Montreal Part 2 of 3: Nathalie Kas

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Portraiture

The second shoot of the day was with Nathalie Kas, whom I have photographed before.  We cycled through a couple of set-ups, including one where Nathalie wore this wonderful red and purple striped vintage dress shirt.  Only thing is, I mistakenly loaded a roll of TMax 400 that had gotten mixed into the bag of Portra 400.

I don’t know how much I like how monochromatic film scans.  That “lifted blacks” look of “film” perpetuated by VSCO and other film simulation software is based, in my experience and opinion, on how black and white film scans.  The light passing through the negative onto the scanner sensor seems to destroy all the true blacks.  In wet printing, of course, it’s a different story.  I remember way back in school getting docked marks in my printing class for not having true blacks in my prints.  I thought they were black, but then the professor placed a true black over part of the print and I realised all I printed were three quarter tones.

Going back to film, I have been thrown a (learning) curve ball with scanning.  When all I shot was film, I used slide film for colour and negative film for black and white.  All my printing was wet printing, and I made adjustments in the lab as needed.  Once I got an image the way I liked it, I wrote a cheat sheet for future printing in my darkroom notebook.

Now, I get these scans from the lab, large RAW-like TIFs that look low contrast and washed out.  I then gotta coax the image along to get it to look right, then compress it down; one version for the print lab and another for online.

I recently reached out to the lab I used to create a customer profile to get the initial scans closer to how I want them.  Film isn’t cheap.  It’s roughly $20.00 per roll (give or take depending on emulsion) plus tax plus shipping, and then about $30.00 per roll to develop and scan plus tax plus shipping (there and back) plus a Dropbox surcharge.  All said and done, it’s almost $2.00 per photo (not including printing).  However, I have all of my darkroom equipment still, and at least for black and white film, I think my next order will be bottles of developer.

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I am a film photographer based in Prince Edward County. I make images of people, places, and things - you know, nouns.

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