Latitude a journal of analogue photography by the Melbourne Silver Mine Inc.
Latitude a journal of analogue photography Issue 01/2014 Cover Photograph The Vanishing Iain MACLACHLAN Editor & Design Richard MCKENZIE Contributors Daniel BUCKNELL, Roberts BIRZE, Mel DIXON, Barbara FISCHER, Malcolm GAMBLE, David HELMORE, Matthew ROBERT JOSEPH, Aliki KOMPS, Leigh LAMBERT, Lee LIRA, Iain MACLACHLAN, Sarah MADDOX, Richard MCKENZIE, Yaron MERON, Marc MOREL, Deanne SMITH, Cameron STEPHEN, Simon STEPHENSON, Lea WILLIAMS, Chris ZISSIADIS All content in this publication is ÂŠ 2014 Melbourne Silver Mine Inc. and participating artists and may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the MSM Inc., save for fair dealing for the purposes of research, study, criticism, review or news reportage. All Rights Reserved.
Latitude is a publication of the Melbourne Silver Mine Inc, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation and promotion of traditional photographic techniques. silvermine.org.au email@example.com
PO Box 1185 Camberwell VIC 3124
REG NO: A0051498L
Photographing Melbourneâ€™s urban sprawl
Our annual exhibition of analogue photography
MSM Inc. at White Night 2014
Adventures with 70mm aerial film
Night of Shoot a Miner by Marc Morel Wista 45DXIII, Nikon 65mm f/4, Kodak TXP320
by Richard McKenzie
t is said that pictures speak louder than words. That must be why picture books are so much shorter than literary novels. That said, I can’t imagine Crime and Punishment or Nineteen EightyFour as picture books. I doubt pictures alone could convey everything Dostoyevsky or Orwell had written in words. That is why this publication is one of words and images. Sure, the words aren’t always fancy - we’re photographers first and wordsmiths second - but those that are written are here to support the photography, not justify it. Words and photography have always been inextricably bound. From simple titles and captions of images to extensive discourses on the whys and wherefores of photography, both practitioners and laypeople alike are drawn to photography through words. Yet no matter how good the words are, no matter how eloquent or pithy, they can rarely do the photograph or the artform justice. Today, there seems to be a tendency to devote too many words to too few photographs. We here in the inaugural edition of Latitude hope to avoid that. This is the first of what I hope will be a semi-regular publication, focusing on the collective photographic output of the Melbourne Silver Mine Inc. With around 100 members, we are an active group
of passionate analogue photographers dedicated to promoting film photography. The Melbourne Silver Mine started out as a small group of friends chatting about the virtues of older cameras, the qualities of different film stocks and the peculiar aroma of developing chemicals. The group grew quickly, and it soon became apparent that interest and enthusiasm for traditional photographic techniques was wider spread through the photography community than anticipated. We all continue to shoot film for various reasons. For some, it’s an aesthetic choice for those after a “retro” or different look. For others, it’s a medium of unrivalled detail and clarity. Some dabble in the dark arts of the darkroom, others stick to scanning and digital printing To borrow a trite phrase, we are united in our diversity. Like a municipal lawn bowls club, all are welcome at the Melbourne Silver Mine, regardless of photographic knowledge, experience or equipment. That said, do not walk on the green and please ensure you make every effort to ROLL the bowl and not bounce it. Yours emulsionally,
Richard McKenzie Editor, Latitude President, Melbourne Silver Mine Inc.
MSM Inc. at White Night Melbourne 2014
White Night Melbourne 2014 Image by Chris Zissiadis Holga 120WPC, Fujifilm Neopan 400 From 7pm to 7am on the evening of February 22nd, White Night Melbourne transformed the CBD into a single massive cultural precinct. White Night Melbourne commissioned the Melbourne Silver Mine to capture the evening on film using a variety of formats and cameras. This commission was simply titled Exposure.
