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B&W Technique Photos

Mistakes and Failures

The other day when I meant to grab 2 rolls of FP4 that had been shot at 125, I grabbed one that had been shot at 250. This turned out to be a happy mistake as the negs from the roll at 125 turned out really dense. The roll at 250 came out with great tonality, but there are these horrid striations parallel to the long edge of the neg and occasional places where the emulsion is completely clear. It’s really only visible in the thinner parts of the neg, but it makes most of these more or less un-printable, which really sucks; I like a lot of these shots.

I’m not sure what happened here, but since it effects both rolls, I’m going to go with a problem with the developer, a bottle of Tmax Dev that’s been on the shelf for . . . uh, yeah . . . I don’t know how long probably means too long. Oh, well. The one of Kate would be particularly pretty if it weren’t all messed up.

Click on the thumbnails to see each image larger. The problem is easiest to see in the last image.

2 replies on “Mistakes and Failures”

Nothing like failed development to get my teeth grinding. Occasionally I get some bad developer but more often I am distracted and just do something stupid, like develop in fixer, or fix in developer. Or water. The whole time my mind is somewhere else and I have no business being in the darkroom.

I have learned over time to welcome some failures and get past my unwavering beliefs of what “proper” development is. Fine grain, sharpness, dirty, scratches, the works. I suppose it happened during a particularly strong wailing about the work of the Starn Twins and how bad it was. And then I took a good look and realized that there were many roads to beauty and photography. It was about that time I quit looking at my Edward Weston books so much.

Anyways, I still think the photograph of Kate is lovely, streaks and all. Hell, you have plenty without streaks. Maybe you need a lot more with them!

Happy Holidays!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

‘Fine grain, sharpness, dirty, scratches, the works.’

Agreed, bourgeois concepts all, but I like to make my mistakes on purpose, or at least be able to pretend I have 😉 I think this is the first time I’ve actually had a chemical fail on me. Usually the problem is firmly in the realm of operator error.

I’ve never liked Weston, but I know what you are driving at. Getting rid of every last dust spot and resolving to the ultimate takes a very particular kind of mind, and I’m not sure the results are all that compelling.

I had to google the Starn twins. Curious, but I’m not sure I’d want to travel that road.

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