Monday, July 23, 2012

Rolleiflex Self Portraits

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about practicing portraiture on myself and illustrated with a few Mamiya 645 polaroids.  That same day, I also shot a roll of film with my Rolleiflex 3.5e TLR.  

I thought my Rollei was loaded with Kodak Tmax 400 B&W film and I shot accordingly, intending to develop the film myself.  When finished, I was surprised to pull out a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 color film.  I did not want to pay lab fees to develop the roll, so after some googling, I decided to develop the film in D-76 (the chemical I use for B&W film) - exactly as if it were Tmax 400 - and see what came out.  The result very pleasantly surprised me -  nice tones, grain structure, exposure, and also easily scanned.  I may use Ektar this way intentionally in the future.  

The sharpness of the first photo is what I aim for, but there is extra vitality in the slight motion blur of the second photo that interests me.  I don't know if the result looks like a technical mistake to others, but I'm going to experiment with this look in the future.

I'm certainly not breaking any photographic ground here, but I'm learning a lot by doing.  This particular experiment: 1) reinforced my love of square medium format black and white film for portraits, 2) demonstrated the flattering simplicity of direct window light; 3) showed me that a little blur is not necessarily a bad thing; and 4) allowed me to discover the wonder of Ektar developed in D-76.  As I said before, trying something is better than simply thinking about it.