Why does it take so long?
Recently project participants were asking the very reasonable question why it would take so long for me to provide some imagery for review. Which is why I decided to describe with an example what happens after I have exposed a roll of film.
My sample is out of the 2016 production in Nunavut. In the image you see me taking pictures in the Agnico Eagle Meadowbank open-pit gold mine in the Kivalliq Region. That was in early May 2016. At first the exposed film rolls travelled with me from the mine site back south, 110 kilometres on snowy gravel to Baker Lake, where I was residing for the time of the production. The first film storage place for a number of weeks was the fridge of my generous project hosts.
By June 2016 I had 3 light proof bags filled with exposed material and flew with them to Rankin Inlet, where production was continued for another week. From Rankin Inlet the films' journey kept going to Winnipeg for an intermediate stay, then further to Saskatoon and from there north again, to La Ronge. Here was the next fridge located in which the film rolls were kept for a while. Later in June, after the photography in La Ronge, the film rolls kept rolling and moved with me to southwestern Saskatchewan, to Kindersley. Here they stayed in a nicely cool vegetable cellar of a farmer’s home for some more weeks. After finishing production by the end of July in Saskatchewan, the bags with exposed film went on their next trip, now flying out to Toronto. It's the second time that all film rolls get taken out of the suspicious looking black bags sealed with tape, then, one by one, go through the meticulous hands of airport security personnel.
In Toronto the film rolls' new home was a very hospitable fridge at Queen's Quay West. Some rolls I processed during the 2016 summer in Toronto, though the majority embarked on yet another flight, now going from Toronto via Munich to Berlin in mid-October 2016. The remaining 150 not yet processed rolls got then stored in my own darkroom facility.
Due to the huge amount of material film processing was folding well into 2017. After return from production in Canada, I immediately have to take care of work for income (I do not receive funding for the WorkSpace Canada Project). That naturally slows down the post production of my project work. Finally, on February 20th, I was able to announce in this blog that all 210 rolls from the 2016 production were (manually) processed. By May 2017 the next task, the wet printing of 210 contact sheets, was accomplished. Meaning, one year after I took the pictures at the AGNICO mine site in Nunavut, I actually saw the result of this work.
From the moment on I have contact sheets I am able to print on gelatine silver paper from the negative. But I still had not the digital files from the 2016 negatives. I had planned to digitize them in the fall of 2017 in Toronto but couldn’t afford the travel that year. The next opportunity to catch up was in 2018, when I took two loaded film binders back westward to Toronto in September. In mid-December 2018 I then had the great opportunity to use Ryerson University’s scanning facility for days on end and right now, in the spring of 2019, I refine, crop and touch-up the hundreds of raw scans I gained back then.
I am honestly very sorry that the post-production takes so long. Maybe telling this true sample story can help explain the work load which is involved, causing the long periods of time passing after the actual photography. In case you are a project participant curious about results - thank you especially for your patience and do not hesitate to approach me with your request.