Test shoot and final shoot

First film I shoot was dramatically overexposed, to the point that hardly anything was visible on it. It was the first time I have ever shot on film in the studio and completely forgot to use the flash meter. Transparency film is a very difficult and demanding medium. I was advised by AJ to use bracketing to make sure my exposure is correct. Second time, I’ve used a flash meter and bracketing. I got 34 out of 36 shots, with various exposures:

contact sheet

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 15.54.46 All photos of a condom didn’t quite work. I’ve used a round container, what made it much different from the rest of the objects. The measurement from the container are also visible on he object, therefore I can’t use it.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 15.57.44I quite like the shapeless form of it, but it’s hard to see clearly the bottle cap in it. The object doesn’t fill the frame, which also make it to different from the others.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 16.01.48 This object was shot from the completely wrong angle, marks from the mold are visible and it’s clear that this is an artificial encapsulation.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 16.02.11This one is the best shot out of the whole lot. It looks natural, is nicely lit, the sweetener wrapper is clearly visible inside.

There are two possible combinations of photos. They are all different, but few of them were molded in the same way and the same mold, therefore are similar. They would compose a nice series, however I feel like it will be to ‘artificial’ in the way. The whole idea behind the project is about potential amber fossils, which are never exactly the same. That’s why I think the best way to compose the series will be to pick a selection of differently shaped, mismatched but still linked objects. I have originally picked 8 photographs: Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 21.33.24

They have all been trimmed slightly to fit the frame, however cigarette wrapper appear to be a completely different size. Penny, cigarette butt, can puller, screw and a zip puller are all from the same mould, which make them look simalar, they are two different, however, to create the series. I also really like Durex and sugar wrapper, which are probably two best shots. Cigarette butt is also really good. After careful consideration, I picked 7 shots:

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 22.00.10

4 of which I’m going to exhibit:

sugar pull durex cigbutt

h I’m going to exhibit:

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Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


Photographic paper and printing

I’m considering getting my prints done at DS Colour Labs. I’ve used them before and they are usually very professional and reliable. They offer a few different types of paper:

  • Permajet FB Gold Silk 315 – satin/silk finish; 315 gsm; vivid colour reproduction; acid free; perfect for portraits or landscape reproduction
  • Museum 310 – slightly textured, 310 gsm; high degree of detail; neutral PH, mould made; good for wildlife and landscape photographs
  • Titanum Lustre 280 – textured finish; silver resin coated; 280 gsm; great tonal range; vibrant colours; great for HDR images; has many great reviews
  • Portrait White 280 – acid-free; 290 gsm; bright white base; great for portraits and high key images; excellent highlights and shadow details
  • SmoothArt Silk 300 – vibrant, silk sheen, a high level of colour vibrancy; ideal for landscape, wildlife and creative digital art

I think Titanum Lustre will work best for this project. I need a paper which will enhance the colours of the photos, which this one appears to be.

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Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


Transparency film

When I came up with the idea for this FMP, I wanted to use a digital camera and photograph my objects with a macro lens. However, after one of the tutorials with AJ, who convinced me to use use a film camera and transparency film, I’ve changed the approach. After doing some research, I’ve found out that this particular type of film was used by my dad, when I was little. I have an extensive collection of slides from my childhood, so even though it sounds really cheesy, going this route will make this project more personal and even more important.

Transparency film – also known as diapositive, reversal or chrome. Creates a positive image on the transparent surface – opposite to negative or black and white films – which than can be used to create slides for projection. Unlike large prints, slide projections are a fairly cheap form of presenting a photograph in the large format. It creates vibrant images,very closely capturing the actual tones and colours from the exposure. Transparency film can be used in standard 35 mm film cameras, as well as in medium format cameras. Mounted slides are also used for motion picture films. Here’s a quick guide to different types of reversal films available (2):







Velvia 50



Dynamic color reproduction.




Very Fine

For controlled lighting using tungsten lamps.


Provia 100F



For use with daylight, natural color depiction.


Astia RAP


Extremely High

Natural and exquisite skin tones for portraiture and fashion.


Velvia 100



Out door use, extremely sharp images and rich saturation.


