With practically all photography digital today it was refreshing and a bit disconcerting to get an assignment that called for large format film photography. It was a museum mural project and the client wanted the greater detail possible with 4×5 film. It had been many years since I lugged around my Toyo 4×5 field camera and all associated gear necessary for its operation; light meters, filters, heavy duty tripods, cable releases, focusing cloth, loupe, multiple lenses, film holders and of course film. A critical issue was locating film that wasn’t too outdated and current film processing labs. I ended up running exposure tests with film that had been home refrigerated for almost a decade after failing to find reliable film. The colors were not accurate but close enough to correct with high-end scanning and editing. I spent a weekend refamiliarizing myself with large format technique and film tests. I was finally ready for the shoot. I had forgotten how exciting it was to finally see the results of my work after waiting days for the film processing (I was a bit of a wimp and never processed my own film like some photographers). Was it worth it? Yes and no. The final product was spectacular. I had forgotten the detail possible when printed at 10ft. x 10ft. It made me nostalgic for the way it used to be done. Unfortunately, the turnaround time in these days of instant gratification and hard to justify expense will not take me back to those days unless a patron of photography knocks on my door.
Old School Photography