Greetings! I am Arnas Špaka, founder of the NoColorStudio initiative. Word is slowly getting around about the new film stock that NoColorStudio produces, but as we’re not that well known yet, I am here to talk a little more about it.
NoColorStudio is primarily a black and white film initiative, seeking to expand the experimental in analog photography. What that means is that I am on a constant lookout for interesting film stocks that could be released for everyone to enjoy and experiment with. That includes film used in the past for industrial purposes, as well as film emulsions that had been left behind or just not in use anymore.
I am constantly testing, shooting, determining ISO speeds and development times of untested or information-deprived emulsions in my studio. I myself had started my photographic journey working with expired films, so I always loved the experimental nature of that type of film.
Eventually I did come to the conclusion that I need the extra control of modern emulsions, yet they were too predictable, so I dipped my hands in alternative processes to find that middle section – between the experimental and predictable.
Why “NoColor”? Why only black and white?
The thing about black and white for me is that I think color is most of the time unnescessary in many compositions, unless it is very carefully controlled. My own photographic work is mostly based around finding things as I go with my camera in hand. I like to call it “noticing”.
Black and white photography deals with the line the shape the curve and placement – it’s what I look for when taking my shots.
Since I launched the initiative, I have found three amazing films for black and white photography that can be purchased at http://www.nocolorstudio.com.
This includes the first release – the “experimental no.5”, which is an orthochromatic high contrast, practically grainless ISO 5 film, previously used for archival purposes in the 1980s.
Next came “experimental no.10”, which is a highly versatile panchromatic ISO 100 film, which — in my novel findings — can be pushed up to EI 800 (3 stops). It is nearly infrared and the wide spectrum of the film renders tones beautifully and sharply.
The most recent release however was the unique “experimental no.12 Baryta”, which is a silver salt emulsion coated on a paper base and perforated for use in 35 mm cameras. It has a mid-range contrast grade and the grain looks like paper fibers. This last film was inspired by the original experiments of Henry Fox Talbot — the creator of the negative-positive process.
I receive quite a few questions about this film. The most often is “What? A negative film on a fiber paper base? How do I enlarge it?” – well it is quite possible to enlarge it, or even develop it in reversal chemistry to get positive images out of the same strip of 35mm film. I would recommend to soak the film in water before putting it in the enlarger, or waxing it with beeswax as H.F.Talbot did for his negatives.
I thought myself that this film release is a crazy idea, but the backing of this idea surprised me beyond belief. It is actually the most popular film in the studio now! I had no idea that the Studio would take off so fast. I guess I have many like-minded photographers out there, who are seeking to experiment!
The reason why I started out with the releases of 35mm film is because when I started shooting, that was the first format I tried. I feel a sort of connection to the simple and elegant 35mm film. It is easy to understand and work with. I would love to get more people interested in learning the unique craft of film photography and 35 mm film is a great way to start out.
There are awesome new things developing in the Studio right now as well.
I have been working on the release of the no.99 a.k.a. NoColorStudio secret film (secret for now).
It will be released from the end of November as part of a special edition pack along with a special edition of the no.10, shipped in a hand-made origami box. All instructions about the films will be included in the package. I also want to release the no.10 in large format as well, and it seems this will be possible soon as well.
Recently the studio greeted a new member – Gintas, who is an absolute technical genius in alternative 19th-century processes when it comes to photography. I have collaborated with him in many projects over the years and put my hands in some very nasty chemicals because of him, but well that’s what you need to do to find things for yourself.
Currently, we are working on a project to develop our very own 35mm box camera!
Since I am a large format photographer myself, my hope for the future on NoColorStudio is to move towards large format cameras and accessories. For now, I make hand-ground focusing screens, but film holders for wet-plate and sheet film are not that far away along with lensboards made out of walnut.
It has been my dream to create this dream job for myself, so I am going full swing about it.
I really have to thank all the photographers who are interested in NoColorStudio and are supporting this initiative by trying out our films!
If any readers would like to join the NoColorStudio mailing list to be up-to-date with all the new releases and news going on in the Studio — please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to the list. If you’d be interested to see some of my photographs you can find me @nocolorphotography on Instagram.
Regards from the baltic coast,
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