• Andy Przybyla

Black and White Analogue Photography

One of the first new skills I acquired in my first year of uni was Film Photography aka analogue. The first year only looked at the black and white chemical development process and it introduced me to some new formats of camera.

Large format and Still Life

The first mountain to climb was 5x4 inch large format photography, using cameras with bellows and much longer exposure times. We were also introduced to tungsten and permanent light as a means to increase exposure as flash is far too fast.

It's a difficult and frustrating process starting with paper negatives, them moving onto film. You learn about the dark room and how to load in pitch black. it's a process that needs time to avoid the many possible mistakes but the results can be truly staggering and amazingly detailed.

Due to the speed of exposure it's not really a suitable medium for motion thus we used still life subjects and setups to photograph.

Medium Format

We move into modern times and centimeters with medium format. The 120cm film is used in different ways by different cameras. The Hasselblads we had were a 6x6 format but allowed 12 exposures on the film. The Fuji and Mamaya cameras were 6x7 and reduced the exposures to 10 but retained a typical photographic dimension rather than being square.

Medium format is a lot more suitable for moving subjects and exposure times are more akin to digital. It was certainly my preference and I even overlooked doing 35mm to focus on medium format. After all I grew up with a 35mm kodak and am no stranger to the issue that size photography brings.

This was my first time using a camera with a rangefinder (Fuji 6x7) and I did encounter some issues shooting at high aperture and long range.

Developing and Enlarging

Its only at this point do you learn the taking of the image is the easy part. A good clean, well exposed image is a great starting place but the development process does alway more creative control than I ever first thought.

Starting with the basics of developing paper negatives, test strips and grading strips it was amazing finally getting to see a piece of photography developed in front of me. Then learning how to manually develop negatives with developer, stop and fix. Washing and drying and general negative care.

And that is just the start, you move onto making contact sheets and enlarging images. Enlarging is by far my favourite part of the whole process and I loved learning to dodge and burn and finally understood those tools in photoshop.


This was definitely a new skill for me, I got to use new types of camera with new challenges and then learned all the joys of the dark room. I had mixed results and many frustrations with some excellent prints and negatives getting damaged in the process. The skill was test in 3 modules and made up a large part of the year. It introduced me to studio photography also which I will expand on elsewhere.

Andy P


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© 2020 by Andy Przybyla