If I asked a room of a thousand photographers if they ever wanted to shoot medium format, barring one or two who like to go against the grain, everyone’s hand would likely go up. Asking for a show of hands from the same group how many shoot medium format, or own a medium format camera, the number would probably be around 1 to 2%. To a large extent, it’s because we all primarily shoot digital today, and the cost of digital medium format systems is akin in number to Haiti’s GDP.
The desire though, is still there and growing. Add to that the sort of resurgence, if you will, of film, and more people are finding joy and their first experiences with medium format using older film systems without a digital back. After all, you can get a Mamiya RB67 Pro for only a few hundred dollars, or RZ67 Pro II for a few hundred more – WITH a lens.
When Photographer Andrew Jamieson was to give a presentation on his medium format film process, he created a video to do it. Using his Hasselblad, it takes you through the entire process from loading his Tri-X film, through to metering and shooting, developing, and even through to scanning and post processing the images in Photoshop. The video is only 4 minutes long, but gives a taste of what the process is to newcomers, and a reminiscent lick to those of us who’ve done it before.
One of the things that’s great about this process, is that you can do this in your home, or even a dorm, without the need for a darkroom or specialized equipment like an enlarger, since you’ll be scanning into Photoshop. Sure you can buy older enlargers online for not too much these days, but again they take up a bit of space, and this process fits the modern digital sharing platform. It kind of makes me want to go buy some R3 all-in-one solution and shoot some film right now and develop at home.
As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time in dark rooms developing, a few things stuck out to me about his process, like the fact his wash wasn’t done with temperature monitored water. I will caution that his method of disposing the developer leaves a bit to be desired. There are other better procedures to follow for getting rid of these chemicals, and down the drain isn’t really one of them. In his defense, developer isn’t all that bad comparing to the silver in fixer/hypo process, and it’s clear he doesn’t dispose of that the same and reuses it.
All in all, an inspiring video.