10×8

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Portrait: Rachel Owen, Artist

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

In the summer of 2012 I was starting to experiment with large format x-ray film and looking for willing volunteers to sit for a portrait so that I could test things out. One of my test portraits was of Oxford artist Rachel Owen who I knew also worked with film when we chatted at her Artweeks exhibition months earlier. Yesterday I was very sad to hear that Rachel died on Sunday 18th December from cancer. Pembroke College announced the news on their website.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8, green sensitive x-ray film rated at ISO 50, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

Rachel Owen, Artist (1968-2016).

Rachel Owen, Artist (1968-2016)

10×8 portrait: Amanda

Monday, September 1st, 2014

A large format portrait made on 10×8 inch xray film. The making of pic below was made by Amanda from her viewpoint but you don’t get a sense of how large this camera is. I really enjoy making simple honest portraits like this with nothing fancy in terms of styling, lighting or location – just one light, subject and camera.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8, Sinaron 300mm lens, green sensitive xray film, processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 6 mins.

Wista pic by Amanda | Xray film hanging up to dry

 

Oxford: 10×8 x-ray film

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Here is a set of large format images that I made on 10×8 (green) x-ray film a couple of weeks ago on a stroll into town. I was glad to see the workmen on the steps of the Clarendon Building because I often see them there on my lunch photo walk and think to myself how nice it would be to make a group shot of them on 10×8 film. I took 8 sheets of film with me but only used 7.

[Tech info:] 10×8 Wista Field, 300mm Sinaron lens, CXS green latitude x-ray film (ISO50), processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 6mins.

Setting up

Setting up (photo by Clive Jones)

Oxford: experiments with blue x-ray film

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

So far all of the x-ray film that I have been using has been of the green variety which I think means it’s sensitive to a certain colour of light when used for medical x-rays. Recently I acquired some blue x-ray film from the FPP online store and here are some of my first test shots with it. These shots were all rated at ISO25 and I experimented with two different developers, Kodak HC110 and Rodinal. This film seems very sensitive to over agitation and I think the Rodinal seems to be better because of the higher dilution of 1+100 and longer development time of 10mins.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8, 300mm Sinaron lens, Fuji Blue x-ray film, ISO25.

The view on the ground glass screen of the Wista. It’s upside down on the camera when I’m using it.

Oxford: OWP skatepark – 10×8 portraits

Friday, June 14th, 2013

This is the second batch of portraits that I made back in April at the Meadow Lane skatepark. It was a great session and I made a total of eight portraits (that’s all the film I had with me). The first batch can be seen here. I really enjoy using 10×8 but unfortunately the camera and lens alone are a bit too heavy for me to safely cycle with on my back, not to mention the tripod and film holders I need to carry as well. This limits my usage and how far  I can travel with it which is a shame because there are so many images I’d love to make with this size of film. I really like how these have turned out and I hope to make some more during the summer if time permits.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8, 300mm Sinaron lens, green sensitive x-ray film, ISO50, processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 6mins.

 

 

Oxford: OWP skatepark – 10×8 portraits

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Here are some portraits I made on large format 10×8 film yesterday as part of my ongoing personal project to document the users of the Oxford Wheels Project skatepark on Meadow Lane. We had a sunny morning with next to no breeze which is ideal conditions for dragging out a 10×8 camera. Fortunately it wasn’t too busy so I had space to set up and I managed to make 8 different portraits, my most successful session so far. I absolutely love shooting 10×8 and I can’t wait to shoot some transparency film at the skatepark. Below are the first batch from yesterday, I haven’t processed the others yet. These web sized images don’t do the originals any justice. The negatives are a sight to behold and the original high-resolution scans have so much detail in them it’s mind boggling.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8, 300mm Sinaron lens, green sensitive x-ray film, ISO50, processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 6mins.

The 10x8 Wista camera I used.

 

Oxford: BMX riders at the new ramps

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

We finally had some nice weather last weekend so I made the most of it and did some large format film photography at the new Meadow Lane ramps. On Saturday I took a Super D 5×4 SLR camera (first two shots) and on Sunday I took a Wista 10×8 field camera. I’m not sure how much BMX action photography has ever been done with a 10×8 camera, I suspect not much at all. It was my first time photographing at the new ramps and I really like the new layout. I hope to spend more time there documenting the riders and skaters through the summer if the nice weather continues.

