Flashing Can Be Good
But, I’m hear to dispel the myth. I think flashing can be good. Darkroom flashing I mean. That’s what you thought I was talking about right?
Flashing, doing what we were told NEVER to do. “Good Gosh Millhouse, don’t turn the light on in the darkroom when your working, it will ruin your life!”
So for years, I kept, hard and fast, to this cardinal rule. NEVER turning the light on. Then, I made a mistake. I made several mistakes, all at once, and and new door opened, one which held almost infinite possibilities.
I made this picture several years ago. This is a scan of the print, done on Kodak Ektalure paper, a gem of the distant photographic past, a legend if you will. Ektalure was unique. It was also loaded with Cadmium, a not so great part of our distant past, at least in analog terms. Cadmium, a heavy metal, is still around in many forms today. Just ask our toxic barge operators, the guys in clean suits.
Anyway, back to my ramble. I had this print half in, half out of the developer, was running my hand over it for some reason, then accidently turned the light on. Realized my mistake, turned the light off, stopped, fixed, and went, “Huh.”
Then the gloves were off. The darkroom was filled with flying developer, rubber gloves, spray bottles, flashlights, those green sticks that glow in the dark, fireworks, gasoline and jet fuel.
Other printers quickly moved away, realizing how far I would take this new technique.
This, a contact sheet, I believe from Southern France, gypsies. There are other flashed prints from this series, others I will upload in the coming days.
I thought, all those years ago, that these prints would fade, wouldn’t last, but they look exactly like the day I made them. Crazy I know.
My scanner doesn’t fit an 11×14 prints, but you’ll get the idea.
By the way, those two frames that are squared. My edits. I remember shooting those. Leica M4-P, 28mm. Right at the barely handholdable level. I was so close to that guy on the left, a stranger, and was holding my breath, knowing I was probably going to get a little camera movement. It was so quiet, and I was still able to squeeze off a few frames.
Flash on people.