Provia 400x



General purpose film able to handle wide exposures.

I think for this project the best one to use will be either Fuji Velvia 100 or Provia 400x Update: After further research, I’ve found out that Provia 400x has been discontinued and Provia 100f is a recommended replacement.

Update: I was unable to get hold of either of above, therefore I decided to use Agfa instead.


  • vibrant and rich colours
  • slide is a film straight from the camera, which could be a disadvantage in a way, but it’s not manipulated,i.e. in the darkroom therefore the work is truly and 100% mine.
  • much better control over the final result and potential prints
  • higher contrast


  • smaller exposure latitude (compared to the negative film)

Mounting and projecting:

Since I’m using a positive film, I decided to go down this route completely and instead of exhibiting prints, I’m going to use projections. This can obviously go wrong in many ways, but I will try to minimize the risk, by doing an extensive research and analyze all the potential disadvantages.
tutorial for mounting slides. Absolutely awful quality, but very straightforward and clear.

Glass mounts:


  • sharper image,
  • firm hold of the slide,
  • protects against mechanical damage, such as dust or scratches


  • more expensive,
  • hard to avoid dust and marks on the mounted slide
  • condensation may occur during projection with a high voltage lamp
 Gepe Glass Slide Mounts Anti-Newton – box of 20 – £4.99

Glassless (open frame) mounts:


  • no risk of dust getting trapped in the slide


  • Don’t protect slide from a mechanical damage


  • It’s not recommended to exceed projection time of:
    • 5 hours for Fujichrome (4 for Velvia)
    • 2,5 hours for Ektchrome
    • 2 hours for Agfachrome
    • 1 hour for Kodakchrome
  • If slides are non-replaceable, it is highly recommended to keep projection time to the absolute minimum, as it  can damage the slide.
  • It is also not recommended to use high-intensity quartz halogen lamps


Equipment needed for developing an E6 film

  • Reel/tank – ideally stainless steel, to conduct the heat. also some plastic reels/tanks may absorb colour developer, which will affect future development processes.
  • Scissors – for trimming the film
  • Can opener – to help retrieve film roll from the tin
  • To keep track of development time

It is crucial to keep the  right temperature of chemicals (38 Celsius)

Usually E6 processing requires 6 baths, however soem of them can be combined, reducing it to 3 baths – First Developer, Colour Developer and BLIX – Bleach + Fix
Film needs to be rinse after each bat. Temperature of the first rinse is crucial and it has to be 38 degrees. Temp of the other two isn’t as important.

  1. Have everything ready on hand
  2. Load the film into the tank (in the darkness, of course)
  3. Place the tank in the water bath and allow to warm up
  4. First developer, agitate every 15 seconds for 6 minutes
  5. Rinse for around 2,5 minutes
  6. Repeat 4 and 5 with Colour developer
  7. BLIX – 6 minutes followed by 4 minute wash or longer if required
  8. Allow film to dry


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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


Making the resin fossil

I’ve gathered a few items that I think would be good for this project and put them in the ice cube mold: IMG_20150505_212240

  • bottle cap
  • cigarette butt
  • tube lid
  • ear plug
  • cigarette wrapper
  • broken bottle lid
  • moldy jelly
  • durex
  • penny
  • zip
  • paper clip
  • screw

I mixed resin with different amounts of translucent pigment in Amber, to make sure the final pieces look different and as natural as possible. IMG_20150505_212153 IMG_20150505_212357 I really struggled with getting the proportions right, therefore hardening took a lot longer than I expected. I also wanted to avoid smooth, perfectly shaped look, so Every few hours, I was ‘mixing’ the resin with an object to create the air bubbles and give it more natural shape. IMG_20150505_220011 Unfortunately, some of them didn’t set and when I was trying to shape them, they turned into sticky, shapeless mass, almost impossible to work with. I think adding a pigment have changed the consistency slightly, which resulted in longer hardening process.

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


How to use resin

This is a very useful blog post from Skinner Studio, who comperes different methods of dying the resin. Before trying those, I want to try
a translucent pigment in ‘Amber’,made especially for resin. If this doesn’t work, I’m then gonna move on to the fabric dye recommended in this blog post.

