Picked up a scanner on the weekend, one that can scan transparencies (slides, negatives, etc.) I was going through all my binders, picking out which slides I wanted to copy. It was strange, all of these photos taken over 15 years ago, which I could never really look at because, well, they were slides. I had always told myself, back then, that I would one day like to be able to develop them onto film, but I was so desperately poor that I never got around to it, and with time I forgot about it all.
Well, as much as I like to think that I have Luddite leanings, thank Loki for technology. Even now, slides cost about a buck and a half to develop, so the scanner has pretty much already paid for itself. I’m actually thinking of going back to my Olympus OM1, a rickety old 35mm SLR, and developing my negatives at home. Of course, this means sticking to B&W, but I can live with that.
Oh, and about those old photos? Yeah, less weight and more hair on this fellow.
Spent Sunday trying to make the bathroom as light impermeable as possible. Taped layer upon layer of cardboard over the window and door, turned out the light, waited until my eyes adjusted, and retaped the cardboard. Grab all the negatives that have been waiting in the matriuska box (i.e. a box within a box within a box), and get ready to develop. Oh, but wait! Better check the temperature of the developer. Too warm. Prepare an ice bath. It doesn’t work. Shove the developer in the fridge, and take off to get some groceries. Come back, start to prepare supper, check the developer and, when it’s ready, head back into the bathroom. Turn out the lights, complete darkness, set the timer and drop the negatives into the first bath. Start noticing small light leaks, say fuck it and continue. The timer goes off, I transfer the negatives to the wash, and then to the fixer. After about 6 minutes, feel it’s safe enough to turn on the light.
Only to discover that I also had some colour negatives thrown in with my b&w stuff. Everything looked like one giant slime mold.
Pinholes, she is good, no?
A few weeks ago, while at a hardware store, I decided to pick up some supplies to build another pinhole camera, in case the need arise. Got home and said to the milliner, “Milliner, if you feel like making a camera, these might help.” A few weeks passed, and then on Saturday she finally decided to get one done. Little did I know–though I should have, what with her being a designer and all–that the end product would be kick-ass and put my efforts to shame.
I suggested she document the process, so if anyone is interested, here is what she did.
Yesterday was Worldwide pinhole photography day. If you do a search for “pinhole” in flickr, you’ll see a lot of great works. Mine? Not so great.
Saturday morning, I was driving around with my pinhole camera, wanting to take a picture of a boarded-up dépanneur in the west end. Get turned around a few times, trying to navigate all the one-way streets, etc. Find the store, park, and set up the box on a concrete block across the street from the store. It’s overcast and windy, the camera is rocking back and forth, so I pile everything from my pockets onto the box. No luck.
Pack everything up, and drive some more, trying to find something that catches my eye. Give up and drive to the Atwater market to get some food. Get a flash while there, and set up the camera, again, by the canal, on the train tracks. By now the wind has really picked up and the rain is cold and heavier. I try to offset the wind by ballasting the camera with rocks from the tracks. Open the shutter (i.e. I pull the tape off from the hole; it’s complicated, I know), and stand in the freezing rain for about 10 minutes, getting shrieked at by the gulls.
Once my fingers and the back of my neck are completely numb, I put the tape back on the shutter, pack up and finish the rest of my errands.
Because I don’t have a darkroom, I have to wait until late at night to set up my trays in the bathroom, which I darken by taping black paper over the window, and by turning off all the lights in the apartment. I don’t even have a darkroom light, so I’m practically working blind. So, late last night, I go through this process: get in the bathroom with my box, turn out the lights, and pull the top off the camera. Now, when I grab the paper, it somehow doesn’t feel right. The charged side, which is supposed to feel sticky, is facing away from the shutter. Crap, I loaded the paper the wrong way. Of course, I have no way of knowing for sure, so I go through the process of developing it. And, sure enough, when I finally turn on the lights, I’m staring at a blank piece of photographic paper. Sigh.