09 February, 2007

One Giant Step Backwards

For the first time in nearly fifteen years I have invaded the darkroom to make silver-based, black and white prints. It was GRAND. My first print was terrible, exposure was off, dust spots, etc, but watching that print emerge from the chemical bath was like discovering photography for the first time.
In an hour and a half I made three good prints, one portrait and two documentary shots, all 11x14, on Ilford, warm-tone, glossy fiber-base paper. I used the negative holder with filed edges that gave me a nice, thick, black border on all four sides.
Before I left the house I broke a hanger into two pieces, cut up a business card in varying sizes and shapes, then poked the end of the hanger into the small pieces. What was I doing? Making dodging tools! Just like I did in the good old days. I felt like an alchemist, and strangely, everything came back to me as if I had never stopped printing.
I felt like I was really making something, crafting it from scratch, and I realized I was now going to be spending a lot more time in the dark.

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