This post is going to be half photo geek and half waffle on social media, so those who are not so much into the geek part please stick around for the discussion at the end.
I have predominantly shot in colour since diving back into film photography. Firstly, colour photos are something that I was have always gravitated towards, I find it easier to frame and understand the light in colour. Secondly, when I started developing film at home I did so with colour film making it more cost-effective to shoot film as a hobby.
I have used black and white film, predominantly within the home, and pushed to 2 or 3 stops, mainly as a solution to shooting in lower light. Some of these shots made it into the “Living with Rohan” blog post recently. I also shot a roll of film around Manchester last year, and I enjoyed taking that and was happy with the results, and recently photos of a friend’s band during rehearsal, so I do occasionally use proper black and white. Some examples are below, these are top row Iford Delta and last row HP5.
I have had a couple of rolls of Ilford XP2 in the fridge for a while after getting them super cheap from a camera shop that was unfortunately closing down. Xp2 is a black and white film which is developed in the same chemistry and process as colour film, which means I can develop it at home with my existing set up.
It a 400 speed film which I shot at 200 on the Mamiya 7. I knew where I wanted to go and shoot as I had walked around this part of Lancaster earlier in the week and spotted a couple of photos I though might work well in black and white.
The subject matter fascinated me, the “flat earth” theories have been popping up on the internet for a while now, so seeing the graffiti on my walk caught my eye. I wonder what is driving this and other conspiracy theories at the moment? I get the impression there is a smallish part of the population that just have no trust in science or mainstream news. The concept that we have all been duped by the “Spherical earth” conspiracy is a hard one to get my head around. An enquiring mind is a good thing, and challenging the accepted norm has led to a lot of new discoveries in all fields of science. Flat earth theories though I fear do not fit into that category. Also the concept that the park bench is where we should be picking up our local news amuses me, but I guess in the current climate it could be argued it’s about as accurate as using Facebook.
Back to the photos themselves, whilst I like them, they may take a little of the deep contrast of other classic black and white film, I have another roll to use, and this time I will shoot it at box speed. I will continue to use Ilford hp5 indoors. I have just done a session with a local band where I have used hp5 pushed to 1600 on 35 and 120 film. These have gone off to Latent Image to develop, and excited to see the results.
The rest of the set from the roll of XP2 is below.
So what black and white film would you suggest to try next. Any tips or resources for developing black and whte at home for me? Lastly, what’s the local news on your park benches?