago, that was just sitting on the tabletop.  i had cleaned up quite a bit a week or 2 ago:  i swept the floor;  i organized;  i put things away;  i stacked things;  i found things i hadn’t seen in a while.  the paper negative was a rediscovery, even though it wasn’t really lost.  it seems like it was coated on xerox paper, it is thin and durable.  not sure what emulsion is on it, maybe foma?  maybe my home-brew, not sure.  it has a nice contrast and look and i stuck it in the contact frame.  the waxed negatives took a ton of time before to expose, so i was banking on a day or 2 in the sun for all 3 of the cyanotypes.  it was a lot more diffuclt in late october because the sun is low, and it moves across the sky differently than before, so i had to really follow the sun around with the print frames. i did OK i suppose, but i was more in open shade than i was in the sun, and that is OK too.  the print is made from the same classic formula i coated the others with.  and after 2 days in the sun i washed it in water and added a little hydrogen peroxide to finish the development, and eventually i painted some areas of the print with dilute washing soda to give a yellowish hue to some areas. anyhow, its the kitchen table and window and chairs. not sure if i am going to add my own colors or leave it, the blue tones of cyanotypes are starting to grow on me.

 

classic, and blue

window table and chairs
classic cyanotype H2O2 to develop out faster as i always do, and a little washing soda to bleach and ad color

http://jnanian.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/e7b40dbc-7aba-4bf2-ae7f-355201cb53c4/RecentUploads

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper, using vintage equipment Also tagged , , , , , , |

the honey jar

there is a bee keeper on the other side of town i like to buy honey from.  i usually drive down his drivewaywhich looks like it isn’t really there from the head of the street, but you just make a left and follow the dirt road.  you arrive and there are honey bees flying around doing their thing.  if i was my younger self i wouldn’t be very happy, i’ve been bitten by bees or yellow jackets and wasps and hornets when i was a kid, and i have a healthy misunderstood fear about honey bees.  they just do their thing, its the other “stuff” that want to sting you.  just yesterday i was talking with an old friend who told me about how he moved a school desk in his back yard and a cyclone of thousands of yellow jackets came out and chased him inside.  he’s the same guy who told me a story years ago, when i mentioned we had yellow jackets flying out of a hole in the ground, he told me about hiking in california or someplace and stopping at an overlook of some sort and he heard the hum of high tension wires / electricity.  he looked around and there were no power lines but he noticed yellow jackets coming out of the ground.  he was standing on a giant hive …  he kind of kept walking and didn’t look back.

anyways, the bee keeper …

i’ve gone there a few times and told friends and family about him.  he goes by the name papa roger in case you want some, or want to buy some bees or bee keeping supplies https://sites.google.com/site/paparogersfarm/contact the first batch of honey i got from him was in a big quart jar, and it was black as tar, and amazing.  the 2nd batches were in smaller jars and the usual amber color.  we’re out now and i have to bring my jars back to papa roger to be re-filled with his local honey.  some say that consuming honey is good if you have allergies to pollen, hay fever &c.  im not sure if it is true, or not, i just like his honey.

this is one of the jars. i made some cyanotypes from it.  i used fresh mixed cyanotype emulsion, the “classic” recipe there are as many recipes for making classic cyanotypes as there are people who make them

the one i used:

50 g. Ferric Ammonium Citrate (8 oz. H2O)

Part B 35 g. Potassium Ferricyanide ( 8oz. H2O)

the blues are deep and dark and beautiful.  the cyanotypes i had been making the last few weeks were made with pre-coated paper from 7+ months ago, i could see the difference immediately the fresh coated, fresh made paper is more sensitive to light, and depending on the batch i used the blue can be more intense.  the contrast is really high so i have decided to use the sun in open shade if i can for at least part of the exposure and direct sun for part of the exposure, it gives a fuller image. anyways here are 3 honey jars

3 jars

hydrogen peroxide added to wash water, then a tiny bit of washing soda.

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper Also tagged , , , |

emulsive

i thought i posted a link to this but i guess it got away from me.

i was interviewed by emulsive.org a little while ago about film and emulsion and what i am up to. in case you don’t know about emulsive org what i am up to here is the link what’s emulsive.org ?  feel free to go there, its a pretty interesting site

well worth the click !

