424 words on Black and White
My elaborate long-time photo project started taking a good shape a while ago. After starting to investigate film grain (also on Flickr) and making close-up crops of high-resolution scans to see how the grain looks in different films and development processes, I started being a bit obsessed with the topic and thinking that this would be even better when done ‘for real’, that is, using analogue techniques.
As enlarged eyes looked very cool in my digital grain exploration I decided to make massive enlargements of eyes. Which means I went through my negatives, picked photos where the eyes were reasonably visible and enlarged them to fill a 30cm×40cm print. If you consider the size of a negative and the fraction of a negative filled by a person’s face, you realise that quite a bit enlarging is needed here. In many cases I had to go for the maximum enlargement I could do (restricted by the darkroom’s length when projecting horizontally across the room).
This massive enlargement had the disadvantage that exposure times skyrocketed. Usually the exposure time was between three and five minutes. Which is rather long. Particularly when keeping in mind that you may need to make a test print first to find out which exact exposure time and gradation you want to use. But after a few long evenings in the darkroom in winter, prints started existing and I eventually had a collection big enough to hang them.
Hanging the photos was an adventure in itself. I just wanted a ‘simple’ grid. And I decided to stick drawing pins into the wall and use tiny magnets to stick the prints to them. But getting the drawing pins in place was tricky. The house’s walls are somewhat non-straight once you start looking at them closely and it’s rather difficult to put a dozen drawing pins in a straight horizontal line into a wall three metres above the ground. At least it’s difficult if you don’t have professional tools for the task. But eventually that was done and the images are up:
Of course the whole thing is more interesting when seen for real. Then you can really tell the differences between the films (sharpness, grain size) and photos (blurriness due to longish exposure times or poor focusing), It’s also amazing to see how easily people recognise other people they know remotely when just seeing a part of their face.
And yeah, now I’m feeling watched when sitting in my room…
Is that the room you sleep in? That could be unnerving. :)
Yeah, the first time it seemed a little odd. But it’s photos and it’s dark, so I hardly notice unless I want to make a joke about it.
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