I started to look back through all of my work to pick out the negatives that document the nights and days with various hip hop artists and graffiti artists who I very quickly became friends with, hanging out and meeting up to discuss possible photoshoots and next gig dates etc. I have almost three years of work on them so far and most of the work is unpublished and has not been looked at with a fine concentration as of now.
I created a folder with over 40 rolls of negatives, ranging from black and white, colour negative and colour positive, medium format and 35mm. I had to buy clear acetate sleeves for the negs so that my next step would be a lot easier, it took me about an hour to sleeve them all. (glad I wont have to do that again). So my next step was to contact print all of the negatives with I have got so far, this would be made easy with the clear sleeves so that I can just put them on the paper in the darkroom and lay glass over the top. I used 9 1/2 " x 12" paper Resin coated Ilford paper which is a perfect size in my opinion for contact sheets and is easy to work with yet produces fine quality results. All types of medium format and 35mm would fit perfectly on the page.
So I found a really nice rig made for contact sheets, it was a wooden frame with glass as the top half on a hinge. I think the frame could hold 12"x16" paper which is the size paper I will be using for some prints, but saying that I will actually be using an easel to frame my prints. I managed to create all of my contact sheets from every roll of film in two days! Because my preparation was tip top then I was able to fire them all out when I got into a flow.
I have been darkroom printing for a few years now and I love to get in there when I can, to keep things fresh in my head in terms of what works visually on a page for example, its amazing how you can forget things. As soon as I did my first test print using a cut off piece of paper, I immediately got into a flow and concentrated on getting them right. I stared with the first roll I ever shot on the hip hop scene, which was under the Honeybourne-line, I got a really good feel of the exposure times and just created for two whole days without taking my mind off of it.
These contact sheets would be the pages in the book, probably on the left. These contact sheets show the whole journey that not only the photographer has taken in terms of documenting and getting close to these rappers and artists but the actual progression of a part of the UK hip hip culture within Cheltenham.