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The Contact Print Revisited

Now a days the process of sorting through photos could not be any easier then if you were making a cup of coffee; plug your memory card into your computer and just like that... BOOM... your picking and choosing which photos you want to keep and which ones you want to discard. Sadly, I have come to the realization that even though technology has made a photographer's workflow that much easier, the magic and mystery behind first viewing one's photos has become somewhat diminished. 

Now don't get me wrong, I love that instant gratification one gets when viewing digital images so quickly on a computer.  Trust me... and I am not knocking it... but I would be lying if I were to say it did not speed things up when it comes to editing. That said, this last week I decided to slow things down a bit and instead of scanning my film, I decided to make a contact print from my negatives and choose which photos I would like to print solely based on those results. 

As far as the process goes, the above image is a test strip used to determine the correct exposure time for my contact sheet. As you can tell there is an increase in contrast from left to right and if you have not guessed it already, the lighter side is due to a lower exposure time. Spit up in 5 second increments, I decided the best fit for these negatives would be somewhere between 10 and 15 seconds. 

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way... determining my exposure time I ended up with the contact sheet you see to the left. Examining by eye the photos developed, I decided to print the three photographs circled in the image to the right.  For those that have never gone through this process, the best way I can describe this moment is to attribute it to the suspense one gets during their first kiss. Full of excitement, curiosity and fear... one is overloaded with emotions... heart beating fast.. holding one's breath.. one becomes lost in the collision of emotions taking place. Once the kiss has ended and heart beats have returned to normal, one walks away feeling as if everything in the world is as it should be. Call me crazy and I might be over romanticizing the process... but a magical yet mysterious thing takes during this moment. 

Model: Paige Wolcott

Camera: Nikon F100

Film: HP5+ 35mm

Photo Paper: Unknown 

Model: Paige Wolcott

Camera: Nikon F100

Film: HP5+ 35mm

Photo Paper: Unknown 

Alright... enough with all this film love talk... as you can see.. the two photos above and one below are the results from this last printing session. I am no master printer... but If you ask me... I think they came out perfect. Ok, that's it for now.. I plan to post the rest of the images from this shoot in a day or two.  So with that in mind, make sure to check back in!

Model: Paige Wolcott

Camera: Nikon F100

Film: HP5+ 35mm

Photo Paper: Unknown 

William HarrisComment