Sunday, 03 February 2019 12:19

The long story from exposure to final image

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Film rolls that travelled with me during the 2018 production Film rolls that travelled with me during the 2018 production © by Martin Weinhold

What happens after a film is exposed?

Since time and again project participants are asking the very reasonable question why it takes so long for me to provide some imagery for review, I wanted to describe with a sample story what happens after I did expose a roll of film for the project's collection.

Gold Mine 2016 WEBMy 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.

Airport Chesterfield Inlet WEBBy 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 was the second time that all film rolls got taken out of the suspicious looking black bags sealed with tape, then, one by one, went through the meticulous hands of airport security personnel.

Contact Sheets 2017 WEBIn 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 had to take care of contract work for income. That naturally slows down the post production of my artistic 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 very photographic work.

Scanning Toronto 2018 WEBHaving all the contact sheets ready in May 2017 enabled me to finally review the photos for printing on gelatine silver paper, though, I still had no digital files from the negatives. I had planned to digitize them in the fall of 2017 in Toronto but couldn’t afford to travel to Canada that year. The next opportunity for catching up on the due task came 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. With the result that in spring of 2019, I could begin to refine, crop and touch-up the hundreds of raw scans I gained in Toronto.

I am honestly very sorry that post-production always takes so long. Maybe telling this sample story can help explain the work load which is involved and which is causing the long periods of wait after the actual photography. In case you are a project participant and curious about results - thank you especially for your patience and please do not ever hesitate to approach me personally with your request.


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