A World in Isolation Project

Earlier this year, I learned about a project where two people each shoot one roll of film. It was all put together by some very clever person or people at aworldinisolation.com. The person I got connected with agreed that each of us would shoot a roll and send to the other. He shot black and white and sent to me, I shot colour and sent to him.

Because he’s in the US, it took a while for it to get through the postal system, but it finally arrived, and I shot a roll over his pictures.

And I screwed up a bit. I thought I was shooting in aperture priority for most of this roll. Turns out my aperture was basically closed, as I had not moved it over into the lock position. So a bunch of the pics from the roll of 26 were not double exposed. I feel awful about that. I also have a pit in my stomach thinking about the last two rolls I shot, wondering if they were also not exposed. But I’ll face that disappointment when it comes.

For now, here are the shots that did get exposed by both of us. I think there are some absolutely lovely shots in here. Enjoy.

Spring Shots | Canon A1 | Ektar 100

Around the middle of March I tried to find a good place to shoot the new Champlain bridge on the island side, but wasn’t able to find a spot. So I ended up walking around near the base of the bridge and took some shots there.

I really appreciate the incredibly full colour that one gets with Ektar 100. It’s a little bit expensive, but as you can see from these shots, it’s worthwhile.

A Hard Lesson in Patience | Park Life

Yesterday I spent the day in Parc Laurier. Hung out with a friend, got some nice shots of him. I got what I assumed were going to be great shots of some fellas playing petanque. Got a little of that park life.

And then I fucked up when I developed the film.

Putting 120 film on a developing reel inside of a darkroom bag while you can’t see what’s happening is easily the thing that tries my patience the most in my life. Getting it started can take anywhere from 7 seconds to 45 minutes. I can do it outside of the bag in seconds. When it’s inside the bag and I can’t see what’s happening, it’s a whole other story.

I did manage to get it start quite easily this morning, but it did not feel quite right. I thought, ah screw it, it’s good and just got it all wound up and in the tank.

And that was a mistake.

Only two pictures came out of that roll. The rest must have been crammed together somehow, and there was only a top part of an image for each of them. What I’m left with are these two unremarkable pictures that tell the story of how great the others would have looked. I used HC-110 dillution B for six minutes, agitating the TriX 400 roll only once a minute. I see the possibilities here, so I’ll wait for another cloudy day and hope I can capture some equally interesting moments.

Mile End Fire + Ultramar | Canon A-1 | Kodax Ultramax 400

This is the first roll I shot on my Canon A-1 and I’ve just now gotten around to developing it. I’m disappointed by the fire truck and EMT shots. I should have squeezed the aperture down lower, but I was afraid I’d miss the reds and yellows in the trucks.

They’re not fantastic shots, but a lot to be learned from them. I do like the Ultramar shots and the billboard. That Ultramax 400 seems to be a good choice for nighttime shots of high-contrast subjects.

Tiny Dancers | Mamiya M645 1000s | Kodak Ektar 100

It still amazes me that I’m able to have a photographic idea, set it up, put it into action, and then see that idea come to fruition all in the space of a few short hours. Being able to develop at home gives me that means to find out whether I’m right or wrong almost immediately.

That means that I can then take what I’ve learned from the first session and apply it to the next.

For this one, the concept was simple, the execution inelegant—but in the end, more effective than I’d hoped.

I keep seeing these photo background boxes pop up in eBay. The ones that people who photograph products might use as backgrounds, generally with a white or black inside. The idea was that I’d build one of these boxes, and photograph this small statue that I’ve been wanting to take pictures of for a while.

I’d intended to shoot it in black and white to try to force the contrast between the two ‘dancers,’ but I have been wanting to shoot some color in medium format for a while, and when my “solution” presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity.

All I had on hand was either large or small boxes, and some sheets of construction paper the would fit in neither one very well. Not necessarily out of frustration, but rather desperation, I stuffed a sheet into the small box, and then a couple of others to fill in all the corners, and came up with the backdrop you see here.

Instead of searching for perfect lines, I quite liked the way the background was imperfect—to me it looked like shooting dancers in front of some intentionally skewed lines in an art gallery or a city hall.

I set up the box on my kitchen counter, aimed one of my studio lights at it (from a couple of different angles), got my camera as close as I could, and played around with placement.

I measured the light but misinterpreted the measurements on the first few shots. I also added a little fat Buddha for another look, but the main intention was to get the dancers to look as interesting as possible.

There’s an interesting point between overexposed and underexposed where it seems to give the game away. It gets a little too real. The best shots, in my opinion, were slightly underexposed and brought out more of the background colour and less of the background definition. They’re all a bit interesting in their own way.

Judge for yourself below.