Braving massive crowds and, by 7am, physical exhaustion, Silver Miners captured the eveningâ€™s proceedings using everything from pinhole to panoramic cameras. A small Silver Mine photographic exhibition in the driveway of the Westin Hotel offered some respite from the crowds as well as a whole new audience for the Melbourne Silver Mine
Molecular State Library Image by Malcolm Gamble 2 hour exposure Zero Image 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Kodak Portra 160
Acoustic Synchrotron Image by Malcolm Gamble 1 hour exposure Zero Image 4x5 Pinhole Camera, Kodak Portra 160
White Night Festival 2014 Image by Lee Lira F.A.C. MKII, Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400 Developed in Tetenal C-41
White Night 2014 Image by Barbara Fischer Nikon FE, Agfa Vista 400
Ghouls Image by Leigh Lambert Sigma SA-300, Kodak Ektar 100
La Trobe Street Image by Richard McKenzie Leica M4, Ilford Delta 3200
Exposure - White Night Image by Simon Stephenson Canon Elan IIe, Kodak Tri-X 400
Untitled Image by Daniel Bucknell Fomapan 100 Developed in 1+100 LC29 for 1hr with agitation half way
Flinders St Station - Early Morning 0300 Hrs Image by Cameron Stephen Polaroid SLR 680, Impossible Project PX 680 Color Protection Film
Exposure exhibition at the Westin Hotel
1. Leigh Lambert 2. Mel Dixon 3. Barbara Fischer 4. David Helmore 5. Cameron Stephen 6. Sarah Maddox 7. Yaron Meron 8. Lea Williams 9. Roberts Birze 10. Aliki Komps 11. Chris Zissiadis
Exposure at the Westin Hotel Image by Richard McKenzie Leica M4, Ilford HP5
Fringe Benefits Photographing Melbourne’s urban sprawl Words by Chris Zissiadis
uring the 1970s, I was young. Unsatisfied with youth alone, I was also smaller than my present dimensions suggest. When one is small, regardless of age, distances seem more vast and common things seem more big. Everyday things: wardrobes, most objects manufactured by Fisher & Paykel, the packaging they are shipped in…just massive. My uncles Thanassi and Dimitri and a not-yet-abandoned love of team sports taught me much about size, relativity and how we in Melbourne desire to grow our city. The connection between these things may not be obvious, so let these words illustrate life. Thanassi and his family moved from Richmond to some place called Burwood in 1969. Today, we all know Burwood as a centre of wealth, culture and sophistication - but this was not so in 1969. Around that time, Burwood was little more than a pastoral area with the occasional red brick dwelling where a tree once stood. The journey from Richmond to Burwood, or ‘The Bush’, as we called it, seemed endless. In fact, it seemed as far as the furthest place on Earth, which at the time was Maroondah Dam. Alas, my parents had a blood bond with Thanassi, so journeys to ‘The Bush’ regularly eventuated, accompanied by much contorting of my small, young face and vomit-laced chants of “no, no, no”. There was one dangling carrot of inducement, however, my parents quickly learnt to leverage: soccer. For once we arrived at Thanassi’s Burwoodean ranch, just metres from his front door lay tracks of flat, grassy, council maintained land on which we could spend hours running about kicking balls in an organised, competitive, team-based activity. Thanassi’s son Frank was, I was certain, only better at sporting than I due to the unfair advantage proximity to this sport-friendly land gave him. Continued page 22
Untitled Image by Chris Zissiadis Hasselblad 500C, Kodak Ektar 100
New Territories Image by Matthew Robert Joseph Mamiya 7, Kodak Portra 160
The Vanishing Image by Iain MacLachlan Arax 60, Kodak Portra 400
Inspired Local Living Image by Richard McKenzie Leica M4, Rossmann 200 From page 18
When Dimitri migrated, he moved somewhere called Clayton. If Burwood was far, Clayton was just ridiculous. Nobody knew where it was. Relations just assumed you meant Carlton and had some kind of speech impediment, which is exactly what I thought when I first heard my father say the place. Clayton had so much space surrounding dwellings that not only could we play team-based competitive sports, but we could actually trace out the necessary lines and markings and leave them there until next needed. But this gradually changed. Over time, the size of our bespoke sports fields shrunk, first by the widening of roads, then the building of new roads, then bus stops, schools, 22
more homes, milk bars etc. We managed as best we could, eventually resorting to modifying the rules of the game to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of the sporting ‘field’. Then one day, around five years after we first surveyed these distant suburbs, we arrived to discover that our sports ground had been condensed to their inner city equivalent: wickets and goalposts indifferently painted on a brick wall. As the years passed, this five year cycle repeated itself, each one further removed from the gravitational pull of the Melbourne CBD. We knew each time we walked onto a makeshift football pitch, it wouldn’t last. We knew we were just part of a process - members of a landing party, scouting out the frontiers for future residents and builders of the
