Recently my girlfriend announced me that for my birthday gift she prepared something special! Of course it didn’t take me long to pull out what’s that from her 🙂 It turned out it was a workshop with one of the greatest darkroom printers and also great photographers, I mean with Adrian Ensor here in London! You can image how happy I was. I’ve been waiting long two weeks for that day. I knew I had just 8hrs to learn as much as I can during this time. Obviously I need to prepare questions to outstanding things which no one else was able to give an answer. I thought to myself that it is great occasion to learn lots of things which I’ve never been good with.
My list consisted:
Better dogging and burning
How to better control contrast
Flattening the final prints
And all other small details which by observation I can learn
Finally that day came!
We’ve arrived at agreed 10AM on Saturday 4th of August. Adrian has been waiting for us already. We drank a cup of coffee and we’ve been talking about the plan for a day, ideas and of course we were looking on my pictures which I brought along with me.
My negatives are pretty good as I’m following my friend, Roy Snell, who advised me how to develop them properly. Negatives are well developed but these are developed in my own way to have many details in lights and shadows. It requires though, to use higher paper gradation.
Adrian instead suggested me to use stronger dilution of developer to have more contrast on them and for my needs it should be easier to print. I agree with both masters (Roy and Adrian) and I think I could treat them as two separate solutions for particular photographic ways of making final prints.
Here we are looking on my prints which are still wet but by putting them next to each other we can better asses situation and find out what else need to be changed to improve them.
Here is the final print
Portrait taken by me. Light was very bad (my mistake) but Adrian and I, we’ve done great job and portrait looks great! Grade 5 and some dodging helped!
Here is the summary and my book signed by Adrian!
I’m really happy having it signed as I did learn a lot from it. I know I’ll be getting far much more from it in the coming years as I’ll be coming back to it to rejuvenate my skills and improve my prints.
It was great day! But it is not the end of a journey, I’ll be visiting Adrian frequently and we’ll be talking about photography and many other things too. Adrian did lend me great biography of Bill Brandt (btw. I lived next to the block in Kensington for two years where Bill Brandt used to live).
This I’ll learn from my friend Roy, who is a darkroom printer from London. Working with Roy, I can learn tons of things which I wouldn’t be able to learn from books, conversations with other amateurs, internet articles or blogs. This is amazing to me and also it is great addition to our friendship! We’ll be working together on materials which I hope we will be able to produce to the highest level. Where sparkling highlights will be signing and shadows will be warm and full of details.
Last Saturday we’ve been printing for our first client – Janie
who brought her old and never printed negative film. This film has been sitting in a drawer for around 50 years. On that day it has been for the first time, put into Roy’s De Vere 705s enlarger. As a matter of learning we’ve been learning how to properly get good contrast keeping details in shadows and clean fully detailed highlights. Roy showed me how to properly dodge the print. I think I need to exercise on this as my dodging is really poor… I’ve never been good on that so I always wanted to avoid this but it looks like my time has come… :D. I need to get down on it and finally learn how to do this properly.
is the most unusual in the world… I had a great pleasure to be able to print and feel the mood being there with all those warm lights turned on. Roy with his enormous engagement was helping me with all those small details. He’s ready to repeat the same things five times unless I understand the layout, process and how Roy has been doing this for many many years. This is hard to describe what amount of knowledge he is giving to me. All those small details like agitation, temperature of my chemistry and workflow direction. Combining all those bits and pieces makes me so “rich” in this matter.
Idea to create it like that
This is not a secret that my darkroom has been inspired by his own. I have tried to create my own place very comfortable and inspiring. Being in my darkroom is real pleasure making pictures. Mine doesn’t resemble cool and white laboratory. It is warm and calm place where classic music sounds gently. There are no noisy and distracting cooling fans. Slight smell of chemistry surrounds me from everywhere.
We have new year but this part of British capital is very lively, as usual. This time I’m with a man which speech is about Jesus and his role in our lives and current world.
Indeed it’s hard to not agree with him and his ideas. He is very active in his approach how to persuade to others his opinions.
Please don’t think
…he doesn’t know what he’s talking about! That man is every good observer and he also advised to me, what Jesus thinks about photography. Please don’t think, I’m mocking up from him but I really appreciate his open-minded approach to the surrounding world.
From visual point of view, that man is interesting but also his personality makes this town very colourful. I don’t have to agree with all his opinions but I do not judge his opinions as well. That’s one and only place in the world where everyone can perform a speech about anything he/she wants.
Hyde Park Corner Speaker
…is very lively man. He tries to persuade all his opinions to everyone who came to this place tempted by the gathered crowd.
Summing up, if you’re looking for some kind of relax and you’re eager to listen different opinions feel free to come and listen or even discuss with those guys. I personally really appreciate that I can do that as I’ve been reading about this place for years and now on….I can come here.
I took a “Portrait with cigar” of man whose I met today in central London. That guy is very interesting person. We’ve exchanged a few words about his cigar and his style. Because I don’t smoke I never felt what is the feeling of smoking, so I’m not able to say anything about cigars but I proposed to take a few pictures of him. He’s busy man so we have only 30 seconds to take these pictures.
