Analogue FILM ALTERNATIVE HYBRID DARKROOM
Contents Cyanotype Charles Binns guides us through this rewarding but simple alternative process and explains how he made an ultra violet exposure unit Salt Prints Roger Harrison was inspired by a process invented by the great pioneer of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot The Print Space We visit a gallery and darkroom in one of England’s historic market towns Canon P A close look at a ‘Populaire’ 35mm rangefinder produced by Canon in the 1950s Some thoughts on analogue photography Richard Williams reflects on the passion which unites us without coming to any serious conclusion Collecting old camera brochures Is there a good reason to do it? Charles Binns thinks there is
4 8 12 14 16 17
Analogue is the journal of the Analogue Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and is free to members. Committee Chair: Currently vacant Secretary: Richard Williams LRPS Treasurer: Kay Reeve ARPS Journal Editor: Charles Binns Journal Designer: Owen Andrew Web Content Manager: Fern Nuttal ARPS
Book Reviews The Darkroom edited by Eleanor Lewis Better in Black and White by Harry Fearn ARPS
18 Front cover: St Chad’s Church, Wheelton, MPP MkVI, 90mm Super Angulon lens, red filter, Agfapan 25 film, Cyanotype print. Photo: C. Binns
Editorial Welcome to this edition of the Analogue Journal We have a new editorial team on board as Richard Bradford and Simon Miles have passed over the baton. There is a saying in mountaineering that each generation of climbers achieves what it does by standing on the shoulders of the previous generation - and so it is with many things, including this journal. Many thanks to Richard and Simon for establishing the journal and their offers of ongoing support – they have left us with a tough act to follow, we can but try. To move the journal on to its next phase of development we have put in place a few changes. Vertical rather than horizontal format, regular features and hard copy posting to each member as well as an online version being the most obvious. Much discussion was had on this last point given the cost and environmental issues but we are a traditional bunch in the analogue world and it was felt on balance appropriate to improve the profile of the group with a tangible hard copy journal. It has to date been difficult to publish on as regular a basis as we all wanted to due to a lack of articles offered from members. To address this we have designed a revised format that breaks down the content into regular slots that are easy to respond to; a camera story, a
members darkroom and a gallery section being regular features that we are looking forward to members feeling easily able to write about. We would also like fuller articles as well if you have one in mind, and I will be embarking on some focussed recruitment as well. To prime the pump so to speak, we are initially taking input from our own committee – but please, it is you we want to hear from. Lastly we have themed our editions going forward starting here with Cyanotypes. Future themes will include Large Format, Panoramics, Transparency film, Enlarger Review, Pin Hole Photography, Lith Printing with others to follow. This does not preclude articles that do not fit the above formats as there will be room within our schematic for more general content and I will be more than pleased to accept any article on any subject put forward from our members. Feedback is always welcome and I look forward to your comments on our new look journal and any refinements you think we should make – please contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thats it – got to go, the January issue is already starting to come together and lots to do. Charles Binns Editor Analogue Journal
All rights reserved on the part of contributors and authors. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopied or recorded without the written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for such permission must be addressed to the Editor. The RPS, the Analogue Special Interest Group and the Editor accept no liability for misuse or breach of contract by a contributor. The views expressed in this journal do not necessarily reflect the policies of the RPS or of the Analogue SIG.
The Cyanotype Process and how I got started Charles Binns Cyanotypes are the easiest of the alternative photography print types to produce successfully and a good ‘primer’ for more advanced processes such as salt prints, platinum prints and others. Having read the excellent writings of Dr. Mike Ware on the internet – https://www.mikeware.co.uk/mikeware/New_Cyanotype Process.html
I took it as my call to arms and instruction set to proceed. The next step was gathering the equipment and materials to proceed.
