5 Frames… With Kodak Tri-X 400 (EI 1600 / 120 format / Hasselblad 500CM) – by Michael C. Duke

Written by and published on
Filed under ,

My 94-year-old grandmother, Jeanne Samuels, lives a fully independent life. Her independence, however, was threatened in early 2017 after she fell in her home in Houston and broke her right kneecap. The injury required surgery, then intensive rehab at a residential facility to aid the healing process.

I visited my grandmother most days during her month in rehab. She allowed me to photograph the entire journey, from her initial trip to the E.R., to the day she drove herself back to work. (Yes, she still works.) The story of her recovery is told through a select series of 80, chronologically arranged images, all shot on 120 film.

The five images here, were made on a single roll of Kodak Tri-X 400, pushed to EI 1600. The sequence records my grandmother being transported from the rehab facility (by bus) to her first, post-surgery doctor appointment with her orthopaedic surgeon. During that appointment, she had the staples removed from her incision, followed by an X-ray of her knee; then, she returned to the rehab facility and walked 50 feet for the first time with help from an O.T./P.T. nurse.

The camera used for the series was a Hasselblad 500CM with an early version of the Zeiss Distagon 60mm f/4. Given the fact that most of the series would be shot indoors (and entirely hand-held), I needed to push my film a couple of stops. Doing so played to the strength of Tri-X 400 and added even more contrast, and hopefully emotion, to the images.

As my grandmother was relearning how to walk, I was teaching myself how to shoot and develop black and white film. Thankfully, my grandmother did make a full recovery, and I encountered a few technical problems in the creation of this series, which I titled “Fall & Rise”.

~ Michael

Want to submit your own 5 Frames...?

Go right ahead, submissions are open! Get your 5 frames featured on by submitting your 350+ word article by either using this Google form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.

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.

Share your knowledge, story or project

At the heart of EMULSIVE is the concept of helping promote the transfer of knowledge across the film photography community. You can support this goal by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.

If you like what you're reading you can also help this personal passion project by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and giving as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.


Camera review: getting back on the bike with the Intrepid 4×5 – by Phil Harrison

Photography: Off at the door – Shot on Silberra ULTIMA 200 (120 format)


5 thoughts on “5 Frames… With Kodak Tri-X 400 (EI 1600 / 120 format / Hasselblad 500CM) – by Michael C. Duke”

  1. Awesome. Love the story AND the accompanying photos. You really captured this well. The TriX is perfect. Thanks for sharing.


Join the discussion