I took the images above almost 25 years ago, when I was 18. I borrowed a 4×5 inch camera off a man who I worked with at the time, I forget his name, but he was in his 60’s then, so he’s probably no longer with us. He loaded 10 double dark slides for me and gave me a quick crash-course in large format photography and off I went for the weekend. I remember sending the films off to be developed and it costing me a small fortune. The 20 transparencies came back in a yellow Kodak box, and that’s where they stayed. Cibachrome prints were horrendously expensive, so there was no way I was going to be able to afford to shoot 4×5 and so I went out and bought a 35mm instead.
I had no idea about the finer points of photography at the time, I certainly didn’t understand how a large format camera worked, but it felt good. Even 25 years ago I got a lot of strange looks when I put the cloth over my head to stare at the upside-down, back to front image in the camera.
That yellow box has sat, unopened, for nearly a quarter of a century, moving with me from house to house. I found it by accident a few days ago. When I looked at the images it was like I’d only taken them last week, they were so familiar.
It’s got me thinking about large format again though! I think I could make some really nice portraits on 4×5…