Film Photography Podcast - Episode 167 – July 15, 2017
4x5 Quick Load Film! New 55! How to Test a Polaroid Camera! Book of the Month! Minolta XGM! Display Your Prints and More!
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July 15th, 2017 Podcast 167 timing
0:01:13 Introductions Michael Raso, Leslie Lazenby, Mat Marrash, and Mark O'Brien
0:01:33 Brief listing of subjects to be covered in this podcast
0:05:10 FPP gang shoots some New55 sheets indoors (no usable images reported)
0:07:51 Readyload and Quickload 4x5 format film - avoid the dust - see at the New55 store
0:16:09 Testing Polaroid 600 Cameras and general discussion
0:31:30 Mark O'Brien's blurb book. http://www.blurb.com/b/439652-a-polaroid-elegy-my-last-year-with-a-polaroid-camera
0:35:46 Book: Curious Cameras by Todd Gustavson ISBN: 9781454915515
0:45:00 Camera: Minolta XG-M and XG-1
0:49:22 Model Release forms - pad of 50 from the FPP store
0:51:40 Supporting artists - buying prints.
1:03:41 Big prints
1:17:07 Music to close
Hey folks out there in podcast land, it's the Internet Radio show for people who love to shoot film! Joining Michael Raso in the studio for the last episode of our seventh season is Leslie Lazenby, Mark O'Brien, and Mat Marrash. What a show we have for you today! The gang will be talking about testing Polaroid Cameras, New55, 4x5 Single-Sheet Film, Book of the Show, Printing your work, displaying your work, the Minolta XG-M and so much more! So it's time to grab a Mr. Brown Iced Coffee and stay tuned in!
New55 - The Return of Instant for the 4x5
Before the show (what shoe!) Michael and the gang had a chance to try out some of the New55 flagship product, New55 PN. If you haven't been following this innovative company for the past several years here's the lowdown. New55 started with the singular purpose of bringing back something special, a Type 55 like film for large format cameras. Polaroid Type 55 was a unique film in the sense that it produced both a positive print and a usable negative that could be loaded up into an enlarger and duplicated. The downside was that you either had to expose for print or for negative. New55 aimed to change that with their PN (Positive/Negative) material. The results have been mixed, the gang failed to get a single workable shot from their session, and many other photographers have experienced this. But Mat has seen some incredible work on the material which only gets better as time goes on, remember what Impossible film was like at the very beginning compared to today. Thankfully the folks at New55 are far from frustrated and are keeping on working on improving their Black & White film and are still working towards a stable colour film! Until then; Mat continues, it's important to keep on supporting them. If you check out their store they have lots up for grabs, from full sets to get you started, you can even get boxes of just their negative material, Atomic-X, that can be shot and developed traditionally.
QuickLoad - Single Sheet 4x5
Like Type 55, New55 PN comes in single sheet envelopes that are loaded into a Polaroid 545 holder. While this was more popular for the instant formats. This single sheet method can also be found in traditional 4x5 film formats. Both Kodak and Fuji produced their single sheet version of their popular film stocks. Kodak ReadyLoad and Fuji QuickLoad were available up until the early 2000s. Mat continues to explain that these were a huge convenience for photographers that traveled and didn't want to carry around all the equipment needed to load and unload film holders, not to mention the holders themselves. All you needed was the appropriate single-sheet holder and your film packs. And best of all, it means you don't have to worry about dust! Now, these days the film you can get in the original formats are getting on in age, most are at the very least five years expired. But these were all fairly stable emulsions like Kodak Tmax 100 and Fuji Acros, even some colour negative and colour slide formats as well. Now you can interchange the film envelopes with the different holders, but it's not recommended. In an interesting twist, you can pick up some modern Quickload sheets from New55 that work in Polaroid holders, in their store you can get their Atomic-X, HP5, Tri-X, Portra 400, Portra 160, Tmax 400, and Velvia 100.
The Polaroid Blues
It's no secret that Instant Photography is on the rise! With the popularity of Fuji Instax and the continued improvement from the folks at Impossible, it shows that the photographic world still loves that instant print. While some might see Instax as boring and the Impossible I-1 out of their wallet's reach there are still plenty of vintage Polaroid cameras out there waiting to be used! The trouble is some of them are getting on in years. So Michael and Leslie have some tips on how to test out these old cameras to make sure it's worth saving. The first thing worth mentioning is that these cameras do not have built-in batteries, these batteries are found in the film packs themselves. And if you find a camera with a film pack in it, there's a chance the pack is dead. If you're new to instant, you may have to drop the money on a pack of film, or reach out of other Polaroid photographers see if they have a fresh pack. Once you insert the pack and close the door, you'll hear the iconic whir of the camera. That's all well and good if it works, but it simply shows the camera can be powered. Leslie usually loads her test packs up with a few already exposed frames and a darkslide. If the camera is in good working condition, it will eject the darkslide and then release a print with each shutter press. Of course, if it doesn't, then the camera isn't worth much, save displaying on a shelf. In the end, it all comes down to age, you have to remember the SX-70s are getting on 40 years old at this point Michael says, and many weren't built to last this long, especially the iconic and highly sought after Rainbow models. You'll get better results out of newer models, late model 600 cameras that were produced in the late 1980s and 1990s are a solid choice or even the new Spectra/Image cameras from the late 1990s and 2000s. And Leslie reminds us of one more thing, the counters on the camera are calibrated for the original ten shot packs, but do to their nature Impossible only can come in packs of 8. Of course, if you don't want to deal with all this, there is still Fuji Instax.
