Last week I carried my Burke & James 8×10 camera, tripod, film, meter, a bottle of water, a set of portrait prints I’d done, and some sunscreen to Dolores Park. On the advice of two photographer friends, I decided to setup the camera there and take portraits of people who stopped to ask about it.
In about four hours, I had taken four portraits: three young guys (Noah, Alec, Julian), Nathan (pictured here), Sebastian and Memphis, and Darren. In each case, I answered some questions about the camera, showed them some of the portraits I’ve done, and showed them one of the negatives from the prints. Then I asked if they would let me take their picture. I took down their names and email addresses so I could eventually send them back an image from my camera.
Taking one picture an hour for four hours doesn’t sound like a like, but I don’t really have a benchmark for shooting strangers with a 13 pound camera on a tall wooden tripod.
My “fun fact” for the quick portrait session is exposing a full 80 square inches of film at once. That’s like shooting an entire roll of film for one image.
Film is Kodak 320TXP shot at box speed, exposed at 1/50, and developed in Rodinal 1+50 for 14 minutes. Lens is a Gundlach Rapid Rectigraphic, wide open at f/8.
I think next time I will keep the subjects a bit closer to the lens, and make certain that it’s well centered on the film.