Friday, July 18, 2008

. . .and now for something completely positive

Shortly after I took this picture, my heart started pounding and I was thinking, “please, please, let this turn out—don’t let the film get jammed or torn, exposed to light (or whatever) when I take it out and start the process of getting it back in the canister!” [Again, I rarely experience this with digital since there’s no dark room involved, not waiting as I can tell right away if it looks okay or if I need to try again.]

The pic, titled "for sale," represents a number of “firsts” for me which is one of the reasons why it’s currently one of my favorites—at least of those I’ve taken. It was the first time I was attempting to shoot 35mm in the holga, so I was worried that something had gone wrong (i.e., that the film wasn’t spooling correctly) and I was also crazy-worried about the process of taking the film out of the camera and rewinding it by hand in the dark. What’s more, since I’m never quite sure where I’m at on a roll when shooting 35mm on the Holga (i.e., I knew that this wasn’t among the first couple shots I had taken), I was afraid that when I started the 34 click cycle I’d find that I was already at the end of the roll.

I had walked past this woman selling produce on the side of the road and I really, really wanted a picture of her and the truck or at least the truck. But I was afraid to ask. I walked on. On my way back home (this involved passing her again), I noted that the light falling on her was amazing. She was talking on the phone and I remember thinking, “just take the shot—maybe she won’t mind.” I also remember thinking, “boy I wish I had the brownie hawkeye flash with me as using that makes it look less like I’m taking a picture.” I pretended that I was waiting to cross the street, to see if she would look up and notice me. She didn’t. I ended up taking the shot--the first I'd taken of someone I didn't know--and well. . .that takes us to the point where this posting began.

This shot was taken during my yellow-tape phase and when I saw the first of the green negatives, I remember thinking, “please, please let that one shot be the exception.” It wasn’t. (There was one though that was notably un-green but that was taken inside the house, so I reasoned that the brighter the surroundings were, the greener the negatives became.) It wasn’t quite as green as green had proven to be, but still. Thankfully, it was salvageable.

Beyond representing these “firsts” (again, first time I ran 35mm through the holga, first time I took a picture of a stranger) this was the first time I really played around with cropping tools. With most of my digital pics, I post or print them as they are. That is to say, save for resizing them, doing a little level-tweaking, sharpening, or maybe converting color to black and white, they are usually posted without being cropped or filtered. The uncropped version was okay but it was easy to overlook (or I thought so anyway) what I loved most about the pic and what I had hoped would be captured on film—the way the light was falling on the woman as she sat in the chair, talking on the phone. So I played around with the cropping tool a bit. The mostly tightly cropped version gets a little too grainy and you lose the sprocket holes (the whole point of using 35mm in the Holga) but I also think it looks most Holga-like. Here is the full version followed by the others I tried.


Wayne Images said...

How did you get those sprocket holes? Were those added post-production. I've never used some of those types of cameras you mentioned. They sound cool.

I've found that most of the time, people don't mind you taking their picture, they are often flattered. It's hard to approach strangers though.

remediate this said...

I got the sprocket holes by running 35mm film through cameras (in this case, a Holga) that normally takes 120 or 620 film. (I'm currently waiting the return of a couple batches of negatives where I ran 35mm film through a Brownie Hawkeye Flash camera--I also flipped the lens on that camera which should make for interesting results. . . if I've not botched the shoot!)

Running 35mm through a 120/620 camera (provided the feed-side of the camera allows you to do so) results in images that extend past the sprocket holes. I scan my own negatives, which allows me to crop the images as I'd like.

I agree that it's hard to approach strangers--I sometimes feel weird asking people I know if I can take pictures. But it's good to know that people don't mind!