One of the major problems I had to face in this domain was my complete lack of organisation. Even if I could produce some decent pictures I quickly realised that I couldn’t reproduce them. Somebody believe that it’s practically impossible to print two exact copies of a photo in a dark room, for many reason but mainly because conditions changes constantly and because there are many factors influencing the result. I didn’t really decided if I agree with them, for sure you can produce two copies that really look a lot alike though. What you need is: organisation.
It’s extremely important to record precisely what you have done: what lens and what projector you used, what aperture, times, filters, paper, film, etc. This operation cannot be done in an approximate way. I know it, I’ve experienced myself. It won’t take you anywhere.
Little results and frustration even made me doubt about the meaning of keep trying. So I started to apply some methods and I started a journal. Much, much more I still have to learn. I keep wasting paper and time, of course, but now I can clearly feel the benefits of being in control. By knowing what I’ve done and how I’ve done it, I can easily avoid mistakes and improve the quality of my prints. In this way I can also correctly reproduce pictures after a long time. Besides, the journal looks really cool 😀
The photos you see have been shot with a Rolleiflex “Old Standard” 621 with the help of my best model, of course my fiancée Jing. The camera is a real pearl in the TLR (twin-lenses reflex) universe. It’s been produced in the mid 30s and after 80 years it still works perfectly and gives stunning results. I found it in a second hand shop for 20 euros in a rather good shape. I had to clean it from a lot of oxide and some of the paint fell off but it works smoothly at every speed and has no mud or scratches on the optical elements.