EQUIPMENT Contact Printing Frame 10 x 12 I refurbished an old one from eBay but two sheets of glass held together with bulldog clips will get you started. Ultra Violet (UV) Light Source I used a Philips face tanning lamp. A UV bulb from any lamp standard can be used or even sunlight, but the tanning lamp solution gave consistency and reasonable speed. I built a box around mine for operational efficiency but not strictly required – just prop it up in front of the frame and leave the room as a working solution. Glass sheet for base for paper coating I used the glass from an old picture frame with the edges taped for safety. Glass or plastic coating rods Silverprint supplied mine but an online search will reveal other suppliers. A sponge or broad fine paint brush could also be used. Cheap plastic syringe – from local pharmacy Explain why you want it, it is the kind they use to give babies medicine – not the fine needle type used for medical injections. Tungsten light source Just a tungsten bulb in an old lamp holder to give a safe light whilst coating and processing. Spirit level For keeping the glass sheet level on the horizontal axis. Small wooden wedges The type used to level kitchen unit installations, again to level horizontally the glass sheet. Horizontal wooden block For providing a vertical slope. Note the last three items are only required for glass rod coating and are not required for the brush ‘puddle pushing’ approach to coating. Inkjet Printer A4 or A3 For printing digital negatives. MATERIALS Fotospeed Cyanotype Sensitiser A major cheat and time saver this, versus mixing chemicals – not cheap at £20 per bottle though, supplied by Fotospeed direct and other analogue materials suppliers. Canson Arches Platine paper Other papers work but this is the best start point as it is proven and usable for other processes. Art supply sites and Silverprint can supply this. • •
Great Art Supply Shop – 56cm by 72cm sheet Silverprint 25 sheets A4
Citric acid for clearing Cold tea for toning Digital negative film – Permajet 50 sheets.
The Process As can be judged from the above equipment and materials listing this is not an inexpensive process, but the results are very satisfying. Producing a fine image from self coated papers seems to reach back into the spirit of photography and the results feel worth the effort and expense. The production of a fine digital negative is a big subject in itself and has the potential for an article on its own. However as a starter I took well defined negatives or digital files with increased contrast – upped the contrast even more in Photoshop and printed the negative on that basis. This got me to first base and allowed me to produce a satisfactory batch of prints. Going forward I will explore adding a step wedge and producing a more sophisticated and repeatable digital negative. An article here: https://www.freestylephoto.biz/al ternative-process/making-digitalnegatives from Freestyle gives a good set of instructions for a more advanced approach Following Mike Ware’s instructions and the leaflet that came with the Fotospeed sensitiser, coating the paper was very straightforward and the single tungsten light worked well. I tried both the glass rod and the brush method of coating and both have their merits, but on balance I prefer the glass rod approach. I used my film drying cabinet to dry the coating two sheets at a time, which speeded up production and feedback loops no end. A tray of water followed by citric acid solution followed and I air dried the final prints. I did try toning in tea which gave
interesting results and I understand that a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide at the end gives more intense blue. Yet to try that one – more information including the intensification step can be found here: https://www.sciencecompany.co m/The-Cyanotype-Process.aspx. Mike Ware runs through his process here: https://www.ephotozine.com/arti cle/cyanotype-printing-with-drmike-ware-4707 And again here: https://www.mikeware.co.uk/do wnloads/CyanoWork.pdf Online resources are plentiful on this subject which is just as well as MikeWare’sbook: https://www.goodreads.com/boo k/show/1790931.Cyanotype now sells for over $140. It occurs to me that the Cyanotype process can be completed without a darkroom or an enlarger. A darkened room with the tungsten bulb is all that is needed to coat, dry and process the results. Well worth a try and a very enjoyable process. UV Light Box Construction With the availability of digital negative film the world of contact printing based alternative photography processes opens up to anyone with an inkjet printer, rather than requiring a large format camera giving a negative the same size as the desired end print. All film formats and digital capture can now be printed as alternative process images using a digital negative. But you knew all that anyway I suspect. I thought I would give it a try and share with you my progress to date. I picked up a very fine 10 x12 contact printing frame from the usual auction site and spent an enjoyable couple of days
1.The digital negative is trimmed to size.
2.A sheet of watercolour paper is coated with Fotospeed Cyanotype.
3.The negative is placed above the coated paper in the frame and the lid is closed to make a firm contact.
4.The printing frame containing the negative and coated paper is placed in the exposure unit.
5.The exposed image is developed by washing in water.
6.Construction of the exposure unit starts with the printing frame, the tanning lamp and assorted
cleaning and restoring it. Whilst it is a very fine example, hardwood construction, steel back springs and thick beveled glass, two sheets of picture frame glass clasped with bulldog clips will get you going. Having got my frame the next stage was a UV light source required for these processes. The sun is used by many photo artists but as I do not live in either the South of France or California – the sun not too reliable a source around here in the UK I had to find an alternative. As long ago as the early 1990’s the late Roger Hicks writing in ‘Darkroom Magazine’ advised the use of a Philips face tanning lamp set on an upturned paper basket opposite a propped up printing frame would do the job. Just leave the room while it exposes the light through the negative. This works no problem, but does not make for a comfortable or productive working environment.