I am John Nanian and this is why I shoot film

Posted in film development technique, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

more recent cyanotypes

i haven’t been using a camera much these days.  i have film to be processed (probably 10 rolls ?)  some taken a while ago, some taken since the spring.  i haven’t gotten around to processing it.  not to mention i have some liquid emulsion ( foma and AG+) to use up and i eagerly anticipate making some of my own chlorobromide emulsion again with some nice hard bloom gelatin.  instead of camera negatives i’ve been waxing paper negatives made from rubbings ( like the last entry ) or things made as a photogram, ( always a favorite ) or better yet, paper xerox negatives that i wax and have fun with …

a few years ago i got a bad case of food poisoning while traveling in france and when i got home i had some film to process, and a few memory cards with images on them.  i was kind  of messed up from being sick when i got home  ( until i wasn’t ) and while i found one of the memory cards’ images, i am still kind of looking for the other.  i took some of these images specifically for converting to paper negatives and into cyanotypes.  i had done this with rubbings and digital images before, and it seemed like a great way to make digital images into hybrid black and white negatives.  so i desaturated some negatives, and inverted them in PS and put them 4-to a 8 1/2 x11 sheet of xerox paper …  heated up an old pan and waxed the paper  … in addition, to a big sheet of cyanotype paper, i had a handful of envelopes i coated a handful of months ago, and they were eager to be printed on.

 

i made some photograms using kitchen-stuff and crayoned and watercolored the images.  i don’t know what size envelopes are, but they are the perfect paper for making cyanotypes.  nice and long and narrow, like a panoramic negative !

 

anyhow her eare some of the images i made …

 

hand painted and black/white photogram

hand painted and black/white photogram

black and white + color photogram

black and white + color photogram

black and white + hand painted photogram

black and white + hand painted photogram

black and white+ painted photogram

black and white+ painted photogram

Posted in alternative process photography, technique and style Also tagged , , |

far away places

so many people need to go to far away places.  they save their money and materials and buy tickets or gas they sign up for workshops in the desert or to someplace remote.  they  photograph for a week or a few days, return and loved their experience.  i’ve never been able to do that, and part of me is jelous of photo-safarians.

when i go to someplace i am not used to, i am struck by what i see, the unfamiliar sometimes overwhelms me.  that isn’t to say i can’t make any photographs, but i’ll be on auto pilot and make exposures of what comes to mind, what might remind me of the familiar, things i am used to, things i am comfortable with — the usual. a lot of what i photograph for the most part is the unfamiliar familiar.

i am usually within a short distance from where i live, or have spent a lot of time and i am familiar with the scene that i am able to read it differently and notice things i hadn’t noticed before.  very much like a portrait photographer might make a portrait.  there are only a handful of head and face shapes, ways of making a portrait, and even if the person is a complete stranger, a portrait photographer is able to not only make a familiar light and head position and camera position but make the person feel at ease.

its no too late to photograph things close by, things you know by heart, things you see every day but don’t bother because they are too familiar, sometimes the familiar make the best subjects.

Posted in photographs, technique and style

double coating paper

i dug into a 1 kg jar of foma emulsion the other day.  i know i can make my own but i have this still on hand so i might as well just use it until i run out.  coating paper and glass and metal with it will be great practice for when i don’t want to waste stuff i spend time making on my own.  so i took a few of the large sheets of xerox paper i had already coated.  i took 1 of them and with the lights on i exposed it in developer to show how poorly i coat.  it wasn’t that poor, it just wasn’t very good,  no it was pretty bad … it was  a lot of grey, only 1 area of black.  i’ve been coating things for years and this is the first time i did this …  that’s ok.  im a noob, even after 30 years.  i used a coating rod the last time, and a brush, but still things weren’t as good as i had hoped.  with denise ross’s book in hand, or at least in my mind
( if you haven’t gotten her blurb book and you like coating things, and making things, it is worth every penny you pay for it:  http://www.blurb.com/b/6465389-the-light-farm  ..)  i never thought about paper grain ( now i do )  i never thought about wet coating ( now i do ).

i took the remaining 2 sheets of paper and cut them into 4×5 pieces and soaked them in cold water.  this isn’t really what denise did in the book but that’s ok.  it is easy to tell which side is emulsion and which isn’t ( the emulsion side is slippery ).  i took my squeegee and removed the water from the prints 1 at a time and with warm emulsion i re-coated each piece of paper.  i looked at each piece in the safelight and they looked coated ( i guess they always do )  but coating 4×5 pieces was always easy for me, so my fingers are crossed that the 2nd emulsion layer took.  i’ve coated cyanotypes 2x, and other stuff 2x but never wet.  i’m hoping denise’s invention and my twisting it for my own needs took.