A couple of tutorials and health & safety tips for the newbies to resin. First video is especially useful, showing various types of encapsulation, casting and different stages of hardening.

Clear Casting resin is good for encapsulating large objects, giving the finished piece a glass like effect. Downside of it is definitely very long hardening time (5-7 days), also I would like to achieve look as close as possible to natural amber, i.e. air bubbles, lumps, roughness, therefore I’m not sure if this particular type of resin will be good for this project.

Gede Crystal Resin

This is a type of resin I used for my tests and it worked really well. I encapsulated a ring pull, using a plastic ice cube mold,  which turned out to be to deep and not flexible enough for the hardened resin to come out. I have had to force the edges of the finished piece, which resulted in major deformation, but in my opinion, it added to the final effect. I didn’t add any pigment, so the finished piece looks more like object trapped in ice cube rather than amber. I tried to photograph it against the sun to give it a tint of colour, but it wasn’t very effective:

IMG_20150402_151920 IMG_20150402_152029

I’m going to carry on with using this particular type of resin, however next time I will try to add a translucent pigment in Amber. I’m also going to try different molds, as the sizes of my object vary and ice cube tray may not be big enough for some of them.

One of the ideas is to create a mold from the thick piece of acrylic ( or similar ) and wrap it with a cello tape, just like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 22.21.51

It should allow me to encapsulate larger items and manipulate the edges in order to create a fossil like object.
I’m going to use a selection of objects found on the streets/beach and in my garden, such as cigarette buts, various wrappers, caps, hair clips etc.

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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


Joan Fontcuberta

I first came across his work while writing an essay about reality and fiction in photography. His photographs are a masterpiece of a visual manipulation. They balance on the borderline of illusion and lies, blending science and art.  They are very convincing and realistically looking. He clearly put a lot of effort in inventing his creations, justifying its feasibility with the scientific journals, museum displays and interviews with archeologists involved. His photos are fully staged and shot on film, what makes his work even more impressive. Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 15.54.33 This is one of the photographs from the series “Herbarium” (1984), which is one of his earliest work. It’s been built with a plant and animal mater, creating a surreal object resembling of a actual plant. It’s a very minimalistic, still life photograph, with a beautiful, soft lighting and shades. It looks like taken straight from the botanical book. Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 15.58.34 Another on of his scientific looking series, “Sirens” caused a lot of controversy amongst teachers, accusing him of amending the fossil records and making it hard to tech children about the evolution. Siren fossils have been built in the southern France and justified by testimonials of the geologist and priest Jean Fontana (5). Fontcuberta work is a fantastic, inspirational piece of the surreal art. It makes us to re-think everything we know and be more careful with believing in what we see. He also proofs, that with a bit of hard work, everything is possible and we as photographers, can send a very powerful message through our work.

My work is very much inspired by this great artist. I have not only created my own, archeological findings, but also trying to send a strong message about our bad habits and attitude towards the environment. I am also going to create a Latin names for my object to increase the feel of its scientific background.

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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Essence of Fashion directed by Layla Sailor

The Essence of Fashion was a brief set for UCLAN photography and fashion students (4), set by Layla Sailor. Students were paired up and had to created and then photograph a jelly inspired by the couture collection. Each jelly contained selection of object related to the story behind the Spring/Summer 2014  designer collection. All of them had to be photographed in the studio, on the pastel background. Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 22.50.10 Dolce & Gabbana SS14, Greek coins, red and white flowers, blue dye, gold ribbon Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 22.50.18 Channel SS 14, Pearls, Lace, Lego

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 22.50.02 Baleciaga SS14, Water, Gelatine, Purple Flowers

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 22.49.52 Dior SS14, Letters, Beads, Black Dye, Flowers, Playing Cards

All of these images are great in terms of composition, lighting and idea development, but I think the Balenciaga is the best one. Pure simplicity, well composed and nicely lit. I think jelly is an interesting way of ‘holding’ things together or in certain position and it’s worth experimenting with. It could be a cheaper substitute for resin, it also has more texture, which would make images more interesting.

Task: Experiment with suspending objects in orange dyed jelly and photograph with a macro lens.

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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Uncategorized