Normally TimeWarp Tuesday is for old photographs, but today a different angle on that theme: a new photo involving a very old process. First, the subject of the portrait is my good friend Daniele Rossi, artist, web designer and podcaster. He is a mix of old and new: on one hand, as an artist he applies pigments to a flat surface, a form of artistic expression almost as old as humanity itself. On the other hand, as a podcaster, web designer and social media denizen, he is about as current as you can get on the latest technology.
My image is also a mix of old and new. The original image was created with a 30 year old Nikon FM SLR, using the classic Kodak Tri-X film, developed at home. New technology then got into the picture, as I scanned the negative using a film scanner. Then using Photoshop and an ink-jet printer I created a full-size paper negative. Then, back to traditional techniques: I applied baby oil to the paper negative to make it more transparent, and contact printed the negative using the Cyanotype process. This process dates back almost to the dawn of photography, as it was invented in 1842. Exposure to the sun (or other suitable UV source) hardens the emulsion. In the case of this image, it was exposed to the sun for about an hour. The print was then “developed” by rinsing in cold water, then soaked in a weak Hydrogen Peroxide solution to bring out the brilliance in the blue tones of the print.
I have fallen in love with this process!!
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Christmas memories, and how times have changed, so for Time-Warp Tuesday this week I have a Kodachrome slide; I made this image, a close-up of an ornament on the family Christmas tree sometime between 1980-82.
This slide looks pretty much like it did when I first took the image; the colours and sharpness have remained true. So much else about Christmas has changed though: relatives have passed on, and at the same time a new generation has arisen to be part of my Christmas memories.
My late mother was very proud of her Christmas tree ornaments, and her tree decorating. If such a thing as Yuletide Feng Shui existed, she was the master. Now the collection is spread out amongst various family members, so we will never see a single tree like that again. All we have are images like this one, capturing the memory of Christmas treasures.
Another in my Portrait of the Artist series today: Randell Rosenfield is a founding member of the Toronto-based early music enable Sine Nomine. My wife is a also a member of this group, and in addition to recording their Christmas concert last Saturday night, I was also able to take pictures of Sine Nomine as they warmed up and got in final rehearsal for the concert. In this image Randell is playing a vielle, a forerunner of the violin.
From a technical point of view, it was a challenging shoot. I was using a Nikon FM film camera with a 50mm f1.4 lens. I was shooting sans flash, so even using Kodak Tri-X film pushed to E.I. 1600, I had to shoot at 1/30 of a second, wide open. Because of the slow shutter speed, I had to time my shoots to coincide with the short pause at the end of each upbow or down bow, in an attempt to avoid blur. I am quite happy with the results; there is a luminosity in black and white film that is just not there in digital black and white.
And of course, when taking images of a group that performs medieval music, using a digital camera would have felt wrong. 🙂