i also took some sheets of regular paper and coated that stuff too.  1 sheet folds and cuts into 18 4x5s.  i’m still trying to figure out what it is.  i did a little research and it seems to be “virgin” butcher paper.  uline sells it cut into the same size sheets or on a big roll.  alex art supply also sells something similar to it.  in both cases it isn’t the same weight (thickness) but it seems similar enough that when i runout at least i will have something to buy.  smooth finish paper i like best for coating.  nyways, i cut 1 sheet up soaked and squeegeed it and coated 14 pieces.  they are hanging on the line.

 

 

Posted in images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion, technique and style Also tagged , , , |

wait 9 month or a year and see what happens …

i admit it, sometimes i don’t want to process film.  i get tired of standing there and agitating, or shuffling sheets in a tray in the dark.  i started doing stand development because i didn’t want to deal, my version of stand development only lasts for maybe 1/2 hour if i remember to come back in time, sometimesit lasts even more.  i use the same develop my every day film in, sumatra coffee, washing soda,vitamin c and some dektol.  i shake the bubbles off and leave.  sometimes i put of processing film for a few weeks or sometimes i am not very good and put it off for a few months, 9 or 10 months this time.

 

the film sat in a ziplock bag for all this time.  i would process sheets, i would develop paper negatives, i would make contact prints,  even make emulsions and developers from scratch, coat things, and develop them, but i wouldn’t process the rolls of film.  i’d think about it sometimes

painted cyanotype with watercolors

film reels cyanotype with watercolors

finally i processed the film, at least, some of it. i had about 15 or 20 rolls to get through, and i made it through 9 of them.  i loaded the film into the metal reels.  it took a while since i was out of practice.  some reels roll easier than others, and for the first time in a long while i had a few areas touch and not develop.  that’s ok.  after the film was hung and dried and sleeved i began scanning them.  i will eventually print them but i figured scanning is as good a way as any to see what i have, so i scanned, and scanned and scanned. i remember most of the photographs, sort of. but not really.  it was a nice feeling to have distance.  there wasn’t any sort of importance or need or “i have to see this or that”  they were just negatives.

i remember seeing a show on garry winogrand years ago and how he exposed the film and left it for a year or more before he processed it.  ( i think there were 10 thousand rolls of film to process after he died. )  and i can see why he did what he did.  the distance adds to the editing process.  there isn’t a ” this exposure is going to be SO GOOD !” and process the film 20 seconds after it was unloaded. the film is just there and ready when you are, if it is good, its good, if it is bad, you probably don’t remember even making the photograph, so it is OK.

these photographs are from a handful of long walks i took.  sometimes they were made walking home from my mechanic;s place abotu 5 miles away.  i took 3 differnt routes home.  some were taken on the way or way back from picking up beer making supplies.  it was a road i used to travel often with a camera but no so much anymore.  time sat still and the places were virtually the same.

anyways … it’s ok to leave film for a while before you process it,

it mght even be a good thing.

 

colored black and whtite photo

colored black and whtite photo

shadow and textured wall

shadow and textured wall

retina print

retina print

run down fieldstone buildingjakes antiques

Posted in Misc., photographs, technique and style Also tagged , |

quick and dirty processing for expired or ” no idea what kind of film it is ” film

as you might have read, if you have found this blog / journal i don’t typically use fresh film, chemistry or paper.  i am fond ofthe expired variety.  for the past maybe 15 years my “personal” photography adventure has all been done with out of date, bought cheap, given to me for the price of shipping film.  yes, i have bought new, for work done for others, but for myself it has all been the materials some people suggest is  ready for the trash heap.

