A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

The File Edge Into Oblivion
Saturday, May 21, 2016




In that dawn of my photographic career sometime in 1963 I had a female friend in Mexico City who had a beautiful Beseler 23-C enlarger that had a motorized up and down function. I had just learned to process my own b+w film even though I had been shooting since 1958. My greatest pleasure was making that enlarger move so I could experiment on cropping my negatives. By the end of a long evening I could have ended up with 5 or 6 versions of one negative.

Shortly after, I became a purist. I no longer cropped my negatives and I made sure that my deciding crop was in camera through my viewfinder. This was not entirely possible as cameras in those days gave you a bit more than what you saw. It was the Nikon-F that finally brought the absolutely accurate viewfinder and what you saw was what you got. I cannot elaborate too much on the accuracy of the Leica rangefinder cameras of that era as what you got could never exactly be what you saw as those Leicas were not new-fangled single lens reflex cameras.

In my beginnings as a magazine photographer in Vancouver I had to be accurate to a point. I always had do consider that if my pictures ended up as covers,  on a full vertical page ( bleeds they were called) or on a two-page spread I had to make sure that the line between pages, called the gutter, did not go through someone’s face. Cover photos had to have room up top for the magazine logo and the bottom corner for those new-fangled scan boxes. Both sides of the photograph be they a portrait or soemthing else had to be less busy so that copy could be put in.

To minimize art director cropping of my images I relied on my Mamiya RB-67 which shot both vertical and horizontal shots on a 6x7cm format that fit better into the pages of the magazines of the era.

By the mid 80s I had developed a new method of shooting. I did everything with a full-frame crop and then I would print these negatives (be they b+w or colour negative) with an enlarger negative carrier that I had personally filed with a metal file. This resulted in photographs with what is now called a crazy border. But then the technique meant two things:

1. The photographer was presenting a picture that was cropped in camera.
2. The photographer had personally printed the photograph as no two crazy borders are ever identical. A crazy border was a photographer’s finger print and part of the personal style of that photographer.

I have written all the above here.

But the reason for this blog is that a photographer can never stay static in a style or modus operandi. A photographer has to progress and move on even if it means moving on from the tried and true.

I have as an example today’s image here. One of them is filed edge crop in the camera photograph of a woman (a Polish banker) wearing fishnets. The other is of a psychiatric nurse wearing fishnets.



The image that I have cropped is part of a larger negative taken with a Nikon FM-2, a 50mm lens and loaded with Kodak b+w Infrared Film. I have cropped it so that it can meet with my self-censorship. It is also cropped in a way that the resulting image will fly the robotic censors of social media.

What I find interesting is that this crop makes the photograph unusually erotic.



     

Previous Posts
Ria Girard - Moving Day With Crystal Pite @ Q7

A. Wissler - El Comodoro en el Tren

Weltschmerz, Ennui, Enervation & Fiaca.

Arts Umbrella Dance Company - From Physical to Emo...

My Taste For Androgyny

In Praise of the Trombone

Lucía Mateo (aka -Talvinen) La Misteriosa Joven de...

El Dragón y la Princesa - Sobre Héroes y Tumbas

La Intrusa - The Intruder - Jorge Luís Borges

Evita



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9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16