On Friday night I went along to the opening of the Inside the Outside group’s exhibition at the Photo Parlour in Nottingham. One of their founder members is Al Brydon, a photographer that I’d met a few years ago, who produces tremendous landscape work from the Peak District.
As part of the ITO exhibition, he was showing the results of a really fascinating project. A while back, he discovered a drawer full of films that he’d shot around 10-15 years ago and rather than processing them, he chose to expose (most of) them again. This ‘collaboration with [his] former self’ became his ‘Based on a False Story‘ collection.
Some are simple, but beautiful landscapes with windows of light overlaid. Others, strange, voyeuristic glimpses of that ‘vastly different life’ he hints of in his accompanying blurb. The negatives look to have had a tough time in storage, with scratches and blemishes adding to the sense of mystery.
The collection was shown as 50-odd, monochrome 6″x4″ prints, with two exceptions. At either end of the grid was a double-exposure, shown in portrait orientation, featuring an unidentified silhouette. I wondered if this was perhaps the same person, 15 years apart. Or maybe, by positioning these two figures at either end of the work, it symbolised the passing of time and the effect of the intervening years that had been captured in the paired exposures.
It’s terrific, and the highlight of what is a show of exceptional work. If you get a chance, you should go and see it (it’s right next to Nottingham railway station if that helps).
As usual, I was heading into the weekend without having shot anything for my 52 Rolls Project. Seeing Al’s work helped me settle on trying some double-exposures. Rather than 15 years, mine were an hour apart.
I took Emily out for a walk and shot a roll of silhouettes, under-exposing each by 1-stop. I got home, collected Gosia and went out for another walk (to the pub) and shot the second set of ‘textures’.
I was using a Canon EOS5 – the Plastic Fantastic. The reason I chose it is because one of the custom functions allows you to rewind the film but leave the leader sticking out of the canister. I’m not sure in what other situation this feature would be useful, but for doubles, it saves messing about fishing around inside the canister to retrieve the leader. The camera has a motor-drive too, meaning easier alignment of frame lines.
I’m pretty pleased with the results, although I can’t quite understand how, when using a camera with a vertical grip, I’ve managed to shoot each of the two exposures at 180° to each other. But they’re strange, and in a couple of cases beautiful, to my eye at least…
I knew that the final 4-5 shots taken the first time around were ones for the family album, and so didn’t re-expose these.
Canon EOS5, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Kodak TMax 400 under-exposed by 1-stop, Ilfotec HC for 6:30 and fixed twice after the negatives came out cloudy and strangely blue. Scanned at home using EpsonScan.
My previous entries on 52 Rolls —> here
I also attended the opening of the inspirational and thought provoking ITO ehbition and was delighted to finally meet Al and Jacqui who I’ve been following for a while on Instagram. It’s also great that the show had indirectly led me to your work and blog which I’m really enjoying reading. I only started taking photographs again recently, at the moment with a cheap digital camera and my iPhone 5s. I would really like to start using film again but would have to use a hybrid approach of analogue and digital. How easy/difficult is it to scan negatives and would you recommend processing in Lightroom. I have developed film in the past at home. Do you have lots of problems with dust and are there any other issues I’d need to be aware of?
Hello Kristel. Yes, I remember you from the show. I travelled up with Jacqui and was around when the two of you said hello.
I’m enjoying shooting film. I do so for the look and atmosphere they produce, as well as for the whole, hands-on physicality of dealing with the film, chemicals and (occasionally but not often enough) prints.
I find that scanning is the part of the process that I enjoy least. Although, I’ve started using EpsonScan software recently that does a pretty good job at setting levels etc by itself, with only a small amount of work afterwards in Lightroom.
I like Lightroom very much. For years I used Aperture but made the switch in 2015 when it was discontinued. I’ve not looked back. I’d recommend the Adobe CC option. It’s a subscription based deal that means you get Lightroom and Photoshop for £6 a month, and it’s always the latest version.
As for dust, I don’t struggle with it too much. As I’m not often printing and more likely to be showing the results on here, I think that dust is less of an issue.
I’m no kind of expert, but if I can offer any more help then please get in touch…
Many thanks Barnaby – this has been really helpful and I will most likely be in touch again.