I paid £25 for mine but I see some very silly prices on the usual site for these. If you see one in working order at a car boot etc. buy it, even if you are not going to use it now, as you never know when the alternative photography printing bug may bite. I deployed my ‘O’ Level woodwork skills to construct a holding case around the Philips face tanning lamp sized to take the 10 x 12 contact printing frame with a closure door to facilitate being in the same room whilst UV light printing. The wood was thin standard exterior ply left over from building a shed, supported by softwood battens. Piano hinges and magnetic catches finished the job. Not pretty but it works. Having got this basic UV printing set up sorted I decided to start with the Cyanotype process, generally recognised as the easiest of these processes and a good place to start.
7.The exposure unit nears completion with the tanning lamp in position.
8.The lamp is shown switched on with the lower hinged part raised.
Astwell Mill Pond, Zero 45 4x5 pinhole camera, Ilford Delta 400 film, Cyanotype.
T O SP HT LIG
Roger Harrison I was introduced to the salt printing process by Ken Keen FRPS on an RPS day at Gloucester Cathedral in 2019, although it wasn’t until lockdown that I started experimenting with salt prints myself.
Above: Wern Works – Abandoned aluminium works, Briton Ferry, South Wales where the wings of Concorde were reputedly made. Right: Transept, Ewenny Priory, Vale of Glamorgan – This is the right hand half of the JMW Turner painting ‘Ewenny Priory, Glamorganshire, painted around 1797.
Find out how you can receive a voucher worth ÂŁ25 from Analogue Wonderland on page 19
T O SP HT LIG
Roger Harrison The process was originally devised by William Henry Fox Talbot in the 1830s and consists of coating paper in a solution of salt water and then coating with a solution of silver nitrate. A negative is then placed in contact with the paper and exposed to UV light. It may then be toned, typically in gold, before ‘fixing’ in sodium thiosulphate (‘hypo’).
Above: Abandoned Boat, Old Harbour, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan. Left: Ghost ship in the Mist, Old Harbour, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.
The Print Space Visited by Charles Binns
Just off the corner of the Market Square in Ludlow is a courtyard with a small shop front entitled The Print Space I popped in and was surprised to find an exhibition of analogue prints by Harry Fearn (see the book review on page 18) and to my surprise a teaching darkroom in the cellar below the gallery space. Much of the darkroom equipment was donated by David Hearn who handed over the entire contents of his to the project. A few words from Peter Jones who set this whole thing up. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I started the Photo Space in 2016, a post-retirement indulgence. Exhibitions have included photographers like Paul Hill, Martin Parr, David Hurn, Maria Falconer, Boyd & Evans and Peter Cattrell . Very soon after opening I realised how important photography is to many people, a form of therapy, solace and a lifeline. So, I set up a charity to introduce
the joy of photography to people with difficulties in their lives, ranging between mental and physical health, bereavement, loneliness, dyslexia and loss of self-worth. With volunteers, we work with organisations such as MIND, the NHS, GPs and other charities to identify people who may benefit from what we do. We concentrate on the joy of photography, going beyond a snap into the realms of planning, preparation, composition and creativity. We have a few mottos: "SloPho" - slow photography "SloPhoMo" - slow photography movement "A camera is like a best pal dog, but without the poo" "Say what you feel without speaking a word" Many of us come from film days and, among the young, there is a growing interest in film and the
Above: A general view of the darkroom. Left: The shop frontage. Right: The enlarger which David Hurn donated to The Print Space.
darkroom - a desire "to be in control" and not to depend on algorithms. Therefore, we set up a darkroom in our basement with the help of generous donations of equipment and expertise from people such as David Hurn, Boyd & Evans and Tansy Spinks. The completed darkroom was opened to the public on 14 March 2020, two days before lockdown began! Since then we have had to seriously limit access. Our aims for tuition, workshops and general use are on hold until there is a reasonable solution to the challenges of pandemics. In the meantime, with full protection measures, we offer limited use of the darkroom for one person or a max of two at a time. Anyone interested can contact us on email@example.com. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; If you are in the area it is well worth a visit. Peter also has a good selection of second hand photography books that can be bought to support the efforts of his charity.
The Canon P
Described by Rewind Crank ‘Form follows function’ said the American architect Louis Sullivan, meaning that objects should be designed to reflect their purpose The uncluttered lines of the Canon P show the truth of Sullivan’s dictum. ‘P’ is said to stand for ‘Populaire’, though I wonder why it was not just called by that name. Anyway, it followed the V and preceded the 7 so that makes it VI, according to my arithmetic. Having perused the selection available on eBay, I chose one from a Japanese vendor which seemed to be in good condition and was reasonably priced at £109, body only, plus postage and import tax. At that price I knew I wasn’t taking a great risk but when I unpacked it I was surprised to find it almost completely unmarked, which I think is pretty good for a camera at least fifty-six years old. The stainless steel shutter curtain was slightly creased but this is very common and has no effect on the accuracy of the mechanism.
