Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dying art

This is an interesting (for old photographers) little film. The Photofusion lab in Brixton is where I used to do my colour printing. Black-and-white I did at home. It of course never crossed my mind to photograph my darkroom – which was my bathroom. I built a permanent DIY construction over a toilet (disused, there was a toilet-only room next to the bathroom) to support the enlarger and hold boxes of paper etc, and had made removable hardboard surfaces to fit over the bath for all the chemical trays. Washing the prints was done under the hardboard so the wter could flow from tray to bath. Then the hardboard was removed so I could wash it all down and use the bath for its primary function – my shower.

Still, I got better black and white printing results than a lab usually did. Photofusion I used more because I wanted to play with colour a little. Lab colour prints were usually more accurate.

Although it was an interesting process, it was time-consuming, and you spent a while getting good blacks, decent highlights etc. I was surprised when the first time I digitally scanned a black and white negative, it got it all right pretty much first time. So I might miss the craft – the loss of any craft is perhaps to be bemoaned – but not so much the process! All the images in this portrait series are now digitally scanned from the negatives.

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