This is the first in a series of 11 blogposts in the “Used Film” series describing the thought processes, creative decisions, and analog process of creating these images using film 🎞, both Polaroid and sheet film. So much of these processes, figuring out how to create the looks and effects, felt very much like being Victor Frankenstein and piecing together imaginative creations.
With the exception of three images in this series, everything was photographed from the beginning using my ever trusty 4x5 Calumet camera with the 210mm f5.6 lens that I had since Art School days, and served me my whole career. I had to learn my “simple camera” and think about it in terms of being just like an enlarger in a darkroom. I had to learn and think deeply about the properties and qualities of the films I was using in order to “bend them” to my creative vision. To have watched the processes at the time you would have shaken your head in disbelief at the painstaking steps taken from the start to final work of art, especially in light of today’s easy digital creations. But the education I received from creating images in this manner was absolutely invaluable, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. What makes these works so unique, beyond the thought process, is the very nature and qualities of the physical materials used, from the Polaroid and analog films, to the surfaces and backgrounds chosen and how it was all lit.
My choice of lighting, not only for most of the images in this series but also most of my career as well, is the Photogenic mini-spot focusing hot light featuring a fresnel lens. It’s a 200W tungsten light source that perfectly worked for the creation of these images. When you work in studio with still-life images, mastering the qualities and capabilities of your lights is imperative. I always teach students to look deeply and think in terms of the subtle quality of light. It is the very language of photography, and how it interacts with your photographic medium, be it a digital sensor, or analog film is so very important. So, this series of posts will follow the order of images in my gallery ::Four:: Used Film-Polaroids. I hope you will enjoy seeing the BTS making-of these unique, one-off images.