Darkness at Three

It was a long time since I’d printed any photos – nearly three months – so I thought that yesterday would be a good day to break that streak. In addition to wanting to finally print again in general, I had recently entered some photos into a competition and wanted to print up my submitted images on the odd chance that something might actually be selected for the show.

Things were against me from the start, as Saturday night was when we had to move our clocks forward an hour, meaning that I’d basically wake up an hour late yesterday. (Yes, I know. We all woke up an hour late, but this is my story.) I also didn’t feel like setting my alarm, so I woke up even later than I normally would on a printing day.

Then I had to get everything set up. By the time I was ready, it was lunch time. So, I had a quick bite to eat and then got down to printing.

Well, I would have gotten down to printing, except for one thing – the timer connected to my enlarger was broken. When it was set to the print position, instead of the lamp being off and going on for the set time when I pressed the proper button, the reverse held true. The enlarger’s lamp was on the whole time, and would turn off for the prescribed time when I pushed the button!

“What the @#%&*!!!,” I thought to myself. “Now this, too?!” After my television set, computer, MP3 player and digital camera all suffered problems requiring replacement, did my enlarger’s timer really have to join the club, too?

Let’s not forget that I hadn’t printed for three months, I’m all set up and ready to go – and then I’m stuck. I felt like I was all dressed up with no place to go. Still, I wondered if it might be a wrong button accidentally pushed, so I pushed a lot of the buttons seeing if anything would change, but it didn’t. I ended calling up a friend who’s a photographer, and he thought it odd that it would work in reverse. Not working at all, yes – but working backwards did seem really odd to him.

Well, it seemed odd to me, too, so before throwing in the towel and putting everything away, I told myself that I’d try just one more time to get it working properly. Guess what? It worked! For some reason, there is a button on the timer that has the lamp on except for when the timer is activated. I have absolutely no reason why such a thing is necessary, but it’s there, and I now know to be wary of it. As I still consider myself to be in the ‘trying to get back to normal’ mode as far as printing is concerned, I wonder what other pitfalls await me.

By this time, it was around 3 p.m., so I set out to make some good fiber prints from just two negatives rather than the hoped for three, and that’s just what I did. The competition is being held by a gallery in Manhattan’s East Village, with the topic being beds. So, the two I printed were of a model on a bed in a California motel room.

One of them is the photo that I have called “Banned by Kodak,” as Kodak refused to print it in a book of nudes I had put together in 2007 because they felt it was too racy. (You can read my blog postings about it here and here.) Well, if it got Kodak’s attention, then maybe it’ll get the juror’s attention, too – and as it’s the East Village and not Rochester, hopefully it will be looked upon favorably. I’ll try to make prints of the other three submitted photos in a couple of weeks.

At the top is a photo I made a few years ago in the old studio of my friend Dave Levingston. The model is _G_. I photographed her last month in Dave’s new studio, but as I haven’t developed that film yet, here’s an oldie for you.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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4 Responses to Darkness at Three

  1. How beautiful. I love _G_ – you must have loved the wide open spaces in Dave's new studio! Hope we see some of that work soon!

  2. _G_ was at my home with Dave L and I found her to be one heck of a nice person. Why she was hanging around with Levingston I have yet to figure out however.I was laughing at your timer trouble because I have done that a few times. You would think I would remember, but when it only happens once every couple of years you forget and start banging it against the wall to make it work right. At least I have been known to bang it against the wall.

  3. Dave Rudin says:

    @ UL: Thank you. I'm glad you like that image. I happened to come across it when looking through my negative binders to get the negatives I wanted to print on Sunday. It was on the first page, though it was the penultimate photo I made of her.@ Shadowscape: I didn't try smashing the timer against the wall, but I did hit the button particularly hard to see if giving it a good zetz would get it working normally again.As for Underscore Capitol-G Underscore (_G_ for short) hanging out with Levingston, all I can say is that there are some mysteries in this world which shall never be solved. Maybe it's because they're both "Appalachians."

  4. Have a Good Passover, and don't eat sticky macaroons.

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