The 52 Project, Week 21: The Large Format Candid

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when bored on a late September afternoon? No matter your answer, I’m positive nobody else responded,

“Take my view camera out on the streets, of course!”

I've taken to scanning 8x10 proofs, they're easier.

“Huh, this kinda looks like a candid,” one might say. Well, it most certainly IS. Here’s the long version.

Itching to see what the view camera can do with people in the picture, I loaded up the 50+ lbs. of equipment into my car, driving until I was struck by something interesting. Little did I know, that drive would be only about half a mile drive from the University of Findlay campus.

There it was! This poorly kept, icon of dilapidation just begging for an interesting photograph.

“Hmm, there’s still a little too much symmetry there for me,” I thought.

Looking down at my watch, it was 2:50pm, school was almost out. Somebody was just bound to bike/run/walk through my frame. Little had I remembered that my metal monstrosity of a camera is less than inconspicuous. >__>

Luckily, I had my handy dandy decoy tagging along with me. My first attempt at a set of subjects involved a brother and sister pair of school children. Lauren had them all but coaxed, until the little 1st grade girl, wise for her precaution, decided it would be better to not be in a picture taken by a stranger. About ten more minutes went by, and then, there he was. Overweight, wearing a cut-off shirt, and he even had his dog with him. This was it!

Removing the darkslide from the film holder, I readied myself to release the shutter. But just as my subject starts walking into the shot, he looks my way.

“What do I do? He’s looking at me!!” D8 “Quick Mat, think fast; do something, anything! Just DON’T look over at him.”

Having run out of things to do at the last second, I leaned in towards the lens, turned away, and pretended to clean the lens during the 1/15th second exposure. And there you have it, the large format candid, or as candid one can make an 8x10 camera.

Something Good: I got the shot I’d envisioned in my head, thanks to careful metering, pre-visualization, patience, and steady processing.

Something Bad: This shot took a while, again. About an hour in the field, and a little over a half hour in the darkroom; too bad the darkroom times can’t really be brought down too much.

Something Learned: It’s not impossible to go somewhere with a shot in mind, but very hard to get the shot you’re looking for before you get there. Any number of unpredictable things can happen, and it’s best to keep an open mind about what you want in the shot. If you don’t mind camping out a while, by all means, wait till the shot walks in front you; and at $10/shot, I’ve got all day. ;)

Next Week: We’re off to the races! This time capturing action with the 8x10...seriously.