Long Exposure Portraits – Further Thinking

Posted on October 26, 2012


I have been developing my ideas on this project which I need to work on over the coming three months. I have decided to do a series of portraits in line with the ideas expressed in my previous post here. The portraits will be modern day takes on the portraits made by Hill and Adamson. My original thinking was that I could do these as self portraits, but I’ve never been entirely happy with this as I have already done one series of self portraits. I am now thinking that I need a series of ‘Older Professional Men’ for my subjects, as was the case for Hill and Adamson’s work. Having given this some thought I believe I have the ideal group – members of my Rotary Club. The challenge will be to persuade some of them to work with me. They are all professionals with occupations or former occupations ranging from Tax Inspectors to Chemists. What I will do is use one of the poses per my previous post for each of my subjects. I hope to make around 10 portraits in all.

I have tested out the pinhole idea further and to be honest it is likely to prove impractical as exposure times allowing for reciprocity failure for the film will run to 5 minutes. My previous work suggests that a maximum of one minute is about right to ensure that the image does not become just a blur. A minute is also consistent with the exposure times which Hill and Adamson used. (University of Glasgow).I will look into whether I can find ways of supporting my subjects (heads). What I can do is to use slow film 0r low ISO (digital) combined with low continuous lighting and small apertures to give me exposures of about 25 to 45 seconds – this seems about right. I plan to shoot in black and white medium format and to make the photographs in both film and digital. I may try to develop the film myself which is why I need the back up of the digital work. (Chicken!!).

Next step is to do some test images using myself and to start sounding out my Rotary colleagues.

University of Glasgow The Calotype Process [Available from: http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/specialcollections/collectionsa-z/hilladamson/calotypeprocess/ ] [Accessed on 26/10/12]