Untitled Image by Barbara Fischer Olympus Trip 3 structures of modernity required to live and prosper. The Melburnian blind zeal for urban sprawl suggests a deep-set suspicion of floating land. You’d take a quarter acre of farmland and wait the five years for it to become a suburb rather than accept that same space two floors up in a block of flats. The stigma of strata titles is effervescent. The same five year plan applies today, the difference being that now minimum infrastructure comes first. The roads (usually named after razed natural features), schools, and future ‘sustainable world-class’ man-made lakes all scar the landscape before house plots are staked out and sold off. You buy your chunk of land, tell your friends how to get
there (knowing they probably won’t) and eventually a sympathetic city-dwelling friend says “but hey, it’s land, and land is a great investment!” And that’s true. And as long as it is, the five year Uncle Thanassi cycle will apply to people young, old, small and large until we simply run out of chunks of dirt and paling fences. It’s fascinating to watch, getting to a place where you can stand in a shopping centre carpark and hear the road building crews around the corner; where the paint on the roads is so wet that Google Maps shows your location as a dot in a sea of pristine green. This is the fringe, the bleeding edge of our sprawling need to stake our claim, on dirt 23
NO ROAD Image by Matthew Robert Joseph Mamiya 7, Kodak Portra 160
Five Ways Image by Deanne Smith Holga 120 CFN, Kodak Ektar 100
A New Cutting Image by Iain MacLachlan Pentax 67, Kodak Ektar 100
Untitled Image by Chris Zissiadis Hasselblad 500C, Kodak Ektar 100
Melton Weir Image Deanne Smith Kodak S100 EF, Shooter Fun 35mm film
Untitled Image by Barbara Fischer Olympus Trip 3
Adventures with 70mm aerial film by Marc Morel
everal years ago a pal, working at what used to be the Department of Sustainability & the Environment, was busy with one of their quinquennial office tidy-ups when he stumbled upon a cache of unexposed 70mm aerial film. Specifically, several boxes containing 100-150 feet rolls of double-perforated Kodak Portra and Plus-X aerographic film. This sort of film was regularly used for high-quality aerial mapping photography back in the day. The negatives were large and yielded good results, while 150 feet rolls allowed the photographer to photograph, rather than fiddling around with constant roll changes mid-air. Additionally, the ‘aerographic’ formulations of these films catered better to the atmospheric conditions, with different materials for the emulsion to sit on and different spectral responses to ‘see through’ haze and so forth. With aerial mapping now confined to the digital realm, rather than throw the film away, my pal gave me the whole cache. Hooray! But now what? With every new film type comes a completely new set of workflow issues – how do you get 70mm film into a camera, how do you process it, and how do you print and scan it? It turns out the answers to these questions range from simple to expensive, and many eager photographers have been down this road, only to be stymied by the singular non-availability of some critical bit. Continued page 32
Image by Marc Morel Kodak Plus-X Aerographic Film 2402 Swiss people doing what they do in Heidelberg. Look at that impressive rebate! You can, however, see a lot of unevenness from the whole ‘stand developing’ thing. I really don’t understand the appeal…
Step 2: Exposing the film The simple bit – Plus-X should behave like Plus-X, n’est ce pas? I just roamed around torturing family and scenery as I normally do, with my standard orange filter fitted for everything (and thus exposing at box speed less 1 stop).
Step 1: Getting the film into a camera Several items were required here. I managed to find an old Mamiya 70mm film back with a ‘graflok’ mount. This was a win, because it meant I could attach that to an existing Miniature Graflex Crown Graphic (a 6x9cm press camera from the 1950s, for which I had a nice wide-to-telephoto set of lenses). By far the most obscure thing to find was a 70mm bulk loader (pictured below). Back in the day, stingy photographers (like stingy smokers) would ‘roll their own’ canisters of film from much larger rolls (saving pennies by buying in bulk). While 35mm bulk loaders are plentiful, 70mm ones are as rare as hen’s teeth…still, I found one. With this I was able to wind the film onto a few 70mm canisters I found. These are still quite large – and you end up with around 50 shots per roll - 50 6x7 frames! For someone used to 120 rolls, it seems like the camera just goes on forever.
Step 3: Processing the film Here’s where the fun begins. Finding a reel – 70mm film is a bit wider than 120 film, so you can’t just use the spirals you already have. Finding a tank – the spiral I eventually did find (pictured below) fitted in no extant tank, so I had to find a massive old tank, one quite wasteful with chemistry. Winding film onto the spirals – oh no, they don’t quite take the entire roll, so in darkness, I had to cut the film in half and hope that the frame I’ve randomly cut through wasn’t that prize-winning snap that would get me on the cover of Time. Stand developing – there was no way I could use roller processing or inversion processing on this massive tank, so I had no choice but to stand develop, something I was cynical about and had no experience in. It worked, but without the snappy contrast I usually get, reducing my enthusiasm for, well, life and everything, really.
