Contemplating boy Yashica-12 Fujifilm Velvia (expired 8-2006)
Inside Crown Hill Cemetery, as you go up what turns out to be the highest hill in Indianapolis, you find the graves of some of our city’s most prominent and wealthy citizens. The markers can be elaborate, sometimes even gaudy.
This statue of a kneeling boy sits on a concrete bench marked “Home Sweet Home.” No name is given. It’s unusual for this part of the cemetery. I’ve always wondered this statue’s story.
Here’s another photo from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I used to drive over here all the time when testing new-to-me old cameras. There’s all sorts of interesting scenes to photograph here, and it was five minutes from my old house. When I had some business not too far from here the other day I made sure to bring my Yashica-12 along, as I was finishing up a roll of T-Max 100 I’d spooled inside.
I have no idea who this statuesque fellow is, but I’ve always wondered what he’s squinting at.
I developed this at home in Rodinal, at 1+50 dilution. My bathroom was a perfect 68 degrees so I didn’t have to adjust developing time for temperature.
Angel guiding the way Yashica-12 Kodak T-Max 100 2019
As I’ve been learning how to develop black-and-white film at home, I’ve stuck to 120 film and have mostly used my Yashica-12 TLR. The more I use the 12, the more I enjoy it.
I took half an afternoon off because of personal business that found me on Indianapolis’s Far Northside. I brought the 12 along and stopped at a couple favorite places I don’t visit much since I moved to Zionsville. One of them is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which has lots of lovely scenes to photograph.
I love this little statue of the angel lighting the way and have photographed it several times. The TLR with its peer-down viewfinder easily let me get right down onto its level for a straight-on shot.
I processed this film at home in Rodinal. Everybody says Rodinal brings out the grain, but this looks plenty smooth to me.
I’ve been increasingly interested in seeing printed photographs, especially from the acknowledged master photographers. And so while Margaret and I were in Chicago recently we visited the Art Institute and its photography exhibit.
A print of W. Eugene Smith’s Madness moved me deeply. I’d never before seen this famous image of a woman in a Hatian mental institution, her face emerging from a sea of black, her eyes searching and frantic. I stood astonished for several minutes before this photograph, scanning for detail, reading the woman’s face, trying to determine what she felt and thought. Was she simply, as the title suggests, mad? Or was she simply frightened, or struggling to find her way? Even in the fraction of a second this image captured, it’s hard to tell.
The Art Institute’s print is astonishing. The paper’s velvety finish turned the dark into an enveloping night that threatened to consume the woman. Her face appeared as though it lay inches below the paper’s surface, as if you’d have to reach into the print to touch her.
You can’t tell any of that from this dreadful scan, which I lifted directly from the Art Institute’s site (here). Not only is it marred by white specks not present in the print, but those velvety blacks have turned muddy, tepid gray. This scan loses all of the print’s punch.
And that’s on my monitor. It might look different on yours. Yet if you traveled to the Art Institute to see the print, it would look the same to you as it did to me.
The paper was just one choice Smith made in the darkroom. Another was the amount and placement of the light he chose to shine through the negative. Consider the image below, which I found on this page and is said to have been published in this book of Smith’s work. I believe it to be from the same negative as above, given how the woman’s expression appears to be exactly the same. This digital image reveals information on that negative that never made it into the Art Institute’s print.
Which image is true? Both. Or neither. Is there a truth in photography? Any finished image largely represents the many choices a photographer makes from the moment he or she decides to expose a negative.
John Smith shared a favorite photo on his blog recently (here) and said it was the only one he’s taken that hangs in his home.
Like him, I’m perfectly happy to view my work on my computer. But I do have six photographs framed and hanging in my home. These:
The bridge (and Bridge Out) photos hang in my home office. I love old bridges and like these photos and thought they’d make a nice series. My prints are all 8x10s, though, and cropped to fit.
The silhouetted tree hangs because I printed and framed it for a contest, which to my surprise it won. I had a spare spot on my hallway wall so after the contest that’s where I put it. It, too, is an 8×10. I had uploaded the cropped version to Flickr and so that’s what you see in this post.
The Ford photo hangs in my bathroom. After I remodeled that room several years ago a bare spot on the wall seemed just right for some sort of hanging, but nothing seemed right until I took this photo. The red of the fire truck’s body is the same shade of red I used in bathroom accessories. So I printed it 4×6, framed it, and hung it in that spot.
I get my frames at Walmart, of all places. They have a surprisingly good selection, and quality is reasonable.
Which photographs that you’ve taken hang in your home? Tip: If you paste into your comment a complete URL to a Flickr page, or a complete URL to an image file (a file ending in .jpg or .png or .gif), the image will appear in the comment for all to see!