there really is no cure all for the problems that might be considered “the downfall” of expired film.  sometimes the people ahead of you in the long line of owners stored it in their 150ºF car for weeks and just remembered before giving it to you or selling it on eBay suggesting it was found in their neighbor’s house and they were asked to sell it … or it could have been lying around a warm house with drastic seasonal temperature changes, or it could have just been sitting on a shelf in a cool not too humid basement.  so you have to be prepared for loss of speed, maybe fog, or the worst case scenario, the film not working at all … most of the film i use that is expired i know where it has been, so its provenance is not so mysterious.  when i get it, it gets put in a place that doesn’t have too much temperature variation, and not too much humidity.  when i expose it, i typically over expose a few stops ( i do this with “fresh film” too so it isn’t that much of a stretch for me

but for some who love to shoot box speed or “push” process, this can be an issue ). the trick in processing isn’t really a trick at all.  it is to use a print developer like dektol, or ansco 130, or whatever else you might have on hand.  sometimes they are called “universal developers” …  whatever you want to call them, they work well.  some restrain the fog that might have appeared on the film from poor storage too. the “old trick” for using print developers for film again isn’t really a trick at all.  for dektol it is the dilution becomes the time. so 1:5 is for 5 mins, 1:7 for 7 mins 1:3 is 3 mins.  ansco130 i used to regularly use 1:6 for 8.5 mins.  i liked dense and contrasty film and i am sure it would have worked fine at 6 mins like its cousin “gaf universal” used to suggest on its can.  i have read stories, and talked to old pros from days gone by and they regularly put their sheets of film or rolls of film in strong dektol ( 1:2 or 1:2 ) and just let it sit there, no agitation for 1 or 2 mins.  i have never done that so i can’t really recommend it, but i have done 1:6 both with dektol and ansco and it works great.   if you are a coffee developer user another couple of things i have done uses coffee (as you might have guessed).   you mix a strong batch of caffenolC ( i use the teaspoon recipe ) and add a splash of your favorite print developer into it.  i used ansco130 for years, now i do this with dektol.  and you stand develop your film for about 27-30 mins.  before you sink your film in the developer, you water bath it so you get the emulsion swollen and ready to absorb the developer.  and you bank the tank &c to get rid of the air bubbles.  then you just pour the developer in the tank.  i agitate for a few seconds and bang the tank again to get rid of the bubbles and then just walk away for about 1/2 hour.  if you want yo can agitate a little bit in between halfway through or the end, don’t do it much …  your film is pretty much going to look OK.  i also do the split develop routine now too.  1:8 for about 8 mins it would have been …  i process the film for 4 mins with a normal agitate scheme (water bath first, then 1 min continuous, then 10sec / min) then i pour out the print developer and continually agitate the film tank, now full of strong caffenolC with a splash of print developer in there.  you don’t need much print developer 20cc 15cc whatever you want.

again, your film will come out looking nice.  maybe a little dense maybe not too dense … either way you will be able to print with an enlarger, or contact print or scan if you like to do that.

if you like examples …

poke around this blog, or my image kind area and most of the black and white images there, made within the last 15 years

were done using the methods i have described.

 

have fun!

Posted in film development technique, technique and style Also tagged , |

magic bullets ? conventional?

the other day i poked my head back to apug after a month away and have been having a conversation with someone about magic-bullets and conventional photography.

back in the olde days a magic bullet was made by melting down religious icons.  the silver was used to kill werewolves.  in photographic terms, a magic bullet is a cure all, a combination of materials ( paper, chemistry and film, and technique ) used to make perfect photographs.  its almost like something a photographer can do to make their photographs better, without trying.  for a long time magic bullets were sold by kodak tri x and d-76, kodabromide and dektol come to mind.  these days a magic bullet might be a vintage lens, large format camera using film or a digital camera.  if you boil it down to its essence, a magic bullet is what makes the person comfortable behind the camera, the darkroom, infront of their computer.

merriam webster describes conventional as something that has been around a long time ( paraphrasing ), something that is considered “traditional”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conventional/

i guess all photography is conventional …  seeing no matter what is done with camera, someone has probably done it before, i suppose it might be nearly impossible “unconventional” …. unless one weaves modern technology into and creates hybrid images.

 

 

Posted in film development technique, technique and style

recent work

i haven’t posted here in a few months for a variety of reasons.  but i am here again with a handful of photographs … as seen in a few other of my blog posts, i have been having fun making trichromes.

they are FULL color photographs made using separation filters ( RBG ) and panchromatic black and white film.  about 30 years ago my uncle ( a professional photographer in western massachusetts ) told me about making trichromes  but i didn’t have access to a color darkroom, so i never made any.  NOW, since i am able to compile the images using photoshop i am making them often.  i even have a polaroid 500 portrait camera and i have started to make portraits and stereo tri chromes.

here are a few images ..  they don’t have any hidden meaning, they are just fun. oh, in case you wanted to know the vital statistics …  they were all taken with expired black and white film which was hand processed in a combination of coffee based developer ( sumatranol ) and ansco 130.

