Peggy Farren interviews large format film photographer Spencer Pullen. Spencer shares his journey back into the world of film and gives us great insight to nearly lost art form. Thanks for tuning into episode #74 of The Understand Photography Show!
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Understand Photography General Notes
Florida’s Forgotton Coast – Apalachicola area April 16-20, 2018 – sign up for the waiting list!
Started with film cameras at a young age
Pre-Press Manager and Commercial Printer for 25 years
Had to go digital for job
Recently got back into film, especially large format
Teaches photography at 2 Florida Universities
Learned about large format through YouTube
Created his own YouTube channel for large format
Why Large Format?
Able to create large (40” x 50” or larger) prints with extreme clarity
More black and white film choices than there were 15 years ago
Able to process and print his own work
Processes the negatives in a dark tent – by touch alone!
Scans the negatives with his Epson V800 printer/scanner
About his Equipment
New equipment is VERY pricey
Purchased the camera from Ebay
Nikon W 300mm f/5.6 lens
Whole set-up, including tripod, weighs about 50 pounds
New companies in England and Italy making affordable 4×5 cameras
New set-up (body and lens) for less than $500
Film purchased from B&H in NYC
Ilford’s FB4+ runs about $4/sheet
Developing adds about $1
Total cost “per click” is $5!
“I spend the majority of my time scouting locations. When I see something I really want, I have to ask myself ‘Is this worth investing my time?’ “
Taking the Picture
Camera set up takes 20-30 minutes.
Favorite subjects – Florida landscapes and old Americana
Able to zoom in and see individual palm fronds or scratches and rust
Favorite spots – Manatee Village (Manatee county) and Heritage Village (Largo)
Spent 2 days with photo club in Old Car City (GA) and took only 4 pics
Each photo takes a lot more work – it makes the final product more handmade than a digital print.
No zoom – forces you to slow down and think more about your composition
Image is upside down and backwards – changes your perspective, allows you to see things you may have missed and adjust for tighter composition
Art Show: Englewood Art Center
Opening Reception March 10, 2:00-4:00pm
Spencer will have 7 prints on display, along with others from the Englewood Camera Club
Display will be hung for 3-4 weeks
People love to hear the stories behind the photos. It helps pique interest and makes them feel more connected to the piece.
A collection of his first full year of large format prints
Not as heavy duty as a photo book
Minimum needed for printing – only 10 – makes it much more affordable
Created using In-Design or the company’s online software
Advice on Getting Started in Large-Format Film
Spencer’s YouTube Channel (and others)
4×5 is a great option, smaller and more affordable
Check Ebay for older cameras – not entirely reliable,, though
There are several Facebook groups for medium and large-format photography
APPS: The Artists Viewfinder, Reciprocity Timer, Massive Dev Chart (developing help)