Book of the Show - Curious Cameras
Leslie has always had an eye for the strange, curious, and significant cameras in photographic history, so her choice for book of the show is a no-brainer. Another beautiful book from the George Eastman House, Curious Cameras by Todd Gustavson is the perfect fit. If you recognize Todd's name, we're not surprised as he is one of the curators at the Eastman House. Leslie continues, the book documents 183 cameras that cross the entire history of photography from the dawn of the format to the digital age today. The book presents each camera professionally photographed and even includes some image examples from the camera. Of course, the book just doesn't document the strange like the Olympus O-Product but cameras that hold a significant place in the history of photography like the Canon A-1. The book is far from a cure to G.A.S, but it, like other Eastman publications is a handsome book for any shelf or photography nut.
Minolta XG-M - The Photographer's SLR
There's no hiding that Mark has a soft spot for Minolta gear, and even after he dumped most of it, the system still found its way back. Today he has the Minolta XG-M, this 1981 Aperture Priority Auto-Exposure and full manual SLR is probably his favourite. While it might look like a chrome version of the X-700, you'd be pretty close as the Japanese market version is called the X-70. But the XG-M is a different camera. First of all, it doesn't have the full program mode like the X-700 and only came in the chrome colour. But the best part is that it doesn't suffer from the same capacitor problem that the X-700 did. These were well made and reliable cameras, Leslie adds, she knew that if she sold one, it wouldn't come back. They're built to last. Plus you have a line of fantastic lenses and accessories to back this camera, which can be picked up for an inexpensive price but gives you a solid camera that can take whatever you throw at it.
Buying Print - Showing the Artist some Love
The FPP Pool on Flickr has some beautiful work featured in it, and if you have some bare walls at your home, now is a chance to share some love, and Mat isn't just talking about clicking that favourite or like button. But rather he suggests putting your money where you mouse is, and asking for a print! Wait, you might be thinking, can I actually just flat out ask a photographer for a print? The answer is yes, the best way to do it is to send them a private message through email or Flickr and ask, and of course, ask for the cost. While you might think it's a good idea to offer to do an exchange, it might not be the best lead up. Plus you never know, they might just suggest it! Now Leslie does have a bit of caution to this. You don't just want a print that the photography has cranked on on his home inkjet printer. A good quality archival lab print that has both ink and paper rated for at the minimum 100 years, more is better. We would all like a proper silver print, but not all photographers have access to a darkroom. Thankfully, places like The Darkroom offer services that allow them to create a traditional silver print from a digital file. You can send your negatives off to Blue Moon Camera and they can produce a silver print, or just get a high-quality archival print made at a print lab. Or if you have the skills you can always rent time in a public darkroom. Mark and Mat do warn against going through some sort of third-party service for selling your work, just to ensure that you control the money and the quality.
Of course, you may just want to make your prints big, like really big. Or as Mat puts it, anything over 30" on one side you're starting to get into some heavy framing material and your walls won't be too happy. Mat has plenty of experience with big prints having done some well over 30" on one side. There are options he continues, float mount, gallery wrap, even aluminum if you have the right subject. But the new format he's really gotten into a face mounting, and no that's not slamming into a wall with your face. You get your image printed and mounted on a plexi/acrylic surface and backed. These make the images really pop according to Mat. The best part is that it's lightweight even for the big prints. Now if you think that this would cost an arm and a leg, think again the cost is fairly reasonable. And if you're doing a gallery show, there's a strong chance that after selling a few of them, you've earned that money back. Just make sure that your medium is good for giant enlargements of this size, according to Mat, there's no such thing as too small, but you can get too big.
That's it for this show, we'll be taking a summer break until the fall, but don't worry! There's still plenty going on if you hit up our site you can subscribe to our email newsletter which will keep you up to date on what is new and exciting with the Film Photography Project! Also be sure to revisit our podcast archives and listen to some of our gems. Be sure to stock up on film at the store and share your summer vacation photos in our pool! And we'll still be looking for your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter Film Photography Podcast PO Box 264 Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.