Printing my own 35mm B&W film in the darkroom on…
Lenten rose. New Chrysotype contact print.
Helleborus orientalis, also known as the Lenten rose is a delight in winter when not much else is in flower. This image was created with the flower deliberately placed off centre and doesn’t show it in its entirety. It’s more or less as you would see it in a cottage garden or wildflower meadow, where the depth in the image makes it stand out in the crowd, while still blending with the surrounding foliage and flowers.
The lighting for the image was chosen to emulate the feeling of a wildflower meadow, where multiple layers continue to reveal themselves. It was side lit via electronic flash to enable the highlighting of the stamens and show the speckled appearance of the hellebore, while deliberately creating a mood in the image with the other flowers and foliage fading into the background.
While the hellebore is definitely the star it still has a place and context. It is not simply plucked from its environment and put on stage. This image was cropped tightly to give the inference that there is more beyond the flower. As with all nature there is a balance where everything works together.
Hellebores are beautiful from flower through to seed, I find them inspiring on so many levels. They are aesthetically pleasing through all phases of the plants life cycle. This image was photographed on a 4×5 large format camera with a 210mm lens. It was shot on 4×5 Polaroid type 55 film which has a lovely clarity of tone. The edge of the Polaroid gives the image a classical feel of days gone by and a quality that indicates it is hand crafted.
The process chosen for the printing was Mike Ware’s New Chrysotype. The image is contact printed directly from the Polaroid negative. The blue hues giving it a magical feel.
I print in a darkened room with trestle tables courtesy of Bunnings, that can be packed away. Photographic trays and a coating area are organised around this situation. I have an ultraviolet exposure box and have successfully printed in Van Dyke Brown and Platinum palladium and other alternative processes. I find these work well in this situation.
My background is in both science and arts. Photography for me is the culmination of both these disciplines and it allows me to express both a personal vision and create something tangible in this fast paced world. Although the end point being the final image, is the aim, I find the whole creation process of taking the image through to the printing of the image equally important and essentially gratifying. Danielle Edwards.
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