This Story begins back in the year 2000. I had been an in-house industrial photographer working for an engineering and manufacturing firm for the previous 20 years. It had been about four years since the company I worked for relocated, shut down my darkroom, and outsourced all film processing.
Without access to a darkroom, I was anxious to get my first digital camera for personal work, a Canon Powershot G1. To facilitate this purchase I sold my Fujifilm GW670II Professional to a relative. In a short while, the G1 bricked itself. Staying with digital photography from that time on, I hated myself for selling that Fuji 6×7.
Fast forward to 2019, recently retired, and feeling retrospectful, I acquired a used Epson Perfection V750 to scan my old negatives. Scanning those negatives and chromes, I became even more haunted by the regret of selling that Fuji 6×7 and now it was time to kill that feeling.
I finally found a pristine Fujifilm GW690II Professional on eBay; no lens fungus, with 2600 shutter actuations. For me, this camera is the closest I can get without having to resort to a 4×5 view camera. It’s simply a good lens on a sturdy body, reliably transporting a big negative. No batteries or electronics.
Loaded with the old standby Tri-X 400, and using a Weston Master IV with an incident light dome, I went to Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, CT where once the rich and powerful of that city are interred, including P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb. It’s one of my favorite places to shoot. Previously, one of my images from Mountain Grove was published in the book, “199 Cemeteries To See Before You Die” by Loren Rhoads.
Developed in Kodak D-76 1:1, this is the first roll of film I processed in over 23 years. Between 1980 and 1996, I shot and processed black and white film from 35mm to 8×10 and everything in between.
Now I realized what I missed.
It’s that anxiousness that comes over you after the shutter clicks and before the darkroom lights come on, and you wonder if that image will be there as you wanted it. There is no reviewing the shot on a little screen. No reassurance until the negatives are washed and hung.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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