Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Positive Pinholes

So, where were we? Ah yes, the modified Mamiya pinhole camera. The plan was to photograph projections in order to revisit and possibly re-contextualize digital images from Greece. I have subject and camera, the next decision is about choice of film. The Mamiya removable back is designed to hold 120 or 220 medium format film. I had envisioned this project as black and white, which also lends itself well to long exposures when compared to color film that can have different levels of sensitivity among the separate emulsions over time.

Along with film, I also had the option of using a piece of photographic paper to capture light. This would make the camera a "single shot" and I would be forced to load and unload the camera back under a red safe light. This, understandably, is not an ideal process for traveling and is well suited for operations that are close to the darkroom. In my case, the darkroom is two doors down the hall from where I plan on photographing my projections(I am fortunate.) One advantage of paper is the ability to quickly process each individual exposure after it is made. This can be important to experimental projects such as pinhole which rely on trial and error to achieve ideal exposure.

I decided to go with paper because I love the instant feedback. My first thought was to create a paper negative, then contact print that to make a positive. At that point, I would using this generational progression:

generation 1: digital image
generation 2: projection
generation 3: paper negative
generation 4: paper positive

It occurred to me that I could use the computer to skip a generation by inverting the digital projection in order to create a one of a kind direct positive. That idea, in a way, subverts the nature of digital images that can be reproduced, sent, and shared any number of times with no loss of information. My image could lose information through its generational process and exist as an individual.

This was my first result, an hour exposure on multigrade RC paper. it came out a little light for my taste, and reversed from right to left. I reversed the projection and tried again for a longer time and liked the result.

This is the Hephastion in Athens, dedicated to the ancient blacksmith god. It is a one of a kind 6 x 9 centimeter direct pinhole positive and I am quite happy with this little print.


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