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Labour Love - part 4 of 1 2 3 4

by Paul Gallagher Published



The last, essential change to my photographic equipment was to upgrade my scanner to one that could take a 5x4 sheet film adapter. The scanner I was using was an Epson which had served me proudly, but would only scan negatives up to roll film width of 6cm. So I purchased the new Epson Perfection 3200 Photo which cost approximately £250 at the time.

I had made the transition from print production in the darkroom to scanning and inkjet printing a year or so before moving to large-format and, in a way, I was now even more pleased with that decision. If I was still a dedicated darkroom silver printer, then the cost of changing my LPL enlarger for one to accommodate up to 5x4 would have been a further chunk of cash to hand out!

The Final AccountPaul Gallagher

So, if I am to be honest the total cost of moving up from medium to large-format has been in the region of £3,300 and the question on everybody's lips is, "Was it worth it?". Absolutely! I relish in the slow and methodical way I now work and the way in which I allow time to think, assess and appreciate what I am trying to photograph. There is also the massive benefit of image control with camera movements and the increase in image definition and quality.

Some have asked me whether I feel that I have traded half of the quality away by not producing the prints in a darkroom and essentially completing the traditional process. I always reply by saying if over 20 years of working in darkrooms both professionally and for pleasure I thought this change from silver to ink-jet would be to the detriment of the image I visualised, or, if digital methods could not meet my standards, then I would still be in a darkroom now. I do not find this to be the case and as things stand now the combination of large-format camera loaded with sheet film, scanning and ink-jet printing are producing what I regard as a high quality print. My only piece of advice to anyone considering making the change up the formats is to consider that this process is one that renders all your reliable image production techniques null and void for a time whilst you learn from the top of the page again - and if this sounds like a lot of hassle and too much upheaval then it may not be for you.

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last update 18/07/2022 16:31:45

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Updated 18/07/2022 16:31:45 Last Modified: Monday, 18 July 2022