Week-12-Project Development

I have edited my 18 images. Spent the week thinking about how to get them into a cohesive whole. I think I achieved my goal this module of making a series linked emotionally, that went from idea to series. I went back to the locations a few times to re-photograph, filling holes as needed to complete the series.

The series is far from perfect, however I am glad I managed to complete it, and had no difficulty coming up with ideas and images to fill the required 18 images. I looked at them for a long time and handled it like a script: Beginning middle and end, including an initiating incident, a crisis point and a denouement. It would fall under the genre of comedy. (things work out in the end) or as Woody Allen so aptly put it:  “Comedy is tragedy + time!”

Quite proud of myself as I refused to do this as a photographer. However, when it became my own story, it changed. I was always writing some-one else story down, and most of the time it was very boring and I developed an adversity to it. This module cured me of that.

Received a last minute email from Krishna with critique on the series which I found helpful as well as from Jesse, points were well taken, however, I think I will take the information into consideration for the next module and use it to improve the series next time around. I am just glad I got through with a series this time instead of half a series like the module before (which was an improvement on the first module) where I had a split series. Krishna mentioned a few images where un interesting, I agree, but as a story progression I think they are needed, also this late in the game I feel I will also apply the information to the next module.  She did send me something interesting on a photographer who also did a series on fences (or course there would be someone else) I did look at his work, and I liked it very much.  Much more simple in concept than mine, but felt he may have a point:  sometimes simple is best, and will look at lightening up a bit in that regard myself.

Week-11-Project Development.

This week, I returned to the locations where I photographed before, to fine-tune the images of my series ‘FENCES’ I shot another two rolls of Ilford HP5+;  400ASA Black and White negative. Developed in my trusty old standard Kodak Developer D-76.

Managed to get quite a few images of Black Birds. After seeing Fukase’s Ravens series I have been quite enamored by them, and have incorporated a few into my series. Interesting to see how they blend into the story very naturally. For me they represent freedom. I will doing some more work with them in the next module.

I feel that my series on ‘Fences’ is cohesive enough. I have finally managed to make a complete series this module, with a linked theme and motif. I feel this module has brought all the scattered elements of my practice to a co-hesive whole and will be able from now, to be able to create series which will have emotional ties as opposed to technical ties like the ones I was doing in the past.

Week-10-Project Development.

This week I have been photographing quite a bit on 35mm black and white film, with my trusty old Nikon F with HP5+.

‘Perspective’ A diptych ©Pierre Chemaly 

I have been revisiting locations that I liked, going back to re-photograph my work in progress, after I had some time to reflect on the images I had already made before. It is really nice to able to do this. I have found this to be  a very advantageous way of working. It’s ” decisive over a period of days” as opposed to a  “decisive moment.”  In the decisive moment, one can loose an image, which has happened to me in the past, by not having a camera at the moment, or running out of film. However by working this way, I have been able to go back and rework the image. Improving it by making it at a different time of day, weather conditions, using  a different camera and lens, etc. It all affected the image, producing a number of different emotions and looks.

Week- 9 Project Development.

This past week, I have been shooting, developing and scanning, 35mm and 6×6 film. This process of image making is very time consuming. I have decided to do the project in analogue instead of digital for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I like having physical negatives of my work, there is something very satisfying about holding a concrete image in my hand instead of looking at 1’s and 0’s. Secondly, while at Paris Photo, a lot of the analogue images where on show, and were selling well.

I have been working with another old 35mm camera I have, made by Kodak. The advance mechanism is faulty, and sometimes advances half a frame, or double exposes the image and I don’t find out till its processed and scanned. I like the surprise of the image, not quite sure what I will get. It gives a very interesting effect when I shoot a working camera with one that works randomly or intermittently.  It’s so much the antithesis of digital “chimping” I like the fact that I may not even get an image at all. Also like the fact that it’s created in camera as opposed to in Photoshop.

1/2 frame advance. © P. Chemaly


Double Exposure. © P. Chemaly

Secondly, I am very comfortable with this now, compared to when I started the MA. I was shooting a lot more digital then, and got really upset if I lost or missed an image. However, now, I figure I will go back, or wait till something similar comes around, or deal with the fact that it’s gone for good. I have become a lot more patient and accepting in my practice.

I am toying with the idea if punctuating the images with the “faulty” images as they seems to stir a lot of interest, and quite honestly, I like the way the images look. They satisfy my on a lot of levels, primarily, that they are unique.

Week 6 Project Development

I own many cameras in many formats,  All the way from 4×5 down to 35mm and from 35mm motion down to Super-8mm, a camera junkie for sure. Sometimes it becomes difficult to choose which camera to go out and photograph with. But have learned, always have the digital camera close at hand (my trusty Canon 7D) because, I have run out of film, and had no other camera handy when I need to make a few extra images.

Generally I will go out with two cameras. This week I went out with my Nikon F and my 35mm panorama camera. It has a light leak issue, and has not been used in a while.  I decided to put a roll of film through it as part of my project development.

