Embracing the Trinidadian proclivity for unreliability and tardiness, happy independence greetings to you a day late.
Pentax 67, Kodak Tri-X film, 2014. Botched film development: such metaphor.
Trinidad Looks Like a Garbage Dump (Because It Is)
So here we are, home again, and we're trying to put together a new gallery (the hard way):
...we've been trying to get get a picture along the lines of this:
...but instead, all we see is this:
It is absolutely shocking: Trinidadians have to be the nastiest people on earth. Shame on all of you!
Caroni, Trinidad. Most of you would not know that 'instant film' did not die with the demise of Polaroid. Different instant films are produced by Fuji and by The Impossible Project. Here we used Fuji's black and white instant film. The dynamic range is pretty low but on the upside the film ISO is 3000. We use special film holders for the large format camera and for the Rolleiflex to accommodate the film. Btw, the cow signed a model-release.
Rolleiflex, Fuji FP3000B film, 2014.
Old Caroni Petrol Station, Brechin Castle
An old Caroni petrol station that has seen better days.
Large format 4X5 pinhole camera, Ilford Delta 100 film, 2012.
The 'Taken for Granted'
This is a really old picture taken right after the annual (traditional) sugercane burning exercise. It originates from the late 80s, we guess. In parts of Australia there are sugarcane-lined tracks just like this one. It is a surreal feeling to walk along them knowing that our trails in Trinidad are all but gone.
Camera, film, date unknown.
Probably the most obvious thing to point the camera lens at. Even so, Fujichrome Velvia with its limited 5-stop dynamic range adds some atmosphere and mood to this picture. Not all pretty pictures need be intellectually vapid yet, sadly, most are.
Nikon FA, Fujichrome Velvia 50 film, 1995.
Grasslands of Home
So very easy to miss the obvious staring us in the face: grasslands, the landform character of Trinidad.
Pentax 67, Kodak Tri-X film, 2014. This roll of film is having a seriously bad 'silver halide' day. A combination of expired fixer and temperature difference between developing/fixer stage has caused reticulation and clumping of the silver in the emulsion. Even crippled thus, film brings an image home irrespective.
Grasslands of Elsewhere
In Europe grasslands are preserved as national parks; places frozen in time for centuries. Our grasslands will all be gone within ten years or less. This park in Scotland hosts more than 2 million visitors per year.
Rolleiflex, Kodak Portra 160VC, 2012.
Old Galleries Restored
Trinidad Dreamscape is pleased to announce the restoration of most of our old galleries
(images including and prior to 2010). Galleries will be updated with pictures taken over the past four years in due course (you know how it is with us).
Rare to see a wooden fence nowadays: it is usually of the rusting chain-link variety.
Pentax 67, Ilford SFX film, 2014.
A Moment in Time
'A moment in time' is all photography is about, really. That, and a healthy dose of humility and respect for the things and people captured at the film-plane.
Pentax 67, Ilford SFX film, 2014.
Ugh: Digital Camera Image
Digital cameras are a waste of money for us. For each new camera we keep hoping that the image quality will finally come close to film only to be disappointed again and again. We got fed-up a year ago and sold off all of our digital cameras: we've been digital-camera-free for over a year. Our bank account is much happier and the pictures are much better. Digital cameras also make photography so boring. We can just imagine a brain PET (fMRI) scan of a digital camera user during the act of taking pictures as being uniformly blue: indicative of zero brain activity. 8-)
Nikon D800E, 2013. We tried really hard in post-processing to get this to look like 35mm Fujichrome Velvia 50 (we even included some grain). We're not too sure we succeeded. It's less of a hassle to just shoot the real thing rather than emulate film with a digital camera.
Mysteries of the Deep
The Deep. One day, sometime in the future, all the mysteries of the deep will have been unlocked. As science progresses we get to a point where mysteries become the mundane: we get robbed of something, perhaps. Photography was a mystery to many people not too long ago. Digital cameras have changed all of that and now, well, the mystery has faded away.
Canon EOS 5, Kodak Ektachrome 100VS film, 1998.
Rolleiflex, Ilford Delta 100 film, 2009.
Nighttime at Waterloo cremation site, Trinidad: not the smartest place to be at night.
Hasselblad, Ilford Delta 100 film, 2012. In our experience the Hasselblad is one of the hardest cameras to hand-hold [steady] at slow shutter speeds (1 second here). This shot is a bit blurry, but we like it anyway.
A storm builds over wild grasses that have taken over where sugarcane once grew, Couva, Trinidad.
Arca-Swiss large format camera, Rollei Maco film, 2014.
We look at this picture and wonder if it brings to a close our large format adventures in Trinidad. Whenever we return home to take pictures we really don't concentrate on taking pictures, we concentrate on staying alive while taking pictures. Using a large format view camera in the field makes us vulnerable to criminal entities who seem to occupy every corner of the country. That's why we're crouched down in the grass taking a picture - essentially hiding from four unsavoury characters who materialised out of nowhere. It's a pretty poor way to take pictures.
Arca-Swiss large format camera, Kodak TMY film, 2014. Front and rear standards swung.
Kodak Double X Motion Picture film (expired 1977), Hasselblad X-Pan, 2014. Amazing we can still get a picture out of this stuff. Contrast builds very fast even with stand development and we have to overexpose by quite a bit to compensate for the film's insensitivity due to age. Will your digital camera sensor be taking pictures forty years from now? Hehe.
Along a Curbside I Gallery
Old Sugarcane Trails
Old sugarcane trail, no longer in existence. The failure of Trinidad and Tobago to recognise historical heritage within the larger context of cultural landforms shaped over hundreds of years in part reflects an apathetic and directionless society. In the developed world iconic landforms shaped over the millenia by farmer communities are protected as national treasures: the Highlands of Scotland; Tuscany, Italy; the Palouse, Washington State, USA; Flanders, Belgium are but a few of countless examples. Devoid of sensitivity towards what has come before; or to the few things that remain to remind us of the road we have collectively travelled is the hallmark of a society doomed to failure: there is no foresight without hindsight.
Arca-Swiss 4x5 large format camera, Kodak TMAX 400 film, 2014.