Tuesday, 25 November 2008

SHYLOCK


I have chosen this image for my current profile as it does rather seem to fit in with the economic situation.

Somewhere I believe that I said that I have been interested in photography for quite a while, or at least implied as much. Well this image was taken in 1951/2 for a school production of some Shakespeare play! An older boy had also taken some pictures, but would not be friends because mine got chosen for local publication. Well I had taken the trouble to take to school, by train and bus journey, not just the Kodak folding Brownie, but also a pair of collapsible tripods fitted with large reflectors, about 32cm diameter in todays metric system. One of these reflectors was powered by a No1PF photoflood light bulb, quite bright and hot, the other held a No2PF flood light, much brighter ,very much hotter but worse still it had a very short life, only about 2hours max. Very hard on ones pocket money! How much pocket money? The equivalent of Twelve and a half pence. That would be one eigth of a pound, and a good wage would range from about Ten pounds a week aiming to reach Twenty pounds a week IF one passed all ones exams, or so we were told.

Anyway, as you might observe, the bright light was placed quite low down and to one side to throw upward shadows, the lower powered light was placed a face level and far enough away to only just give some detail in the darkest regions.

Now memory fails me a bit, and no, I did not keep notes, but I still have the original negative which has been scannened in for this Blog. I can not quite remember the developer used, but looking at the grain structure of the image on the high resolution scan, I am sure it was neither of the then aproved 'fine grain' developers ID11, or D76.( Both the same formula,but one was Ilford and the other was Kodak). So it might well have been one called Azol which was quite fierce in action and might have been chosen to exagerate the contrast of a rather 'slow' or insesitive film.
As luck would have it the film name does NOT appear on this frame, so I will have to find the other negatives to confirm whether the film type was 'Selochrome' or 'FP2'. I can tell you that the camera was hand held, one, because I did not then own a tripod, and two, I needed to bob about a bit in order to get the framing I liked. Time exposure would have been out of the question because of the effect of camera shake, hence the effort with bright lights, but the highest shutter speed would have been either 1/50th or 1/100th of a second on such an inexpensive camera, and the lens would not have been very 'fast', so a guess of 1/50th second, with held breath for steady holding seems about correct.

For anyone with an interest in the 'OLD' ways of photography, there will be more to come in future months, including information regarding my first dark-room and home made enlarger, films, formulae and photo sessions, in fact anything that comes to mind or I am asked about.