Next, I bought two L39 threaded lenses, again from Japanese sellers, a Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f1.8 and a Canon 50mm f1.8 as shown in the illustration. The camera would have originally had a black barrelled version but
this chrome one was good value and I liked the look of it. The Canon P is 142mm wide, 77mm high, 35mm deep and weighs 587g according to my scales and feels reassuringly solid. Loading film is straight forward thanks to a hinged door and there is a failsafe device in the base plate to prevent accidental opening. Shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/1000s plus B and T are controlled from a single non rotating dial on the top plate. Winding on is by a smooth lever and rewinding is by a lift up crank which fits into a recess in the top plate. The latter allows an unbroken line along the top plate which contributes much toward the cameraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s elegant lines but the crank is bit fiddly to use and it is no surprise that Canon reverted to a conventional drum type on the Canon 7. The controls are well designed, laid out and modern for a rangefinder of its time which no doubt contributed to its success. Around 88,000 were made though few seem to have come to the United Kingdom. The very bright viewfinder gives a 1:1 image and is parallax corrected for 35, 50 and 100mm lenses. All the frame lines appear simultaneously and not individually for the lens in use. This was to lower the purchase price so that it could be offered as a cheaper alternative to more expensive models in Canonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s range. Against some backgrounds, the co-incident rangefinder image can be hard to align but I have got used to it and can usually focus easily. The camera was sold without metering though a selenium clip on meter which coupled to the shutter speed dial was a popular accessory. You can find them on eBay but I prefer to use a hand held meter. Accessories I have bought are a black leather half case with with red stitching and a matching shoulder strap, both from Mr Zhou of China.
compete for market share with many similar enterprises, most of which have fallen by the wayside. It cut some costs to keep the price of the P down to enthusiast level but there was no compromise in quality of engineering, which paid off for Canon, and if you can find a well cared for example, it should give you many years of service.
Hambleden Wier near Henley on Thames shot with Svemacolor 125. Trees in a nearby country park were invaluable during Lockdown.
If you are looking for a well made, affordable rangefinder with L39 thread, making a large gamut of German, Russian and Japanese lenses usable, the Canon P could be for you. Of course, Canon is a great company and makes some of the best cameras you can buy but in the nineteen-fifties it was smaller and seeking to
Some thoughts on Analogue Photography “Comparer la photographie numérique à la photographie argentique, on ne peut pas comparer un hamburger chez McDonalds à un repas à La Tour d'Argent” was written alongside a series of prints at the Arles photography festival last year Roughly translated it says “Comparing digital photography to film photography is like comparing a hamburger at McDonalds to a meal at La Tour d'Argent”, and that’s how I feel about it too.
formulas or even small bottles of clear liquid. We look for books that are long out of print, and we treasure our one box of "lithable", but slowly emptying, paper, probably made by Kentmere or Agfa.
We analogue photographers work in the dark, well in the "dim" anyway, with only a red light for company. Our hands have a slight but permanent smell of something resembling onions, our clothes often have strange coloured stains. We make contact prints, we do test strips and a morning’s work is often just a series of apparently random paper squares and rectangles. We ponder over the choice of paper, we mix chemicals, we have a preferred developer and we “dodge” and “burn” to create highlights and shadows where they didn’t really exist. Our partners often have little interest in what delights us. And like members of a subversive secret society, we seem to have our own language and we get together in small groups to exchange ideas,
As our brothers and sisters in the digital world drool over the latest shiny and wonderfully expensive cameras and lenses in magazines, we fantasize that we could find that elusive black 1985 Leica M6 in a junkshop. We pass equipment to those who are more deserving, or just better photographers, and when one of us has to stop working we try to ensure that the years of knowledge accumulated do not simply disappear. We strive for perfection, not because we don't use Photoshop to cover up our mistakes, but because analogue photography is long and slow; and if at the end of the process the cat rubs against a wet print and leaves her hair on it - we start again. Richard Williams Hon Sec Analogue Group (and my cat is called “Tilly”)
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Photography shows before ʻonlineʼ took it all away. 1. Picture – array of brochures
Collecting old camera brochures Charles Binns
It is a strange thing to do. I kind of just ‘fell into it’ by accident. I used to acquire the brochures for cameras I could not afford, and thought I never would. Some I have managed to own over time, but most I have not. The brochures themselves, all for film cameras, are very finely printed and nice things to keep. Much to my surprise they also have nominal market value, varying from £5 right up to £30 each, in theory anyway though I am not sure who would now buy something that was once given away for free. I do know that some photographers like to have the original brochure of a classic camera that they own and any printed material from Leica also always has a value it seems. My total hoard is worth about £250 based on auction site prices, but they are not for sale as I still get pleasure from reading them. Strange what makes us happy, so think twice before throwing out your collection hoovered up from all those dealer visits and photography shows before ‘online’ took it all away.
