Blog

Angels with Dirty Faces

My hatred for scanning is pretty well-known and written about if you’re unfortunate enough to have me as a friend on one of the various social networks. However, being able to scan and develop your own film allows you to make choices. Choices are good! Creative choices are what drive me. It’s very easy to take a perfectly exposed shot on film, and then scan it perfectly. But it gets incredibly tedious. I saw an incredible shot on Twitter yesterday, taken on digital, which the photographer had edited beautifully into a film-look. It was a really lovely shot, and the editing just made it that wee bit special. I used to do the same when I still shot digital, and it’s what turned me over into going fully analog – why keep trying to recreate that film look when I can just shoot film? This photographer’s shot got me thinking of those choices I make when doing something very simple like scanning. I don’t use dust removal software. I know how to clean my roll film and my Polaroids and I know how to scan them so that they don’t need too much cleaning-up. But that gets so boring… I really like dust and I tend to leave a lot of it on my shots. There’s also the added ‘benefit’ of living with cats. When you live with cats everything gets covered in a layer of cat hair. I’m covered in it right now. Sometimes it’s pretty lovely when you scan something and find a cat hair in a not-so-annoying place. Cat18crop These are from a pack of expired PZ 600 Silver Shade UV+ that I shot at the weekend. I find it’s very glossy compared to some of the other formulas. A few months ago when I was scanning another shot pack of it, I noticed how easily it picked up finger prints. It was very annoying at first, when I had to keep on cleaning the shots and re-scanning. Eventually though, I found I really liked those fingerprints. It added that element of me having touched them, a personal sort of touch from the artist. So I went with it and used it ‘creatively’ by choosing where I kept certain marks and where I cleaned some of them off. I have two scanners. A very simple three-in-one deskjet number which was my only scanner for the first year or so of shooting. It doesn’t scan roll film though, so I managed to pick up a V500 on Gumtree for my roll film needs. I like to use the deskjet scanner when I want a more messy look. It seems to attract dust and cat hair like nobodies business. The light is also quite destructive when I’m scanning Silver Shade Polaroids. This most recent pack also has an added bonus in that it seems to have gotten damaged. At first I thought it was down to me squeezing the shots under my armpit too hard but when I’d gone through all of the shots, most of them had this halo crack in the same place. Probably my rollers to be honest, needing cleaned. The Image System that this pack was shot on has been needing cleaned for a wee while. Every pack that comes out of it has lines and this recent indentation on the actual shots, is the most harshest damage it’s caused. It could just be specific to that pack though, and not the camera. I’m jumping to conclusions, or perhaps hoping that it’s something I can play with when shooting the next pack of film on it. I kept these shots on the window ledge sitting in sunlight the morning after they’d been shot, so they would go more sepia. They would have done so eventually but I wanted to speed up the process in time for me getting home to scan them. Not all of the shots are too dusty or damaged. Some of them just have a soft, fuzzy roll film look without the cracking. I find the scanner light is so bright that it seems to highlight any solarization. At the moment my interest is in silhouettes and shadows. Everything is about studying and capturing the light. Polaroid really knows how to assist you in that goal. 🙂

About elegia

I like cats and cake and tea.

Leave a Reply