Monthly Archives: July 2012

Using Photo Paper as Film


For the past couple of nights I’ve not had much sleep. It was last night I decided to set up a bit of a temporary dark room in my bathroom. I’m not entirely sure what the catalyst was for this sudden burst of atypical industrious activity, procrastination may have played role. Either way, once I managed to find the developing trays, mix the chemicals and cover windows with the nearest opaque object, such as a surprisingly light dryer, I was impelled to think of as many things to print so as to make it worth my while.

I remembered, years ago, taking shots with my home made pin hole camera using photo paper as the film. Thinking I might be able to do the same thing, using my medium format (6×6) Mamiya C330 TLR, I folded a piece of 9cmx14cm ILFORD photographic paper in half and found it fit perfectly against the film back plate. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about cutting the paper to size in the dark. It also meant that reloading  a fresh exposure only involved ensuring the camera was in complete darkness before opening the back and flipping the paper horizontally. That saved a bit of time when shooting outside. I just  covered the camera up with my jacket and flipped the paper by feel.

Due to the very low ISO of photo paper, most of the exposures where quite long (f/11, 40 sec). This is with the exception of the self portraits where I strapped two speed lights together and set them to full power.  Syncing via slave, they were fired manually during an exposure of about 10 seconds at f/5.6.

After developing I was left with a black and white negative print. I then scanned the paper and inverted them in Photoshop. These are some of the results.


Italian Laundromat In Brisbane

Another composite of a sad looking laundromat framed by a photo I took of a ceiling outside one of my regular bus stops in Brisbane CBD.


Farm House

A composite shot made from two photos. A farm house in NSW, not far from the iconic Nocro Castle, and another shot of a well weathered picnic table outside a pub in Wardell. The table top gives the sky it’s worn out look which I thought complemented the state of the house.


Poster Post

Vertical Panorama


Sydney Biennale 2012

A quick trip to Sydney to catch the Biennale before uni starts again. Cockatoo Island was fantastic, its dilapidated walls and forgotten industrial infrastructure made it feel like Australia’s own Alcatraz. The art works were not to be ignored – theatrical. Designed to impress on us yet even more politically approved social outcries, each artwork spoke of either the environment, consumerism, sexual equality or multiculturalism. The delivery was unique and intriguing, but for me the substance was lacking in originality and honesty. Is today’s artist really a spokesmen for the mute, or is he/she yet another politically correct “tweeter” looking for followers?


Either way, I found myself attracted mainly to the decaying buildings around this island maze. Part of me wanted to find a secret spot, preferably somewhere high up, like an abandoned crane. This is where I would call home. To survive I would live off fish, oysters and the occasional seagull. It wasn’t until a good friend from Brisbane arrived to join me that I came to my senses. After a beer or two, at the Island’s own Asahi bar, I realised just how hard it is to catch a seagull.



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The Art of Collecting Ephemera

There’s something very melancholic or sentimental about a an old printed piece of paper. I’m always picking up discarded books, used maps, soggy coasters or even paper placemats that take my fancy. Searching the net I found an article by explaining the discipline of collecting what is apparently called “ephemera”. It seems to me that collecting ephemera requires an ability to see beauty in something that would be otherwise ignored by the untrained eye. Photography shares this same quality, which is why, when I come home and scan my latest finds, it feels no different to uploading my raw files after a shoot. Here’s a few of my most recent finds.

My goal is to distil that sentimentality, imbedded in these scraps of paper, and somehow transfer it into a photo. This is what I’ve come up with so far.

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