In the July edition of Darkroom Underground, we have an amazing group of talented photographers that share inspiring images from their portfolios and interesting articles on creative and technical subjects.
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JULY 2017 EDITION
What are photographers saying about the July 2017 edition?
"Congratulations on your accomplishment! You, the other authors, and team members now have something to celebrate. I'm flying from Vermont to Seattle soon, so "Vol 1, No 1" is on the top of my reading list on my iPad - I'm forcing myself to wait..." Phil Gingrow
"Wow! Wonderful effort. What a great collection of articles and contributors. I think you’ve made it difficult to top yourself next time." Donald Stark
"Tim, Congratulations!. Although my standards are quite high. I must say that you have exceeded them with your first edition." Jim Boice
"Tim, very well done! I am honored to be part of this." Jon Paul
"Received the Darkroom Underground Magazine. Outstanding! The articles and images are really beautifully done. I can appreciate the effort you put into making it so beautiful. Thanks. Looking forward to future editions." Frank Baudino
"Congratulations on an excellent first issue of Darkroom Underground Magazine Tim - all 82 pages of it. I am very pleased to have been part of it. It addresses a wide range of interests aimed at different levels and I thoroughly enjoyed it." Tim Rudman
"Hi Tim, I just subscribed to the Darkroom Underground and it is really helpful already (read the article about how to test film with a step wedge and figured out where I always failed miserably) This magazine is a God send for photographers. I mean it. This will improve how I photograph.” Marc Lemaire
JULY 2017 CONTENTS
Article - Why I Continue Employing Traditional Photographic Methods & Portfolio Images
"In the mid-1960s I started doing photography to record what I saw on backpack trips in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was a hobby that turned into a profession in late 1970, but it’s still a hobby for me because I derive so much pleasure from it, and I do it for the love of it."
Portfolio - 6 B&W Silver Gelatin Prints: Sierra Wave Cloud; Fallen Sequoias; Circular Chimney, Antelope Canyon; Lay Brothers' Refectory, Fountains Abbey; Les Baux Quarry; Arni Marble Quarry
Article - Defining Personal Vision In Photography: Using Concept and Craft & Portfolio Images
"How do you define yourself in the photographic world? Are you a process photographer? A conceptual artist? Or an artist that blends both craft and concept?
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about personal vision as it applies to photography. There is a major shift afoot within the discipline. In many ways, it’s being redefined. It’s changing radically, regardless of what people say."
Portfolio - 6 Plates from "Portraits from Madison Avenue"
Portfolio - Iceland, An Uneasy Calm with a Q&A section
Iceland, 'The Land of Fire and Ice’, has a strong and omnipresent ‘Middle Earth’ feel to it. Evidence of its volcanic origin is everywhere. Geysers spurt, mud pools boil and steam billows from the ground. The central highlands are unpopulated and barren. Glistening glacial caps crown the mountains and extend long white fingers down to light-sucking lava deserts, whilst bible-black beaches lie fringed with white surf. Thundering waterfalls abound, whilst craggy caves and peaks, often shrouded in mist and low cloud, provide a home to some of Iceland’s trolls and ‘hidden people'. In summer the days extend through the nights. In winter the nights eat up the days. Changes in the weather are frequent and storms can be spectacular. Brooding skies accentuate the already dramatic and sometimes eerie landscape where trolls lurk at night and get turned to stone by daylight. It is a land of myth and magic, of fearsome subterranean power and spectacular scenery.
Interview: I asked Tim to share his thoughts about the following questions. What was your inspiration for this project? Can you tell us about the film and developer you used for this project and why you selected it? Your prints for this portfolio are all printed on fiber paper. Can you share which paper you printed on and why you selected this paper for your project? The tonality of your prints is beautiful. Can you tell us more detail about the two toning stages you used for these prints? What was your process for selecting the final images for the book?
Article - Understanding Silver Halides & Exploring Redevelopment Part 1
It is impossible to think about darkroom photography without at least being curious about the role of silver halides. While it isn't necessary to know the scientific details about silver halides to create standard darkroom prints, I think understanding the underlying chemical architecture will make you a better printmaker and open doors you never knew existed before.
I will explore this notion after we make sure an understanding of silver halides is established in this issue and then pursue some practical applications of redeveloping your prints in the next issue.
Article - My Large Format Choice & Portfolio Images
"I am somewhat unusual for a large format film photographer. I didn’t grow up immersed in photography, or art in general for that matter. I was an outdoorsman and athlete with a degree in Biology that had a true appreciation for the natural world I immersed myself in. For several years I found myself wanting to capture the beauty I was experiencing while climbing, running, riding, fishing, etc. Eventually, I purchased a used 35mm film camera and began composing images. I was immediately taken with the art of photography. In quick order, I realized I wanted to produce fine art prints in larger sizes, and the 35mm film format was failing me. I didn’t want to move to medium format, as others were using that and I wasn’t excited about their prints. I jumped straight to 4x5 inch film via a used (by 35 years) Super Speed Graphic press camera. I acquired two used lenses (90mm and 210mm) and began my quest to produce the highest quality fine art prints possible for gallery walls."
