Oh Projects, My Project

One of the problems with keeping an idea notebook is that when you’re called on to pick one to work on for a class, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose. Consequently, I ended up bringing in a half-dozen project proposals and discussed them with my instructor before picking one.

The funny thing is, it’s not the one I’ve been trying to do for 3 years now, and it’s not the one that I think would hit the most “fun” points for me. That’s ok, though. I like challenges and this one has ’em.

First of all, it’s completely film and darkroom based. No digital. This breaks my “I like hybrid processes” point. Second, as it currently exists, the project requires using a Holga, which is my least favorite medium-format camera. I like chaos and chance in my process, but I prefer it to be closer to the end rather than right at the beginning. Third, it involves a sort of storytelling that I’m not sure I can do. So challenges, yeah.

I’m still working on some of the details, so I’ll just give the gist here. Basically, I’m combining text and image in camera. It’s important to me for it to all be done in camera — as I get further along in the project, I hope it will become evident why.

Doing this involves figuring out combinations of text and subject in advance, and then figuring out how to get the text onto the same negative as the subject.

So first is the technical challenge, because knowing how I’m going to add the text will inform the types of images I’ll make. This weekend I used up two very old (1995!) rolls of color film testing some ideas. I’ll process them in Caffenol and go from there. I’ve processed color film in Caffenol before with varying success. Let’s hope this is one of the good ones!