Medium Format Brick Wall Portrait in Red

Red tinted image of brick industrial building corner

As the most pandemic restrictions lifted and I could leave my neighborhood in spring, I committed to getting out of the house WITH CAMERAS.

I have a habit of stocking up on film when I’m feeling flush, and I must have felt especially flush in 2016 – 2018: I stockpiled 100+ film packages in my refrigerator or on shelves.  A sale here, a Kickstarter there, and “suddenly,” the dedicated film drawer AND refrigerator door shelves overflowed.  All of this film has been steadily sliding toward ever-closer expiration dates as the seasons turned while I sat indoors, waiting for the end of the pandemic, or at least positive health trends.  Expired film behaves strangely, but I decided to go out and shoot it, with hopes of getting all of my stockpile exposed this year before ordering fresh film.

I’m making progress!

This image, from June 2021, is especially representative of ME.  It has many of my core San Francisco surface obsessions.  There is old brick (and lots of it) showing signs of patching over time; there are visible utilities, including the power pole (not exactly vertical) and its wires, the fire hydrant, and dark exterior pipes; there is a fire escape casting its shadows sharply on the brick; and there are hints of the location, with a view that peeks around the corner and shows a few distant landmarks.  The sun is high and bright, the surfaces are harshly lit, and the shadows are all well defined.

Ordinarily, this photo would be in conventional black-and-white, but I’ve chosen to go with “Lomochrome Redscale,” an experimental emulsion from The Lomographic Society that is spooled backward, so the film base itself serves as a color filter.  I treat it like monochrome, though realizing it enhances bricks makes it feel like it is performing some special trick just for me.

I used the “Extended Range” version of the film, which can be exposed between 50 – 200 ASA, depending on your intentions.  I’ve had these particular rolls in my refrigerator for years, so I should have known better than to shoot at 100ASA – I should have given it more light.  (Now I know, so I did learn something new.)  The scans show serious under-exposure in many of the negatives, but the good folks at Photoworks (SF) corrected for this in the excellent prints they made for me.

The results are satisfying enough that, once I’ve cleared my 100 roll/package stockpile, I may need to order fresh rolls of the current edition of Redscale to get enough images for a small photo book…

It’s good to be out with a camera again!