[Tech info:] 5×4 shots made with a 190mm lens on Ilford HP5, processed in Kodak HC110 (1+31) for 7:30. 10×8 shots made with a 300mm/5.6 lens on green sensitive x-ray film, rated at ISO50. Processed in Rodinal 1+50 for 6mins.

A rider from Carterton

Oxford rider

Hitting the mark

Archive: Photographic memories

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Whilst having a tidying up session at home I came across some images that I’ve been searching for for quite a while. These are very special images for me because one of them is the only 10×8 Polaroid that I own and two of them are the only 10×8 transparencies that I currently own. It’s hard to explain how amazing it is to view transparencies on a light box and even harder to explain how mind blowing 10×8 transparencies are to look at.

The first image below is from late 1990 when I was an assistant in a commercial photography studio. Sometimes in between working on advertising jobs we would set up portfolio shots. Also working at the studio was a very talented artist and photographer named Benedict Campbell and it’s his handiwork that you’re looking at. If you look closer at this shot you might notice that my left hand is touching the top of a real car – a Fiat that we had hired especially for this shot. We painted the side of the Fiat facing the camera with peelable paint (after we had taped all of the gaps and joints) and then Ben painted the Ferrari on the side and the background too. The front and back of the Ferrari is painted on the background which was a huge stretched canvas flat on rollers behind the Fiat. It was all done in perspective from the angle of view seen by the camera lens. We worked all day and into the early hours of the morning to finish this before we cleaned the car off to return it.

The shot of the motorcycle is another test shot by Ben, this time from 1988 or 1989, I can’t quite remember. The sky in the background was painted by him directly on the studio wall. There was a huge cove at the studio which is where there are no hard corners where the floor and ceiling meet the walls, it was all curved plaster. Ben would often paint moody sky backgrounds whether it was stormy clouds or colourful sunsets. I wish I had done more behind the scenes photography during my time there.

Before digital cameras the main way of checking lighting for a shot was to shoot a Polaroid. The last shot below is a 10×8 Polaroid which I had written 1st March 1991 on the back. This was an advertising shot for Rover cars who were a big client of the studio. This was a shot done by the photographer I worked for, Ian Fraser, and sadly this is the only 10×8 Polaroid that I kept out of the hundreds that we must have thrown away during my time at the studio. The reflections in the side of the car that look like a horizon line of mountains was all done by stapling huge lengths of black velvet to the walls of the studio. The lighting is all reflected light bounced from the cove, coming from big Hollywood movie studio style tungsten lights. It was nothing to have anywhere between 10 and 20 lights for a setup. These were the days of getting everything right in camera instead of ‘fixing it later’ with Photoshop. It was very time consuming and labour intensive but also very satisfying when you got it right.

One of the exciting things about finding these images is that 20+ years later I am looking at the original film that came from the camera. These are one off originals, photographic memories. All this time later I am now using the exact same 10×8 Wista camera (generously on loan from Ian Fraser) to make more photographic memories of my own. I’ve got some Fuji transparency film in my freezer waiting to be used. Long live film!

Ferrari vs Fiat. (Photo: Benedict Campbell 1990).

The view through a Nikon F3 of Benedict Campbell at work on the Ferrari shot.

Kawasaki

Kawasaki

10x8 Polaroid, 1st March 1990. Rover cars advertising shoot. (Photo: Ian Fraser).

 

Oxford: BMX riders

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Some more images from my series documenting a local BMX ramp and the people that use it. The first images were made in the morning of my first visit there (Saturday), these were made in the afternoon and the following morning (Sunday).  I found that once the sun had moved around in the afternoon the light was a lot less contrasty and perfect for the group shot of the BMX riders. The group shot was not pre-arranged, the riders had arrived while I was setting up for the shot of the two people sitting on the middle of the ramp. I think they were intrigued by the old skool camera I was using but they were naturally cautious when I asked if I could make a group shot of them. I knew the shot would be worthwhile and once I focused the image on the ground glass screen I was sure it would be. Fortunately I had a sheet of Fuji Veliva Transparency film with me so I was able to make a colour image as well but I’ll try to process that later in the summer. The film is quite expired so there’s no knowing how it will turn out.

