fail cakes

Achieving the final photograph involving brainstorm took three photo shoots … each time purely because I made silly film-photography errors. (I use a 4×5 Horseman monorail camera and sheet film.) In the first shoot I forgot that the orange colour would turn out nearly the same shade of grey as the stairwell in a black and white photograph. On the second go I neglected to compensate adequately for the red filter I was using to bring the orange out from the stairs. Lucky for me third time was lucky and I achieved the image that had been floating around in my brain since 2010.

There were some images from the ‘fail’ shoots that I really like that weren’t quite right for the project, but are much too interesting to hide away in oblivion. I’m calling them ‘fail cakes’ because they are similar to baking mishaps -lopsided and not really fit for company, but delicious nevertheless.

The spooky factor was amplified in the fail cakes photo shoots. My sister Delana was helping me for the first attempt, that’s her in the foreground.

ghosts in the stairwell

I love the shallow depth of field. It’s pure photogeekery, but one of the things I adore about using a 4×5 camera is tilt – being able to make the plane of sharp focus run up the stairs – but having everything else out of focus. Unfortunately the optical illusion gets lost in all the photography tricks.

Underexposure in this instance looks spooky as all get out. Why is that boy reading on the stairs in the dark with bare feet? No amount of fiddling was going to get past that the shot is much too underexposed to make a good print at the enormous size I’m working with for this series.

reading in the dark

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