Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sneak Preview of Southwest Louisiana Medium-Format 120 Film Series

 I recently returned from a trip to Cameron Parish,
where I began a large portfolio of images made on 120 film with the Mamiya C22 given to me by Jamie Derevere from Athens, GA, in hopes of scoring a new exhibition somewhere when I feel like I've amassed enough to call it a set. The three-day trip yielded about 70 shots, so I'm giving a sneak preview here and keeping the rest secret for now. The film is Kodak Portra 160, "not a film for horse races" as they say (average exposure for these is around 1/30 or 1/15 at f/22), but virtually non-existent grain and terrific color; there's nothing that needs to be done to them once you've made the shot. The detail is incredible and the subtleties in shadow and things such as diffuse light reflecting on water are things that the best digital cameras on the planet just can't do as well as film like this. I considered doing the project with black-and-white Tri-X but decided against it because a quick look online shows an overabundance of medium format twin-lens b/w shots (mostly anonymous portraiture, one of my biggest pet peeves grrr), many of which are very nice, but in my mind's eye I always see the Louisiana coast in color. The greatest difficulty in using a twin-lens camera for me is that what is seen in the viewfinder is backwards, and the viewfinder lens is a few inches above the lens that puts to film, so that adjustment has to be made while thinking with a backwards view, along with the fact that it isn't a natural act to see in square format. But it was a lot of fun, and the next trip for this series will take me east of Cameron to Vermilion Parish. I'll keep moving this project east, and hopefully I'll wind up with enough to whittle down to a concise series by the time I hit Grand Isle.  (Click images for large view.)