Moving Portraits redux: the prints

A few weeks ago (what? Only four days ago? Whatever…) I posted about my final project in photo class, wherein I photographed people I had previously directed in films using a 16mm movie camera and planned on printing selected frames in the darkroom (that was a tremendously convoluted sentence, but it’s finals right now, so this is me until Friday. It’s best to just smile and nod and pretend not to notice when I start inverting my sentence structures and referring to my Ideation and Process class as “Team Hitler.”)

Anyways, after a marathon, ten-hour darkroom session on Sunday after which I could barely stand, I am now finished making the prints! And because I’ve got nothing more important to do right now, I’m posting them here! (Click the thumbnails to see larger images)

Ethan on 16mmGreg on 16mmMikhail on 16mmPaul & Mikhail on 16mmPaul on 16mmParker on 16mmRic on 16mm
Rosalie on 16mm (multiple frames)Rosalie on 16mm (single frame)Arin on 16mm

These are scans of the prints (11×14″ archival fiber-based gelatin silver prints). Unfortunately the scans don’t really do them justice. The actual prints have a beautiful luster and gorgeous fine detail in the blacks which didn’t transfer well to the digital files.

With a few exceptions, these are combination enlargement/contact prints. I see them as a great proof-of-concept and it really is true that the minute frame-to-frame variations offer a wealth of options for printing (and are just plain interesting in their own right). There are still a few technical issues to work out, however. I had some problems with dust and, because negative sleeves for 16mm film just don’t exist, I had to improvise storage containers and was constantly afraid of scratching my negatives. Because I had to work with larger-than-ideal 35mm negative carriers, the edges of the enlargements tended to fall out of focus. Most maddeningly, though, was that when I wanted to print a full-page enlargement I had to move the enlarger head and baseboard so far apart that I couldn’t turn the focus knob and look in the focusing scope at the same time, making the act of focusing exceedingly nerve-wracking. Still, I’m not done with 16mm photography. I plan on exploring it further, and possibly even delving into 8mm photography.

Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about this, but I am absolutely totally deeply in love with darkroom work. So much so that you can expect me to wax lyrical on the subject in a post here once things at school have cooled off.

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