We had a 5×4 camera workshop today with Andrew Sanderson, I was particularly keen to attend this as I am aware that the quality of image from medium and large format is superior to 35mm and I was keen to refresh my memory with these processes. Andrew is considered to be one of Harman’s “master printers” and regularly gives lectures, demonstrations and workshops across the UK.
Andrew started off with explaining the benefits of working with large format. He then showed us the workings of the camera demonstrating how all the camera functions worked, how to position the front and back risings, setting up the composition, taking a meter reading and taking the shot before returning to the darkroom to process the negative. For the purpose of this morning workshop for convenience we used paper negatives.
Andrew encouraged us to get familiar with the workings of the camera before returning to the darkroom to process the negatives.I was amazed by the quality of the negatives, and hadn’t realised that they could be printed in the darkroom using the enlarger. I had assumed that we would be scanning them and inverting them in photoshop. Printing the image in this way gives a different, more unique quality to the print, than processing digitally.
This was a really enjoyable workshop Andrew was extremely patient explaining things to us and even took time out from the darkroom to talk about incidental light readings, f-stops and generally share his years of knowledge with us.
The workshop has inspired me to venture out again with the 5×4 camera. Andrew has a blog called The Web Darkroom where he shares his knowledge of analogue techniques, anybody who is interested in working in the darkroom should take a look and follow it as I have.