{looking back} before and after

Back in college I learned photography on a 4x5 large format camera. We would shoot on 4x5 transparency film, but first we had to set up the shot, meter the lighting and then test it on polaroids before taking the final exposure. We only had one chance to get it right: if the lighting was wrong or something was off, we had to change it and hope it was correct for the final shot which we would be graded on. It was absolutely awful at the time, stressing out and running out of time...

But part of me misses those days. Looking back, there was more of a process to taking a picture instead of just shooting until it looks good.

I think I would enjoy it more now. I would have more than just four hours (believe me, four hours goes by extremely fast) to shoot and I could really play with the lighting and have a chance to explore the camera, something I never really got to do because we were always rushing to meet deadlines. I could shoot more now instead of just the required assignment; 4x5 polaroids, transparency film and developing was extremely expensive, even more so for a poor college kid.

Below are the final results. (I have a fondness for the fish picture because it was my very first attempt at shooting it. I ended up having to reshoot for some reason and my second attempt was with a Canon 5D. I like how it evolved in stages, from a very basic and simple black & white polaroid, to color transparency film, to a digital file, and then the final result with all the retouching.)
The orchids picture also has a story behind reshooting it - though not a very happy one. A fellow student acted as my assistant on the shoot and he was the one to load the film. But it ended up that he'd loaded the film backwards, resulting in a dim, ghostly red image instead of vibrant color. So I had to book studio time, check out equipment (funnily enough, my now fiancé was the check out guy!), reshoot, find someone I barely knew to drive me to the photo lab to get it developed in time for class the next day. And I still got a bad grade for turning it in 15 minutes late because a friend had to go pick it up from the lab for me because I had other classes beforehand.

Yeah, photography classes were pretty awful sometimes.


MargeauxPhoto said...

Oh man. I remember being so jealous of you because your shots were always perfect. Mr.Sheffield would use you as an example of what our shots "should look like". Lol...I was horrible at lighting class...I got C's both times because Mr.Sheffield would always make me nervous so I got super stressed and ran out of time. I just couldn't get the lighting ratios perfect like you could. I remember seing your glass shots, where we had to do the three different lighting set-ups for glass and he used yours as an example. Mine were horrid and I was livid. Haha. I'm just not a studio still life kind of person. I remember seeing your shot with the red background, the glass, and the yellow flower and I was so mad because I knew I would have never thought of doing anything like that and couldn't have pulled it off, even if I had tried. I need natural light and people. But you...you ARE amazing at what you do, you always have been even in those first days. :) (Sick as it is, part of me wishes I could go back so I could pay more attention and try HARDER. Lol.)

Tali Schiffer said...

I totally get you and sometimes I feel the same, especially since I used to shoot 4x5 all the time, which is the complete opposite shooting process than the digital SLR.