Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Making sushi yesterday night was quite strenuous. Somehow I had to do all the rolling because my friends claimed they can’t do it. This was a bit strenuous although I have to admit, that there was a real improvement in the quality of rolls I made in general and their roundness in particular. It also became apparent once more that using good nori is important, both for the rolling and the taste. Once I started using a bag of nori that Chiho had sent me, things worked much more smoothly.

Eating started around eleven and was fun then. We all ended up being seriously overstuffed once more. We also had quite a few bottles of wine with it, having a delicious and easy start with the 2003 Riesling from Jan-Philipp’s family vineyard which is probably the only reason why started voluntarily drinking white wine again.

With that background, getting up this morning to be there for the second part of my photo course at eleven was a bit of a pain. But I managed. The teacher had developed our films over night because he said it takes a lot of time and we should rather spend our time in the lab doing prints. But before doing that he explained the developing process to us. And it did look a bit tricky to do everything, including opening the little film tube and fiddling the film onto a little reel, inside a dark bag without being able to see what you’re doing. Looks exactly like the kind of thing that’ll take you ages when you’re doing it the first time. The rest of the developing sounded rather boring, consisting mostly of adding some liquid or another and shaking things…

The last bit of ‘theory’ he told us was about making prints of course, how to operate the machines, how long to put the paper into the different liquids and so on. Apparently with the modern photo paper, making prints is a little more sophisticated than what I had heard before. Even the black and white paper seems to have different components that react slightly differently to different colours of light. Thus, using a set of coloured filters you can manipulate the contrast of the image. A bit like using ‘Curves’ in Photoshop, I guess – at least the German names of the Photoshop command and the physical things we did was the same.

As the teacher is an artist, he had encouraged us to make more experimental photos. Probably for the same reason he wasn’t too keen on explaining things too precisely. Either because he wanted us to not stick to numbers and count seconds but make some experiments or because he doesn’t know the exact data himself – some of both, I suspect. In a way I thought that was good because we got to see that making prints isn’t a beancounting geeky thing but you can actually do things there with a lot of variation. In another way, thanks to a more scientific background, I guess, I thought that having slightly more precise information could’ve been helpful. Particularly as there is no ‘Command-Z’ in the darkroom but you’ll get what you asked for. So it’s worth knowing what exactly you are asking for.

Contact prints

The first thing we did were contact prints of our films. That was fun, if only because I’ve always wanted to have some of those. We used them to find the most promising photos and make some prints of them, spending about four hours in the darkroom in the end, which I found quite tiring. Some of the photos turned out quite well, but many of my negatives weren’t good because I had a lot of problems with my camera (the light meter isn’t working so there was some guesswork, and sometimes something must have locked up in the camera and the shutter stayed open, thus ruining the picture…).

There were still enough good photos anyway as making those prints takes ages and there wouldn’t have been enough time to make prints of every single photo anyway. Altogether this was a fun thing to do and having those large prints around is nice as well. Nothing I’d want to do permanently but for sure something I’ll do again.

I may put photos up here. In one case that’ll be quite ironic. I took a photo of Björn in front of my room. In the background it has some other, digital, photos and images of mine. So there’ll be a digital photo of an analogue print of an analogue photo of a (digital) print of a digital photo. Somewhere between mind-bogglingly complicated and completely absurd, I’d say.

January 16, 2005, 23:32

Tagged as bw.

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