March 29, 2015

Voigtlander Diaries

Portrait of 28 year old self in 100 year old apartment with 86 year old camera.
Double portrait of Niai in his Sunday best.
Current architectural muse. 
Young Atlas in the yard.
Farm brother I.
Farm brother C.

The photographs in the series above were shot on a Voigtlander Bessa in and around rural Manitoba. Made in Germany in 1929, this 86 year old medium format 6x9 collapsable camera is still in fine form to create great images (so long as the operator remembers to advance each frame). If I take good enough care of it, it will be passed along to the next generation in my family. Hopefully someone will take time to compose photographs in fifty years time. When I think too far into the future about the availability of film, chemistry and paper I get the shakes.

All we have is the here and now.
All we have is the here and now.
All we have is the here and now.

This roll is crying out to be worked with in the darkroom. The home process and professional scan do no favors to the film. This roll is alive. When I hold those double exposures of Iain at the table and young Atlas in the yard up to the light, I am reminded of my great grandpa's negatives shot around the same time the Voigtlander was released in the late 20s. There is a nice mix of sizes and formats in PJB's negative collection (from a variety of long-gone cameras I long to scrutinize), some of which that are doubly or triply exposed. Forgetfulness of the operator tells a great tale. These are the stories I want to explore. What else will I learn from the negative once it is enlarged? What narrative will emerge from the shadows if I sift the light on that heavily exposed right side of young Atlas? As far as I am concerned, these could very well have been shot in the 30s. I think this is the aesthetic I am constantly seeking. Perennial narratives.

As the last push of school looms in the horizon, the procrastinator in me has been taking time to really think about the direction I want to take my photo work once Montessori teacher training is behind me and time will be mine once more to invest in my passion for printmaking. I don't know where my next darkroom will be, but I look forward to finding a new rhythm. The time is near; I can nearly smell the stop bath.

Voigtlander B / Tmax 400

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