I will be shooting shooting on Square format as that is what I am comfortable shooting with, wether it be portraits with a 110mm or context shots with a 40mm or 80mm, I love to fire the camera. More importantly I have equipment that wont fail on me or at least I understand what is going on... Medium format is very easy to understand. I also shoot 35mm in-between to capture fast details and moments that work better aesthetically with the rectangle aspect ratio, using wide angle 24mm and 50mm lenses; I love to fire frames in moments to create contacts that show how I approach a situation or a scene and how I come about capturing it. I feel you can tell how the photographer thinks and what captures their attention through the contact sheets, a contact sheet is like an abstraction of moment happening and you can see it unfolding over however long. It might be 10 frames over 30 seconds or 10 frames over 2 minutes for example. The reason I love to shoot square format is because I feel it sits in its own category of aesthetic and has a certain elegance to the composition that seems formal. Although I find it a challenge to fill the square sometimes with portraits or find it hard to know what to include but recently I have found myself excluding things and being quite minimalist in my approach. This is my research into photographers like Michael Kenna, Vivian Maier, peter Marlow, eggleston and many more coming through in my visual thinking.
The film I usually shoot on is Ilford HP5+ as it yields very nice detail, its a thick strong film and can be played around with quite a lot, in exposure or in developing methods. I will also be using Ilfords more expensive variety of film, Delta 100 and 400. This film is meant to have a more complex crystalline structure to yield more detail and finer grain. In fact the silver halide crystals are different shapes to HP5. I have shot this film before and after experimenting and seeing the results for the first time the Delta definitely has a nicer grain structure allowing for a little more latitude in the extreme highlights and shadow, and seems to be a bit more contrasty. For printing I feel Delta Negatives are a lot nicer and are just that little bit thicker than HP5 and is what you want to be able to really paint with light.
For some reason I always find myself underexposing HP5 or at least I have noticed my HP5 negatives could be a lot thicker to help with the quality of re-production of prints and being able to create quality tones in prints. After researching photographers I have also realised it is about the print, not just the negative or the digital scan which can be manipulated anyway you like. but the original hand made print. Painted with light that shines through the negative once again and turned into a positive enlargement under a controlled processes which allows for time for light to imprint the image on the paper.
I absolutely love how simple the processes of black and white actually is and I completely understand why many photographers say black and white is the most natural and pure from of image making. The negative and positive.
I have recently switched from suing Kodak D-76 developing chems until recently, I have stared to use Ilford ID-11 which seems to be have more consistant results with me, and easier to control a little bit more time to play around with in developing. Nice fine grain developer that does what it needs to do.
I will be using Ilford black and white, 9 and 1/2 inch x 12 inch warm tone RC paper, 12 x 16 Fibre classic paper to be printing on in the darkroom. This paper is just personal preference and is what I usually use, the warm tone give me more than twice the time that standard RC paper and it yields more latitude in tones. The paper is not white but an ivory colour and this really complements the highlights in most of the prints I have done and I absolutely love the greys it outputs, very nice. The fibre classic is white and is very thick paper and delicate when submerged, The fibre is the best quality and deerest in price for a reason, the tones it can hold and the detail is amazing, it feels good quality and will last a long time. For archival reasons I would choose to print all of fibre paper but it is way too expensive for me. The Ivory RC is the closest to fibre I have found and feels almost the same thickness. both amazing paper I will be using for sure.
The skills I will need is to be able to understand all of these processes and materials, chemically and abstractly. Which I do, after photographing on film for 5 years I have a good grasp of medium format film and the properties it is made up of, I have experimenting with many many different techniques and shoots to find the limits and the use of film through many different avenues. I always develop my film using D-76 and ID-11 and had print it. I love the whole process of turing those moments captured on negative into positives, it will always fascinate me and the people its made for.
The skills I need to develop is interacting with people and being able to allow people to be comfortable in front of the camera. I like to talk a lot when photographing and take images in certain moments, without the subject focusing on me too much running round getting the angles I want, this allows for candid emotion and poses to be captured . I also feel that what really ties the aura of portraits to the quality of the print and the aesthetic is the connection of the subject and the photographer, it can be seen strait away how open the subject is for example.
I feel after looking at a lot of magnum contacts and ways people shoot, I feel it is good to have a lot of film on you and shoot more than you need, which is why the module is asking for 10 rolls and just 10 images in the edit. Its best to fire 3 or 4 or more shots of the same moment or image, with a slightly different angle or exposure just to make sure you don't miss anything. I am getting better at shooting fast through my social documentary work with the local hip-hop artists in Cheltenham. This also helps with confronting people and having to assert myself to get the shots I need.
I will also be photographing Louis inside his paint studio, where I will encounter a lot of trip hazards and not much space to move around in. I feel limitations allow for creativity to really take over is certain situations.