Went out with two rolls of Tri-X I inherited from a friend. I normally use Ilford HP5+, however, as I had some Tri-X I decided to use it and go photograph in the afternoon for my series ‘Fences’  I came back and developed the film.  The film developed well, but two issues arose. Firstly, the panorama camera still has a serious light leak and secondly the Tri-X curls very badly, making it difficult to mount and scan on my Epson V750

I read about some few techniques on line to make the negative flat,  but most people still have the problem, and it seem universally problematic with this film, so I will be sticking to Ilford HP5+. It dries FLAT!.

I looked at the light leak problem, and scanned the negatives full frame.  I like the look of the light streaks and flashes, so scanned and made a series of the negative with the imperfections. I may incorporate this into my portfolio this module. I felt that using the camera this way gave the image an interesting mood and feel.

© Pierre Chemaly
© Pierre Chemaly
© Pierre Chemaly

Tomorrow I will be driving down to Hollywood to buy some Kentmere 400 a Freestylephoto, they are  a film and digital supplier, with a good range of film stocks and chemicals, and I get 5% discount with my Falmouth Student ID. https://www.freestylephoto.biz/99400-Kentmere-400-ISO-35mm-x-100-ft.-Roll  I have not used this film, but it is made by Ilford, and is a lot cheaper, and grainier. I like grain so I am going to test it out. My HP5+ is running low, so time to buy a new bulk load of 100ft. I will spool off about 10 rolls for the F2F trip in Paris. I plan to shoot a lot of film while in Europe.



Week 5 Project Development.

This week I have been out photographing. . . a lot. Working on my series for this module. “Fences”  This module has been the eye opener for me, as far as my work goes. Something has clicked, I have had cognitive breakthrough. That linking of feelings and emotions to the work has happened.  It is a key factor, if it’s genuine, and I finally feel it’s genuine. Up until this point, I was faking it,  there was no genuine link between my emotions and my images.

I made a technically ‘good image’ so to speak. I don’t have any problems in that department, I have been doing it long enough. Emotionally though, I was in a vacuum, pushing and fighting particles of air, that wasn’t even there, is the best way I can describe it.

I have been fighting shadows and phantoms my whole life and for once, I feel I can land a punch against something solid, actual. . . concrete. And it’s hurts, but it’s a good hurt, there is a physical connection, I understand the reason for the pain. before it was a fake pain, a phantom . . . not real.

I don’t like to use the word pain, however, my struggle has been has beeb just that, however, out of that pain is emerging a joy that I want, and will celebrate with my series ‘Fences’  it is a metaphor of what has been keeping me in, corralled, quartered creatively.  This description here is a watered down diluted version, and may change over the next years of my life. However, change is a good thing, getting rid of old baggage, ideas, concepts, beliefs, ideologies, methodologies,  and techniques that does not further the cause. As a quote from a travel book I love states: “Pass by that which you do not love!”  I always wondered what that meant exactly?  Here, some 10 years later, I understand it. Here are some images:


Week-4-Project Development.

This week has been another fruitless week. Still going out and photographing. Once again, having ideas that don’t come to fruition as a idea for a meaningful series. With stress on the word meaningful. A series can be made of anything, “a series of salt grains in my salt shaker, again what would that ‘mean’ ?

Have been experimenting with my Hasselblad 501c, bought a few close up diopters and ordered a 6X9 glass negative holder for my enlarger.

Beseler #8072 glass negative carrier, with anti Newton ring glass. 6X9cm so can hold any negative from 35mm on up to 6×9.


I have been experimenting with some old film that curls very badly and will not remain flat in a regular glassless negative holder. So laded up looking for a negative holder with glass that will press the curled negative flat. However this has problems of it’s own, as it will cause a Moir pattern (Newton rings) on the print, so looked to see if I could find a glass holder that would have anti-newton ring glass in it. I found a few but very expensive around $300 dollars.

I went to trusty old Ebay. Lo and behold, there was one listed starting bid of $200 with reserve. I bid and hit the reserve at $146, and increased it slightly so if anyone else bid I had a margin. Long story short I won the item and now have an anti newton ring glass negative carrier, and will be making some old school analogue printed images shortly.

Week-1-Project Development

I have been giving my final project some thought. I would like to do it at home, around my yard and in my makeshift studio and darkroom. I have always liked the work of certain photographers who work in a very limited area. In particular Edward Weston who worked mainly at Point Lobos, California.

In my early days, I had difficulty with that, as I wondered how one could limit oneself to such a small area. It is something like one square mile. Over the years through looking at his work, listening to other photographers, philosophers and poets, I have gleaned some pretty interesting information that has helped me in my own practice and answering that question or problem I had.

I also like the work of Arron Siskind, mainly because he was able to bridge his practice between representational and abstract imagery.  He said: “If you look very intensely and slowly things will happen that you never dreamed of before.”

This coupled with a line from the  poem ‘Augeries of Innocence’ by William Blake. “To see the World in a grain of sand.” are words I think a lot about, and came to understand Weston through that poem and the quote of Arron Siskind. I think the module my WIP will be images made around my house and yard. I am considering three titles for the work. ‘Yardwork’ ‘Homework’ or ‘Housework’ It’s a play on the words and the work.


Peeling Paint © Aaron Siskind