Smoking man has an interesting style
Worn torn jeans, lousy long sweater and big cigar in his hand makes him very colourful person. Fortunately he’s keen to pose which isn’t very often these days, but fortunately the town is very large and it’s always possible to find someone to photograph.
As he’s very busy and must go home, so only pictures left. I hope you like it and if so, please return here more often for new interesting photographs.
What I like is
to speak to people whose I don’t know. I’m not shy person but it’s always difficult to come over to an unknown person and start conversation, especially asking him or her to start to pose for you. That’s most complicated thing in photography. To me it is even more complicated than light or composition which ultimately you can learn. In conversation with someone you don’t know, you have to be very truthful and make good relation. Remember, that person most likely will never meet you again and in fact, does not know what you’ll do with taken photographs so you must be honest and always say truth.
If you have a feeling you can pose…
and you would like me to take portrait of you, then drop me an email or contact me over Facebook with your contact details. I’ll contact you and maybe we’ll be able to make a good set of portraits. Portraits in style similar to the “Portrait with cigar” can be very interesting. If you play music, preparing for your doctorate and you’re surrounded by tons of books or have other hobby, that’s perfect – we can try to capture it together.
Brexit referendum takes place on 23 June and it is very important day in a British history. Today UK citizens will decide whether to remain within EU or they will vote for Brexit. Soon after 10:00pm local time pools stations will be closed and teams will start counting votes. Till today, all about Brexit referendum was happening in TV, newspapers and on the streets.
Britons today decides
whether they want to stay with known rules created in cooperation with UK and other EU members in Brussel. If majority will decide to leave, would that mean UK will get off the European train? If so, what then about the economy and further internal country’s development?
British as well as foreigners
deliberate how Britain will look like in coming future. If Brexit will happen that would mean slower economy? On the other hand, Brexit doesn’t change main negotiation points which have been agreed in 2015. Most important bullet was immigration which still exceeds 300 000 people netto, every year.
Other EU members
along with British citizens which opt for remain within EU, try to engage others by persuading them why leaving is not an option. Some British accept this but some still are not eager to change their minds.
British citizens not only in UK but also those who belongs to the commonwealth community, have right to vote. Irish from Northern Ireland along with Gibraltar’s citizens are eligible to vote. Strangely, other EU citizens who live in UK even for 30 years, do not have right to vote despite this decision has direct impact to them…
British and the rest of the 27 EU members will have to await for confirmed and an official results. Till then first results will spill over the Internet soon after 22:00 local time.
The things is
that main supporters of Brexit have disappeared from the cabinets. Will they take responsibility for this what they did??
Below marks on the picture of David Cameron says all what Londoners think about Brexit….
Yesterday while sitting in one of Soho’s pubs I met Alexa O’Brien – her tattoos and rings on fingers intrigued me. She worn great silver rings on both hands and those both elements were totally worth of taking picture! We have spoken a while and she agreed me to take some portraits.
She really has natural skills to pose as a professional model. I tried to show her tattoos and rings. I like this kind of rings, which combined with the tattooed hands made a great composition. Tattoo designs used here are great composed along with the silver rings.
Alexa’s face is very interesting and I think, smoking made her look a bit more serious, in a good meaning of that word. I like her sight which comes somewhere far away from place we were… Light is very good and softly illuminate the whole face.
I think we did a good job. Below picture ensures me I am right. I like to work like yesterday, as this gives great results. We haven’t planned in advance and all pictures were very spontaneous. I hope Alexa thinks exactly the same.
I like this picture as this is something like summary of this 20 minutes of work.
There’s nothing usually the same … each day is different in London’s Tube… You can meet here many people and many things can happen. Some people do are able to make some exercises. Some even do jogging! This is nice as those, really feel comfortably and just live!
I like people reading newspapers
because they forgetting about other commuters and start to behave naturally. But each person is different and I really like it! I am a good observer I think, and very often I am trying to catch something what other missed.
Thankfully London Tube’s architects implemented those nice mirrors in which I am taking some pictures. I will try many times yet until will I’ll catch that best one, but that one below I really like. In Tube light is rather difficult for photography but everything is possible. I am using available light to catch something interesting.
I need to spend more time in London Tube to get more familiar with its possibilities and to discover something more as I think this is not explored cave!
Today we’ve went to the park hoping to take some portraits. This was good idea as we did at least few good ones! I will try to develop them pretty quickly and maybe I will put them here this week yet, who knows? 😉
And here is
my friend's - Pawel - version of Marlena's picture from the beginning of this post. I really like it!
I met three guys from Sweden. I suppose they came to London as a tourists. I took them a few pictures – two of them you can find below as the rest are not ready yet 😉 I will publish them in coming few days!
This morning we we’ve been working in the park trying to take some good portraits of Marlena despite of the wet weather. Finding good location and a light, turned out a slightly difficult task. We decided to not give up so we’ve spent some time trying to figure out where and how to make some photographs.
As sun has been moving higher and higher…
This portrait is my best. I like it because of Marlena’s sight. She’s so focused which makes this picture so energetic. As taking of model’s pictures or portraits isn’t easy task the one taken to the person you know very well sometimes is more difficult than that one taken of strangers.
Pictures in the park – If you’ve found them interesting feel free to share them with your friends.
Portraits, black & white photography, daily life, darkroom