The shot of the two BMX riders almost didn’t happen. The rider on the right is Pipe Williams, I photographed him on Polaroid earlier in the summer during Eights Week and we’d loosely arranged to meet up at the ramp during the morning. Just when I thought he wasn’t going to show I started to pack my camera away and it was then that he arrived with another rider. I like how this shot has turned out and the sun went behind a cloud just at the right time to reduce the contrast. They’re both sponsored by Stolen BMX, a bike company.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8 with Sinaron 300mm lens on green sensitive x-ray film, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

BMX riders.

Pipe Williams (right) with friend.

I forgot to ask these two guys whether they're skateboarders or BMX riders.

This ramp is due to be torn down at the end of the summer and a new one built.

Middle of the ramp.

A behind the scenes shot of the camera I used.

 

Oxford: Skaters and riders

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

There is a ramp near my house that is used by skateboarders and BMX riders. It’s been there a very long time. Originally there were two but the higher one slowly rotted away so it was torn down. This weekend I decided to make some portraits there of whoever I came across as a way of documenting the ramp and the people that use it. On my way over there I found out that the ramp is due to be demolished and a new one is going to be built in its place. I’m glad I found this out now rather than when it was too late. My old middle school is next door to where this ramp is so I can remember the time before the ramp was there. I can also remember a time before BMX was popular in the UK. It all started with the movie E.T.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8 camera with Sinaron 300mm lens on green sensitive x-ray film (ISO 50), processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

Skateboarders. These guys were leaving just as I arrived. Thanks for stopping.

A photographic first? BMX action shot on 10x8.

 

X-ray film test #2

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

A couple more portrait tests with large format 10×8 inch x-ray film. So far I’m very pleased with the results. I want to do some more portraits with this film so please get in touch if you’d like to be photographed.

[Tech info:] Toyo 810G, Nikon 300mm lens @ f11, green sensitive x-ray film rated at ISO 50, processed in Rodinal 1:50 for 6 mins.

Andy in my studio.

Andy, one light studio test.

 

X-ray film test

Monday, May 14th, 2012

This is my first test with using 10×8 inch x-ray film instead of regular black & white film. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Another benefit is that you can handle it under a red safelight in the darkroom just as you can black & white paper so you can actually see what you’re doing. This not only applies to when you’re handling and loading the film into the film holders but also when you’re processing the film. A slight downside is that the surface of the film is very fragile and prone to scratching (it’s coated with emulsion on both sides) so extreme care is needed when handling. I first became aware of this film and the ability to use it instead of regular film from fellow photographer Mat Marrash via Flickr. I have him to thank for pointing me in the right direction and there have been some other photographers on Flickr that have since demonstrated how good this x-ray film really is.

The first shot below is the Lock keeper’s cottage at Iffley. For my first test with this film I didn’t want to travel a long way with the big 10×8 camera so I decided to walk to a location not too far from my house. My hope was to not only find something of interest to photograph that wasn’t going to move but also to do a test portrait as well. I figured that Iffley Lock is never short of people passing through and I’ve always meant to make a nice shot of the Lock keeper’s cottage so that location was an easy choice.

Once I had set up the 10×8 camera by the side of the Lock it was no surprise that people kept stopping to admire it. The camera looks like it’s 100 years old but 30 would be more accurate.  After I had made a few different test shots of the cottage and one of the Lock I had two sheets of film left. Lucky for me it was then that a lady came past with her three children and they stopped to ask me about the camera I was using. After a brief chat I offered to make a test portrait and they were kind enough to oblige. I have to say that these three kids were perfect subjects to photograph because they listened to everything I explained and they were able to sit perfectly still. Someday I hope to be able to say the same about my daughter 🙂

After I finished the portrait I let the kids peek under the dark cloth while their mum sat on the bench. It was lovely to hear them shriek with laughter as they saw the image of their mum upside down on the ground glass screen. It was then that it struck me that this was probably the first time that these kids had looked through a camera like this. They’re the digital generation coming into contact with something that couldn’t be more analogue. Hopefully they’ll remember how much fun it was. My thanks to the nice lady and her kids that stopped to chat and be photographed. I hope you like the shot.

[Tech info:] Wista 10×8 with Nikon 210mm lens. X-ray film rated at ISO 100 (it probably should have been 50), processed in Rodinal 1:50 (others use 1:100) for 7mins.

Lock keeper's cottage, Iffley.

My first portrait on x-ray film. I'm pleased with how this turned out.