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Member's Misc. Photos - January 2014

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Added by Russ K.
on Jan 5, 2014.


  • Melody L.

    Is this a special style? Or just your special style. I like them all.

    or cancel

  • jim h.

    Very cool series, Russ. How long did you have the shutter open for them?

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  • Russ K.

    Happy New Year and thanks for your comments and questions, Gail, Melody and Jim! The fast answers: Gail: Fotoman 4x5 cameras with 47mm and 65mm lenses (superwides for large format), 24+ hours at f/32, sometimes with the usual B&W contrast control filters or a polarizer, no Neutral Density filtration, ISO 400 black and white film and a secret sauce. Melody: The look is a result of careful tuning of the secret sauce. There are quite a few different looks I’ve generated with this process over the years, but this latest iteration might be my favourite. The main challenge is the distribution of 22+ stops of dynamic range over the much smaller 5-or-so stops of dynamic range available in a print – these choices govern the look. Jim: 24 hours. Some are longer – my longest exposure to date has been 17 days. The Longer Explanation Rant: These pictures are my latest instalment of a still-in-progress collection that started in 2008. I’ve got a few hundred of these photographs now, including the newest 61 pictures made on our recent roadtrip. The collection was exhibited for the first time this past autumn at Elissa Cristall Gallery on Granville Street as part of the Capture Photography Festival, and received a lot of attention, as the visual language and darkroom silver prints were recognized as being something different from everything else being shown around town. I believe I’m the only one in the world that can make pictures like this: high resolution 24 hour exposures on film showing the arc of the sun across the landscape – without needing ND filters. I’ve engineered a specific physical-chemical system to do this job, and I’m the only one with the secret sauce. The unique look of the pictures is partly due to the way the light comes in from many angles as the sun crosses the sky – this kind of lighting is not directly observable, and so can’t be experienced in any other way beyond these pictures. My technology doesn’t require ND filters, so the dynamic range of light captured (somewhere around 22 stops) delivers a new level of hi-res for super-long exposures. It’s taken some years to invent and refine the technology and visual language that supports all this – my early pictures look very primitive (to me) compared to the current batch – and this latest batch represents a fresh breakthrough. The pictures I’ve posted are actually intermediate work products – I do a quick digital proofing of my pictures before taking them into the darkroom. I made the pictures you’re seeing by placing the 4x5 black&white negatives on a light table, re-photographing them with a Canon G10 digital camera set to macro, importing them into PhotoShop, inverting them to positives, and using brightness and contrast controls to get a rough idea of the picture’s tonal relationships. The main work of printing will evolve over the next several months, as I figure out what the negatives are trying to say. The final prints will likely be quite different when compared to these “straight” images – but the digital proofs were sufficiently exciting, so I decided to post them. A major part of my photographic practice is to show things and do things nobody has seen before. I particularly like to go where digital photography can’t. That’s not to say I don’t use digital photography – I do, and a lot. But, my exhibition work is all analog, because that’s what is unique.

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