Step 4: Processing & Scanning Well, fortunately most of my frames were ‘extremely boring’, so any processing unevenness was ameliorated somewhat. But now I was faced with the challenge of how to print and scan. Yay for the darkroom – the negs easily fit in a 6x9cm neg carrier, albeit cropped, or a 5x4” carrier with some judicious masking. The scanner was the bigger issue – and I had to make a custom neg holder out of foam core. I have 32
Anti-clockwise from left: Kodak Plus-X Aerographic Film with 35mm Kodak Tri-X box for scale; Watson 70mm Bulk Film Loader; 70mm developing spiral; Mamiya 70mm film back with 70mm canisters; and single 70mm canister with 35mm Kodak Tri-X box for scale.
mixed feelings about the success of this – height is an issue for good focus. Also, custom made neg holders don’t have the targeting bits and bobs that OEM holders do – which meant the scanner software went a bit bananas. Eventually, I got a result (as you see on these pages).
similarly pleasing results. 150 feet of film seems to last FOREVER...help!
The Future…? An enterprising photographer in Adelaide has tricked up (using 3D CAD software) a 3D-printable insert, that will make a Jobo 2502 reel wide enough for 70mm film – this would be fantastic, because then Step 5: Post Hoc Justification What’s the point of all this? Adventures, peo- Step 3 (above) would simply become part of my reguple!! Also, there are some advantages to having such lar workflow for all other film stocks I use, rather than large rolls of essentially medium format film – having a bizarre, chemistry-guzzling thing. a roll with 50 frames on it is just wild and the negatives are quite sharp and very suitable for printing. I haven’t Who says analogue photographers don’t embrace techtried the colour stuff yet, but I have no doubt it’ll yield nology? I want names…
Image by Marc Morel Kodak Plus-X Aerographic Film 2402 Hipster pals on a film shoot
Image by Marc Morel Kodak Plus-X Aerographic Film 2402 A white swan at Melbourne Zoo – the suspicious ‘pictorialism’ of this snap can be attributed partly to the crude scanning holder, and partly to the characteristics of aerographic film.
UNSENSORED14 AN EXHIBITION OF ANALOGUE PHOTOGRAPHY
he Melbourne Silver Mine’s annual exhibition of analogue photography returned to the Collingwood Gallery for its eighth edition. Featuring the works of over 40 photographers, UNSENSORED has grown to be the key event on the Silver Mine’s calendar. The wide variety of images submitted this year relfects the diversity of photographic styles, techniques and philosophies within the group, from toy cameras to view cameras; portraits to vernacular photography. Humble Beginnings In November 2007, the Mine staged its first exhibition, the cunningly named UNSENSORED07. Many people puzzled over the name, and politely pulled us to one side and told us we had made a spelling error. With some satisfaction we informed them that unlike digital cameras, film cameras do not sport a ‘sensor’ and so… well you get the idea. The exhibition, featuring twelve of the founding Silver Miners, was a great success, taking many by surprise. 300 people joined us for the opening night festivities and it was a night that many will never forget, and that some will never remember. The annual UNSENSORED exhibition was born. The following year, UNSENSORED08 opened at Collingwood Gallery. This larger venue was required to accommodate 45 works by 30 photographers. UNSENSORED has returned to the Collingwood Gallery ever since, with an everincreasing number of participants and visitors.
For many of the participants, UNSENSORED is their first entry into a photographic exhibition, and we at the Silver Mine are enormously proud to be able to help budding photographers take their art to another level. Edition 2014 It is in this spirit that UNSENSORED14 included, for the first time, a hands-on Open Day intended to present the Silver Mine (and, of course, analogue photography) to the wider world...or to greater Melbourne anyway. As one of the Silver Mine’s key objectives is the promotion of analogue photography and techniques in the wider photographic community, this was a great way to open up the sometimes cliquey and esoteric world of photography to all-comers. We hope to see many of them at UNSENSORED15
Untitled 2 Image by Barbara Fischer Nikon FE
Belly #2 Image by Sarah Maddox Nikon F3, Ilford HP5
Melbourne Silver Mine Inc. Dedicated to promoting the art of traditional photographic techniques. silvermine.org.au firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Sep 11, 2014