Ever wonder how photographers like Edward Weston were able to get super high contrast black and white prints? It wasn't all in the printing, it wasn't all in the negative, and it wasn't all in the camera. You need all three and a wee bit of mathematics.
Anyone can achieve those super high contrast black and white images with a little bit of mathematics, some understanding of light and the chemicals involved in developing film. Okay, I just reread what I wrote and I think I made it sound harder than it is. Here is the basic technique: underexpose your shot and overdevelop your film. It helps first to compose a scene in interesting light. The two images attached to this tip were taken in bright sunshine beaming in on a porch. The light was coming in from the south and shining directly on a chair in one corner of the porch. There was a lot of shadows on the rest of the porch as it was late afternoon. I decided to underexpose the shot but wasn’t sure how much I needed so I took two shots, the first shot was underexposed by two f/stops and the second by 3 f/stops. Underexposing means that there will be a lot of blacks and very little whites—a dark shot, too dark. But that’s okay because you can bring back those whites while developing the film.
When black and white film is developed the blacks develop first and stop developing after the first two or three minutes, the whites keep developing as long as the film is in the developer. So depending on how much you underexposed the film will determine how long you overdevelop the film. Since I underexposed by two to three f/stops I overdeveloped by half. For example, using Sprint developer, Kodak TRI-X 400 needs 10 minutes, so I developed it for 15 minutes instead to bring out the whites that were underexposed. You get a very thick negative which requires longer processing. If you do not develop your own film you will need to explain this process to whomever you use and hope they understand. There is some risk involved. If you don’t develop the film long enough you’ll get flat negatives and flat photos. If you develop too long the highlights (whites) will be blown out with no details. If you scan your own negatives you can adjust your image. But remember you cannot bring back details that don’t exist.
I love high contrast photos especially for still life. They work great for nudes and portraits as well. Good luck and let me know if you give it try. I’d like to see the results.
This is a tribute to a great Austrian sports photographer, Lothar Rübelt. In an era with no high speed films available, he was able to immortalize wonderful moments in sports - from diving to gymnastics and football. In creating this tribute, I took a series of photos of an amateur football match using expired black and white film developed using an uncommon chemical. Take a look after the jump!
Cyanotype prints are a fun and easy way to dive into the world of printing images. We’ll supply the chemicals and the step by step how to, you’ll just need to come with objects and negatives that you want to experiment with!
Did you ever think about the myth that we actually dream in Black & White? No colors, maybe no truth behind it anyways. But we know for a fact that you can create the most dreamy photographs with an analogue camera. And for that you need the right film. Scroll down and find out which B&W film is the film of your dreams!
In this article, I'll show you my 2014 in analogue through the letters of the alphabet. All these photos were taken in the streets of my city, Como, or in close proximity (a few kilometers away from it), mainly during public or sporting events, and all in black and white.
Photographs with sprocket holes exposed are practically a dime a dozen these days but, of course, this wasn't the case more than 50 years ago. However, former freelance photographer Michael Ciavolino was already able to create one of the earliest examples of this technique back in the early '60s in his groundbreaking photograph called "Boat Ride, Rye Beach." Find out the fascinating story behind this photo, as well as how and why he did it in this exclusive Lomography feature!
The Lomography Belair X 6-12 is more than just a medium format camera. It is lightweight, compact, and capable of shooting photos in three different sizes: 6x12, 6x9, and 6x6. Equipped with a high quality interchangeable lens system and and automatic exposure, it can give you beautiful shots in every roll. It can also take three different film formats: 120mm, 35mm, and instant. Read on to find out all about this fantastic camera.
The New Petzval Art Lens is the perfect portrait lens. But have you ever wondered how it performs in difficult situations with low light and unpredictable movements, such as a concert? Viennese rockstar photographer Matthias Hombauer proves that such a challenge can be surpassed with exceptional results. In Linz, Austria he met the American rock band Portugal. The Man and shot excellent black and white photos! Check out the gallery below and let Matthias teach you how to work with the lens during concerts.
The New Petzval Lens is a stunning reinvention of one of the first and greatest lenses of all time. It produces images with extreme sharpness, artful vignetting and absolutely beautiful swirly bokeh backgrounds. Click through to see 30 breathtaking black and white photos after the jump!