Contact Sheet from Casemates

The Casemates are houses that are built into the outer wall of the Tower of London, this creates a ring like residential area that is off limits to the Tower’s Tourist visitors. One can walk almost all the way around the Tower along the top of this wall giving an interesting view of both the Tower and the areas outside. The Wall Top is also used by residents to hang out their washing, store bicycles and other everyday things that one doesn’t instantly imagine would take place in such a historic building.

Below is a contact sheet of one of the rolls of film I exposed during a recent exploration of Casemates. I wanted to show one of my contact sheets on the blog to hopefully give more of an idea of how I work.

For those of you unfamiliar with photographic film process, a contact sheet is made by laying the negatives of a roll of film out onto a sheet of photographic paper and exposing it to make a single photograph that shows all the frames from the roll of film. I work on 120 roll film using a 6×6 camera (each frame is 6cm x 6cm) which gives me 12 exposures to a roll. The contact sheet works as a guide to what you have on the roll of film, the images are low quality and quite small (so lack detail) but they give you an idea of what’s there, from this you choose the images that you want to print larger.

Looking at this contact (which starts at the top right corner and goes down each column) the first thing you may notice is that I normally take two exposures of each image (sometimes three), there are a couple of reasons for this, the first is I may alter the exposure time or aperture slightly, the second is I may slightly adjust the position of the camera and the last one (and the main one) is insurance. This is a habit I have carried with me since my student days and may now be a bit unnecessary (but I still do it) if I were to take a single exposure of an image and then, at some point during the process of carrying or developing the film that exposure was damaged it may be unprintable – so to cover this eventuality I take two just to make sure, its the closest I get to superstition.



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