Thursday, March 29, 2018

New Orleans on Film

I had been to New Orleans once before and just started shooting film for a project I later called "Wanderlust." At that time, in 2012, I was just beginning to photograph with my Crown Graphic camera again after years of not shooting consistently. My goal was to bring my Crown Graphic every time I traveled. Most of the film shot then in New Orleans, back in 2012, wasn't very good. I was nervous and had issues with exposure, focus, and dust! Six years later, I was determined to photograph in the St. Louis cemetery and Garden District again.

I will probably never give up shooting film, specifically large format, 4 x 5 film. It's exciting to see the film after hand processing it, scanning it, and editing-figuring out what worked and what was a good idea at the time. My challenge now is to not second guess a shot, to use the film I've loaded and not hesitate if I am compelled to photograph, no matter who is around. Obviously, New Orleans is unlike any American city I've every visited and it's always a gift to be able to go there. After my first trip, I watched "When the Levees Broke" by Spike Lee and will probably rewatch it soon.

The Lafayette and St. Louis cemeteries are perfect for black and white film photography. The day I went there was sunny with puffy white clouds diffusing the light, which is also very good for black and white photos. (I did manage to get a sunburn though.) Below are scans of the film, the shots that I found most successful, with no Photoshop 'dusting' or major edits, yet. I'll do that work in the darkroom. Even though I tried some new techniques to remove little dusty bits, I'm realizing that a brush with an anti static cloth is probably my best bet to remove as much dust as possible and just keep my fingers crossed. Even with the dust bits, I love the way film looks. I will add, only in New Orleans in a cemetery can I walk around with an old, large format camera and not have a single tourist talk to me about it. I suspect it is because everything there is a little old and a little strange and my thing isn't all that novel.

St Louis Cemetery No. 2

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2
I underexposed this but I like it too. My motto is it's not right if I haven't underexposed it.

Mary Hill Don't Cry, Don't Lose Your Foot. Note the tourist in the background. 
Cemetery with the Power Ball sign

Downtown New Orleans

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