tri x 320

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Images from a new project, 2013 , Crown Graphic 4x5, Kodak Tri-X 320

| joe librandi-cowan |

I’m exploring my hometown - I’m interested in the maximum security prison that sits directly in the middle of it. I’m curious to deconstruct and explore how this impacts life in the town - both politically and socially. More so, I’m interested in forming and understanding a photographic style and method that will help me visually interpret the questions I have. I’ll be posting more images as the project continues to develop.

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I’ve posted a few images and talked about my 4x5 camera and how much I love it, but I’ve never talked specifically about the camera itself. I wanted to share some images and my experience with the camera for a few reasons; one, I have no idea what kind of camera it is, where it was made or who made it; two, I’ve only used a large format camera a few times in college and I’m super excited to learn all I can about this contraption and share my mistakes and successes as I go.

As you can see it’s quite a clunky looking thing. Some knobs are missing and others have been replaced with hardware store finds. The rails look new but everything else has signs of much love. There was a hole drilled into the bottom left of the front plate. I stuffed it and wrapped it in black electrical tape. I’m handy like that.

It has a metal frame, not wooden. Looking through antique turn of the century cameras showed all wooden frames. The bellows seem to be made of the same material that the bellows in my Pocket Kodak Jr, which was made in the late 20’s. Even with that information I have no idea what to even guess the manufacture date is on this thing. If you have any ideas, please share :)

There are no serial numbers or manufacturers names on any part of the camera. And the lens, seems to me to be quite old. The only thing printed on the lens is the aperture settings of 4, 5.6, 8 and 11 and REF. No14A/1101. There is no shutter.

I’m super in love with the lens and the unique quality it gives to the images. I love the antique portrait glow that they have. I’ve always wanted to recreate it somehow and now I have that ability. I may not know much about where the lens came from or who made it but I love it just the same.

So far the camera and lens have worked great. Any issues where determined to be user error - in other words I need to work on my metering. I am planning on purchasing a modern lens with a shutter, just to have something around with more control. But, I’m not in a hurry….

I just  received my order of darkroom supplies today. I have everything I need to process my own film which will save me tons of money. Also, Mike bought me a scanner for christmas so I can scan my own negatives. This feels good, it feels like the right place to start again :)

Mike and I went on a road trip (to celebrate his 30th birthday) from LA to the Salton Sea stopping at Disneyland, San Diego and Julian along the way. We took along my 4x5 view camera. This shot was taken the morning of Mike’s 30th birthday in our hotel room in San Diego. 

I love this camera! I’ve been wanting one since college but never invested in one. Since testing it I think I’m going to invest in a scanner and a lens with a shutter. 

This was taken on Tri X 320 f/4 for 3 seconds. I had forgotten my meter and just guessed on the exposure. My exposure guesses worked for this shot but I *way* over estimated exposure times on some other shots of the desert and they aren’t usable. Oh well, lesson learned!