Monday, September 1, 2008
Old World Charm
Fine-art photographer Ben Ham merges the best of a film-based process with the best of a digital process to create the quiet beauty of his nature images
There’s just something magical about working with an 8x10; it’s almost like looking out a window with that large ground glass on the back and, of course, you get all that information in a negative. Most of my work is printed very large.
Outdoor Photographer: How large are you going with your prints?
Ham: If it’s a panoramic piece, it can get out in the 85-inch range and 42 inches tall. I’m printing now with the Epson 9800 on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Satin, and I’m looking at the new Epson printer, the 11880, which is a 64-inch-wide printer.
Outdoor Photographer: It’s interesting that you prefer traditional film process when shooting and making the negative, yet you migrate into the digital space to print. Do you still do some printing in a wet darkroom, or is it all digital now? Do you find that there are specific advantages to being digital for output?
I’ve always been kind of a green person, and it bothered me that I was using all those chemicals. I’m now running my sheet film in a JOBO, so I’m running five sheets in a big drum. By the time I’m done, I’ve used less than a liter, whereas before, I’d use gallons of chemicals.
Outdoor Photographer: It seems that black-and-white has come full circle, with more interest in it than ever. Most of your photography is black-and-white toned to sepia. What does black-and-white/sepia give you that color doesn’t?
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