 

if you cross your eyes the image is 3D

 

if you cross your eyes the 3D image appears

 

 

 

Posted in Misc. Also tagged , , , , , , |

working with lumenized prints again

i am never quite sure what to call sun prints using regular old photo paper.  with plant materials and the same paper they are called lumen prints, with a pinhole camera stashed in a tree for 6months they are called solargraphs, long exposed in a camera they can be called retina prints  but what are contact prints called ?  they aren’t POP prints ( printing out paper ) where they are developed with water and toned+fixed.  whatever they might be called, i’m doing them again as part of a new project …

these prints are part film, part lumenized, part inverted negative and soon to be part cyanotype.
(i have to coat some paper )
this is a triple image, so please click on it so you see all three

 

negative, inverted positive, luminized

30 year old film, split processed coffee and ansco 130

 

negative, positive, lumanized print

 

 

this one is 4 images, not 3

springtime flowers

4 lumanized prints

Posted in photographs Also tagged , , , , |

back, waaay back

if you have been reading my blog you probably know i have been making chemical free photographs for a few years.  you probably know i have designed and sold a handful of cameras that make chemical free photographs and you probably have seen handfuls of scans of these images.  some are made on photo paper with a piece of film or object ontop of the paper, like either a contact print or a photogram ( or rayogram )

others have been made using a camera with the lens open for anywhere from 25 or 30minutes to a few hours.  i’ve used paper i’ve coated myself with liquid emulsion glass i’ve coated and even metal plates …  today i rummaged through my pile of film and film holders and i loaded a sheet of vericolor III into one of my self made cameras and exposed it for around an hour, maybe more, maybe less.  the film was originally a pretty high iso (asa) film compared to paper.  its iso 160 ( around there ) where paper is anywhere from iso 3 or 6 to maybe around 25  depending on the light.

i figured it wouldn’t need a ton of light to get a good exposure.  i set the camera up and got a nice full contrast scene, some lights, some darks and some inbetween tones … i took the film out of the camera and scanned it

 

long exposed film

 

after i removed the tone in photoshop the image had a beautiful soft copper tone to it.

inverted, desaturated contrast-tweaked and a little brownish tone added

 

i have a lot of color film i can’t get processed so this will be a great way for me to use up my film.

Posted in photographs, technique and style Also tagged |

how much exposure, is too much ?

how much exposure with negative film, is too much.

should you over expose your negatives?  should they be thin or dense?

when i first began developing my own film, i never would leave the developer on the film for the last few seconds of development.  for example, if it was to be processed for 8 mins 30 seconds, i would invert / agitate at 8 mins and get rid of the developer after that.  my film was usually thin, but not too thin to print with a #3 graded paper, or a contrast filter under my enlarger head.  i would always make sure in a portrait that the whites of the eyes were white and everything else fell into place.  if it was a different scene, i would make sure there was a black and a white in the image and everything seemed OK after that.  i never photographed where the light struck things, never looked for excessive shadows or brightness, i just made exposures.

it wasn’t until years later that i was told that my negatives were terrible, that i  began to process my film fully, and eventually go overboard the other way.  rather than thin film i began to process my rolls and sheets in a paper developer to get what used to be called a “snappy negative” or a “crisp negative”.  when told i should use developers like xtol ( which i have used off and on ) i decided it was hard for me to get the contrast i wanted so i stopped using it.  i eventually started using coffee developers ( caffenol ) but the negatives were a bit thin and reminded me of xtol film, so i started to put ansco130 in there to boost the contrast.  ( haven’t stopped )  when i was visiting family overseas in france i processed a bunch of film in my father in law’s basement with him.  it was a moonlit night, the area we processed in was not completely dark …   i used washing soda and vitamin c sourced at a pharmacy and “el gringo” coffee sourced at a grocery store.  the developer was black and i shuffle developed it for 15-20mins, and the film was hung up to dry.

the next day when we returned the film was so dense you couldn’t see through it.  not even with a light bulb behind it …  when we returned to the states i contact printed the negatives not with an enlarger bulb or room light, but a 300 watt light bulb on RC paper.  the same set-up i use to print on silver chloride papers.  the prints came out more beautiful than i could have guessed.

so to answer my question …

there isn’t any such thing as too much exposure.  as long as you can project light through the negative you won’t have any problems.

Posted in film development technique, technique and style Also tagged , , |