Book Reviews Darkroom Lustrum Press: edited by Eleanor Lewis Available second hand and online only price around £20.00 This issue initiates a series of articles peeking into darkrooms. The idea came from both this book and early Black and White Photography magazines which did the same. The book takes us into the darkrooms of many famous photographers including Wynn Bullock, Ralph Gibson, W.Eugene Smith (and I thought my darkroom was chaotic!) and George Tice to name but a few. It gives a real and full insight into the working practices of these leading photographer/ darkroom practitioners. The complete disclosure aspect of the book, particularly the table summary of equipment and materials given at the end of each photographers chapter adds significantly to the books strength. It is a book that makes me review my darkroom and how I use it – but is also inspirational. Should it be on your shelf? Definitely ! Got to go now. Off to my darkroom to make some prints….
Better In Black and White Creative Monochrome Publication written by: Harry Fearn ARPS Available second hand online £26.00 This is a simple book describing what can be a complex subject – the Zone system. It is also a lot of money for a rather thin publication. However as I got into the book I found that it is nearer to an easily digestible photography course than a book to read per se. My experience with the Open University, which I found to be excellent, was due in part to the very fine printed workbooks, which made learning complex subjects easy and enjoyable and I had a similar experience with this book. I think this aspect of the book makes the price much more acceptable. The book does come with a warning: “This book explains the Ansel Adams ‘Zone System’ method of working, which may seriously improve your photography. Good photography can be addictive, leading to huge expenditure of time and money,” You have been warned.
RPS Analogue is your journal Have your work featured in Spotlight and win a prize Send us from six to twelve of your images, scanned or digitally copied and output as 72ppi Jpgs by email or on CD. If sending them on a CD, be sure to write your name and email address or phone number on the disk. If your work is chosen, you will be contacted in order to arrange for high resolution images to be sent to us. If your work is to be published, we would like a short caption for each image and a paragraph about yourself and your photography. Please be patient as your work may not be published in the next issue of RPS Analogue but might be held in reserve for a future issue. We will contact you before publishing your work. When your work is published, you will be awarded a free film voucher by our sponsor Analogue Wonderland. Your details will not be passed to any third party. Congratulations go to this edition’s contributor, Roger Harrison who recieves a film voucher worth £25.
Write an article for RPS Analogue If you have something inspiring to say to analogue photographers please send us a short synopsis of your article and some Jpg images by email. It could be about the benefits you have experienced from analogue photography, a technique you could share, an outing with camera and film or really anything of interest. Please do not send the full article in the first instance. If your idea is accepted, we will contact you to discuss it further.
Your favourite camera Do you have a favourite camera or one that is a bit out of the ordinary? If so, tell us all about it.
Darkrooms are important to analogue photographers but can also present problems. Do you have a permanent, fully equipped
darkroom or do you have makeshift set up in a cupboard or bathroom? Helpful ideas would be welcome.
Letters If you would like to express an opinion in this journal please send it by email. The usual conditions for letters to journals will apply, for example the editor will have the final say in what will be published. The email address for all contributions and correspondence is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you intend to send something by post, please contact us by email first.
Analogue photography - Who can play? When discussing the entry requirements for our aborted exhibition we reviewed what we would consider to be a legitimate analogue print for entry, and by inference the type of photography that qualifies as analogue within our group generally. We summarize as below. All images taken on film to produce the fol‐ lowing outputs: • Silver prints either trade or self processed • Digital prints either trade or self processed • Digital files from scans for PDI sharing • Slide Transparencies • Alternative print processes, including Wet Plate Images captured digitally to produce the fol‐ lowing outputs: • Silver prints either self or trade processed • Alternative print processes Non Analogue images: Images that are outside the scope of our group and not eligible for exhibitions or sub‐ mission in our published gallery are digitally captured images that are then digitally printed or used in PDI sharing. It does give the widest possible scope to the definition of the analogue process and as such is intended to be as inclusive as possible,
According to camerarescue.org based in Finland the number one searched for secondhand camera on their international website is the classic Leica M6. It is a definitive 35mm rangefinder camera and the benchmark by which others are judged. Every analogue home should have one. If you cannot afford one there are cheaper high performance rangefinders as illustrated in this edition of Analogue. Or just own the sumptuous brochure to get your Leica fix.