Article - Photographing the Intangible & Portfolio Images
“Mark, people can look at my photographs and think “I could do that”, but they never say that about yours.” That was the nicest thing a gallery owner ever said to me, especially since he was a photographer as well. I don’t think that my photos were necessarily “better” than his, but what he meant was that they were unique to me. If I look at Flickr or 500px, I see thousands upon thousands of the exact same photograph, taken by different photographers. I look at long-exposure beachscapes and, while beautiful, they almost always show a total lack of creativity. They’re merely copying a technique that they saw elsewhere and wanted to replicate it to produce a pretty picture."
Article - Processing for Permanence
K.B. Hendriks, the Director of the Picture Conservation Division for the Public Archives of Canada, wrote that “Recent studies have shown that toner treatments should be considered mandatory for contemporary films and paper if permanent photographic images that are resistant to chemical changes are to be obtained.” The available evidence shows Hendriks has been proved right. There can be no doubt that increased environmental pollutants are posing new challenges in photographic preservation and after-processing toner treatments are the only means of preventing image degradation. Even so, there are indications that if film and paper is processed correctly in the conventional manner, the limiting factor in its longevity is the film or paper base, not the silver image. The real culprits may be environmental pollutants, including contaminants in the water supply (including chemicals added by the water district and naturally occurring minerals), and airborne pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide."
Article - A Visual Approach to Film Speed & Development Time Testing (Part 1 of 3)
Paul's method is based on tonal values in your negatives and prints that you establish visually, versus having to use a densitometer. I have personally tested Paul's method and I can attest that it will help any film photographer produce high-quality negatives and prints rendering the maximum tonal scale possible for the negative, developer, and paper of choice.
"My proper proof contact prints are done at a lower-than-normal contrast (about what we old-timers used to call Grade 1), so my visible zones for a properly exposed and normally developed negative (non-black to non-white) are Zone 1.5 to Zone 8.5. Please be aware that there is LOTS of detail that could be registered on your film above Zone VIII, it's just a pain in the butt to get it to show up in your print (i.e., an opportunity for dodging and burning)."
Article - The Cuba Effect & Portfolio Images
"When I became serious about photography, I began to search for a topic and a style that would be “mine,” a subject that I would revisit time and again, my touchstone. After much exploration, I began a body of work that I call “Entropy,” a study of what happens when man stops expending the energy required to maintain his creations and nature begins to reclaim them back into the elements from which they were made. Cuba should be a great place to find examples of entropy to photograph. An inefficient form of government, the economic embargo imposed by the US in 1962, and the loss of support when the USSR dissolved in 1991 combined to deprive the country of the financial and material resources it needs to maintain its buildings. But as I would learn, Cuba is a far more nuanced and complex place than can be depicted simply with pictures of the disintegration of a once beautiful built environment. And that Cubans have learned to adapt to, improvise, and overcome their challenges in ways so unique that they have a special word for it: resolver...to solve."
Article - From Film to Digital to Glass & Portfolio Images
"Millions of people own cameras and take pictures throughout their lives but they wouldn't necessarily call themselves photographers. Really it's just a means to an end to record the events of their lives and sadly many of them will never see the light of day or be printed and put into albums for future generations to look at. I too grew up taking pictures from an early age but it was in my early 20's that there were two events that I feel propelled me into a lifelong love of photography and a journey that is still going on today.
Article - Daguerreotype in the 21st Century & Portfolio Images
Readers of this publication are most likely aware that daguerreotype was the first truly successful photographic technique and that it was dominant between its introduction in 1839 and into 1850's when it was gradually replaced by cheaper, faster and easier wet plate collodion technique, so I’m not going to dedicate a lot of space in this article on its history. I will only mention that, while most were satisfied with advances in the field, there were many photographers who carried on making daguerreotypes well into 1860's and beyond. The Steichen quote given above was eloquently uttered well into the 20th century. By that time almost all the processes we are familiar with today, with the exception of color and digital that have been explored and perfected. And yet one of the true giants upon the landscape of photographic artists recognized that there was a certain perfection within a daguerreotype unrivaled by all processes that followed. Today a certain small group of dedicated people still believe that as well and for that very reason go through the rigorous procedure of making daguerreotypes.
Portfolio - Brandon shares seven photographs taken with a Hasselblad XPan camera using Ilford FP4f film that was developed in Rodinal. While starting with the standard recommended development times and agitation for Rodinal with FP4, I gradually simplified my process and reduced agitation until I came upon a sort of semi-stand development that suits my preference. How I approached composition in street photography followed suit. Progressively, I simplified my composition focusing not on the people around me but rather the surrounding space.