Written by Stan Foxworthy
I’ve had the primal photographic urge to expose some black & white film lately. I do love all film formats, but the one that I have enjoyed most since the 1970’s is medium format. Back then it was split up between my trusty Mamiya 645 (later added the 1000s model!), a friends Brooks VeriWide, and a Bronica S2.
Back then, my best friend at the time Scott Champion, had the darkroom at his house where we were able to experiment with different developers & processing times. I wonder how many people at that time besides us were working with Tri-X and pushing it to 8000 ASA (ISO) with very acceptable results?
I know that we have ultra high ISO’s these days, and there is no need to mix chemicals, testing with varying developer temps and times. Yes the digital age is a wondrous thing for sure, but I keep getting the feeling that there is something missing; something tactile, something surprising and most definitely something unique. In the days of film, each roll of 120 film would net me 12 frames. I could of course utilize my Polaroid back to verify that my exposure was good and the camera was working properly. Most of the time, I would just pull the back off the camera and look through the back of the camera to see if the lens and flash were syncing because Polaroid was expensive!
There is something refreshing and wonderful about having to wait and see my work instead of just looking on the back of my camera. This isn’t to say that I don’t love being able to check on each image while on a commissioned photo shoot. Two different animals for sure, digital is the way to go for me to create client work in the commercial world.
To help push me along, the other day my friend Mahmood passed along a couple rolls of Ilford FP4 black and white film so I could break out the Bronica and dust off my film shooting cobwebs. Hmmm, twelve images… What to photograph?
In the mean time, here’s my film weapon of choice and a few images (scanned from prints!) created way back when…
Is it time for you to break out an old camera?