Embracing Grain


In my previous post, I talked about using coffee and peppermint as developing agents. Those samples I presented in that post were shot with my large format camera. My decision to return to using film several years ago was driven by the desire to both get the image feel that only a larger framed camera can get, and to reduce the impact of the grain of the film.

I recently received two rolls of Ilford HP5 135 film. This prompted me to recall into service my Canon AR-1 film camera. Unlike my medium and large format camera, this one has a built-in light meter, which I will confess is highly liberating.

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As expected, the images were quite grainy, as a result of the frame size and the [HP5] film itself. But rather than dismiss this effect, I’ve decided to embrace it. Grain instills a certain character, which can be simulated in digital, but it’s different (and that might simply be in the knowledge that it’s real).

The decision to make my own developers — using coffee and/or peppermint — has also played a role. First, I can make exactly what I need, so there is no waste. Second, the solution is less toxic than the store-bought developers, making it easier on me and easier to dispose of; the store-bought chemicals need to be disposed of at the hazardous waste centres.


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