Paper Pictorialism - a Modest proposal
Sometimes customers look at our collection of old large format monorail cameras on the top shelf and ask us what we are ever going to do with them. This is really a question that is turned 90 degrees from itself - the real question they should be asking is what are they going to do with them. Here is one modest proposal.
First - go to the library and get out a book on pictorialism. Steiglitz, Steichen, Strand, Kasebier, Baron De Meyer...the list of pictorialists goes on and on. Search the net diligently for a picture called "The Onion Field". Look for the portrait of J.P.Morgan. Flatiron Building at twilight. Linked Ring. Henry Peach Robinson.
Second - come down here and buy a monorail and a lens. Don't matter what kind of monorail and lens. Buy three double dark slide film holders. Buy a pack of Ilford Multigrade RC gloss paper.
Third - go home and into your darkroom and cut the Ilford paper into 4" x 5" sheets. Load them into the double darks under a suitable safelight.
Fourth - out you go looking for beauty. Find it on a sunny day for preference and find beauty that will stay still for a while. You can define to yourself what it may be, but as your exposure is likely to be anything from one second to 5 seconds, you'll need to put the monorail on a tripod and work like the old-timers did. Deliberately and methodically. Expose those double darks progressively in the camera at whatever takes your fancy. Experiment with a yellow filter over the lens.
Fifth - back to the darkroom. Develop the Ilford paper in Multigrade developer, fix and wash it and let it dry flat. You now have a wonderfully detailed paper negative. It has darks and lights and texture. It cannot be deleted with a mouse click but mice may attack it - store it carefully.
Sixth - clap it onto the bed of an EPSON V700 scanner set to Domestic Scan and grey scale at 300 dpi. Scan it as a jpeg into your computer system and then start to work on it. Use whatever program you fancy - I favour Photoshop Elements 10 with Aliens skin plug-ins. Tone it to your taste, but do look at some of the tones that the original pictorialists used and try to do a similar thing.
Seventh - print and display. You may wish to lease small commercial premises and name them " An Australian Place" and exhibit these and other works of pictorialism. Try to grow a moustache.