This post has been a long time coming, but I’m pleased to finally present my fine-art project to you: The Seven Deadly Sins.
Wrath * Lust * Avarice * Gluttony * Sloth * Pride * Envy
One of my major projects in order to pass my Diploma course was to present a thematic body of work produced in the darkroom on fibre based paper to archival standards.
I wanted to create a body of work that illustrated my passion for photographing Western Australia’s native flowers. So much effort was going into the project that I wanted something I’d put on my own wall (which I still haven’t done coz I can’t afford framing right now). Simply taking a photo of a flower wasn’t enough for me. I felt anybody could do that, so I chose to apply the Seven Deadly Sins theme.
Friends thought I was nuts, my lecturer said it was all very subjective… but I pushed ahead. Having to have each image address a particular sin was particularly challenging, but I feel it gives each image a much stronger emotion and is more captivating than simply photographing a flower.
One reason for the 7DS theme was that I’d originally used it for a portrait series when I was in first year way back in 1999. I was never happy with the final portraits and always wanted to work with the theme again.
All of these images were taken on black on white film using a Nikon F90x, some using my 50mm lens but most using a 60mm macro lens – (which belongs to TAFE and I no longer have access to *sob*). Some of the photos were taken on 200iso although most were taken at 400 iso.
So what is fibre based paper anyway?
For those that aren’t aware, without getting into the nitty gritty of variations, there are two types of paper you can print on in the darkroom. Resin coated (RC) which is plastic based, dries quickly, is impenetrable to liquids and doesn’t curl. This is the stuff you may have used in your high school in the last say 20-30 years. Then there’s fibre based paper.
Fibre based paper is exactly that – paper. It’s fragile, it’s absorbent, it takes ages to process, wash (at least 30 minutes), dry (hours) and curls up like a cat trying to avoid a vet visit. If you’re washing a print in the communal darkroom and somebody puts another print in on top of it, chances are that you’ll have to wash it another 30 mins to get rid of the chemical contamination. I’m surprised there’s no hard and fast rule about removing all sharp objects from the college darkrooms during folio printing. It’s an extremely high stress environment (and I’ve worked in Government call centres at tax time!). Once the print is dry, you need to try and flatten it out, and even then it will never sit entirely flat – even after a fortnight with the entire collection of Harry Potter books on top of it.
All whinging aside, I’m very proud of the images I created, some more than others obviously but still, very proud. I sure as hell don’t want to go through the process again in a hurry, but it was a good experience and fun using film again.
There’s a beauty in the fibre images that you just don’t get with resin coated paper and certainly not with any prints from digital images. To know that every one of these images is a limited edition, handcrafted piece of art is a very rewarding feeling.
In most cases, I only have 2 copies of these seven images. Maybe 3 for the orchids. I don’t have access to a darkroom so any future prints would only be copies from digital scans of the prints. I’ve got the mounted prints I submitted for the assignment, (all on 40x50cm boards) and a spare copy. If you are interested in investing in one of the handprinted, darkroom copies, please contact me.
From The Book of Proverbs (via Wikipedia)
“Six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth.”
- A proud look.
- A lying tongue.
- Hands that shed innocent blood.
- A heart that devises wicked plots.
- Feet that are swift to run into mischief.
- A deceitful witness that uttereth lies.
- Him that soweth discord among brethren.