Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Darkroom Binge - Xmas '07 - Part 1 of 5

A foreword of sorts - all these prints, done 14x18" image on 16x20" paper.
I use RC paper, cause it's a whole lot easier to deal with in my confined 'guerilla' style darkroom, in a simple studio apt., and it's a whole lot easier to do a test, dry it out in a few minutes and tape it to the easel in register, to aid in positioning whatever else blends into it.
(RC is only 'non-archival' if it's run through some kind of mechanical processor, and you leave it at that - If you give it a sodium sulfite/'perma-wash' treatment?, it'll last as long as anything 'fiber' based.)

For additional darkroom techniques not obviously described here, please check my 'darkroom methods/techniques' pages:

Decay Cab

I found this disintegrating old truck at a place called the Wall St. Mill, in Joshua Tree Nat'l Park. The name it was given was wishful thinking, & turned out to not be true - no one got 'Wall Street rich' here. The strong side-lighting was immediately attractive to me, and the way the bush behind the truck is spreading outwards & upwards makes it look like it's 'giving itself up' to the sky.
(You feel really alone at this place - it is very, very quiet, and you can almost feel ghosts, what with all the Mill ruins, abandoned cars and mining equipment. Every time I heard the faintest rustle of the wind in the trees, I expected to turn around and see some old-timer who'd gotten 'lost in time' step from behind a rock, and challenge me for being there. If not that, maybe a hungry coyote or mountain lion.)

I'd wondered what to do with that feeling, wanted to find a way to amplify it, for quite a while (I took the frame in 2003). It seemed like as good a starting point as any for what turned out to be a 4 day printing binge.
I used the 'filter tray' attached to the enlarger below the lens to support a 'dodge' card horizontally, just below the truck, and then used a black card with a circular hole in the middle to expose the truck while blending out the bush equally from the center - the exposure was a semi circle, sorta like a 'D' rotated 90 degrees CCW.

No matter how many skies I take, it always seems to be hard to find one that is *perfect* for any particular montage - the one I found to burn in at the top & sides was about as close as I thought I had, but I'm still not completely happy with it - it could be even more dramatically 'exploding' from the center.
The bottom, a bunch of stones also in Joshua Tree similarly side-lit, was dodged in to fill the empty horizontal space beneath the truck. I just couldn't decide on anything other than this at the time, so I went with it.
Even though it doesn't add quite the 'zing' I would like it to add to the larger image, the way the bottom of the truck blends into the rocks still ends up being interesting - one thing I always look forward to?.. is seeing things come together in ways I don't expect or plan. :-)
I never rule out going back and reprinting an image a different way - If I were to do this one again? I think I'd look for some sand or rocks to put at the bottom, that had patterns emanating from a central point, like the sky, so that everything except the truck cab seems to be expanding outwards, exploding into the cosmos.(It is 'decaying', after all, isn't it?)

The final print in a larger size than here: http://www.bobbennettphoto.net/Beachblog_DkRmXmas/


david santos said...

Hi California!
Have a lovely, happy, healthy and successful 2008!

Mike said...

I love the old truck. I have a old 63 Chevy. Some vehicles we develop such a affection and they become part of our history. You would enjoy the skys in Texas.
I enjoyed hearing your background on all the developmental aspects of this one.