Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Post number 303

This is the three-hundred and third post on New55.blogspot.com, an epic blog, the second that I have done with over 300 posts but nowhere near the 650 posts of microphonium, which served as a model for New55.  A lot has happened over the last year and a half, much more than I ever imagined could happen, and several new discoveries have been made, including what we think is the basis for an all-new instant system, should we decide to go that far.

The PN material, called New55 PN Film by us, has been demonstrated on still life and live model subjects with some promising results, not the least of which is the ability to get both a good positive and a good negative from one PN sheet.  This is something that old T55 never did - one had to choose between having a properly exposed positive or a correct negative.  That means our "value proposition" for New55 is a good one.

Meanwhile, a perfectly performing monobath called R3 was adapted or swiped from the very ingenious Donals Qualls and shown to work with excellent results on Ilford Pan F, Tmax, old outdated films of various types, Efke 25, and virtually any other black and white negative sheet or roll film, and the results are all within the first 300 posts.  If you haven't tried it, you are missing out.

Behind-the-scenes work involved traveling to exotic places such as Enschede Netherlands to The Impossible Project to see firsthand the machines and facility where integral film was reborn, then to Mobberly UK, where Ilford produces the finest black and white materials and runs a very important manufacturing facility.  Also the trip to the George Eastman House was pivotal to understanding the basics of emulsion-making, something we needed to know.

In the past 18 months we established a base of collaborators and built a consensus for action that is continuing, and kept anyone and everyone interested in the loop by weekly posts of whatever was happening at that time, some of it research, some sidetracks, and others having to do with discussions about price and products, and there were a few criticisms too.

Next we are codifying the results-to-date, carefully recording dimensions, times, temperatures, thicknesses, materials, vendors, and much more, for the day when business conditions are right for production of New55 to start. It can start, 8 months from funding, and a fairly detailed plan was posted about 100 articles ago that is still accurate.

All the while the now familiar FP100C negative reclamation page on the right has been drawing in newbies to the blog thanks to many, many links scattered in four continents. About a quarter of them look around, and some have stayed.

Perhaps the most important thing I have discovered for myself is photography, and what a photograph is.  The line has been blurred in the past decade: My digi gets used a lot, much as I used to use the Nikon F.  But the line has never been clearer about what is a photograph, and what is a high quality still video image. I will leave it to you to think about and possibly debate, but I am sure that instant photography onto paper or film that you process on the spot is the most real and most relevant photography there is, and that is, to me, a new discovery brought on by this investigation.


cafe selavy said...

I have been following the developments for a long time now with high anticipation and hope that all your work will pay dividends. What you've done on your own dime is simply amazing. I've used the R3 bath and I have fooled around with Fuji negs, both things I've gotten from your site, so personally, I have already reaped rewards. Good job and good luck. And thanks for doing what the rest of us couldn't.

nettlorenz said...

Your project is very impressive and fantastic. Keep walking!

Bob Crowley said...

"Fooled around" doesn't begin to describe what cafe selavy has done with that medium. Fantastic results.

Yes, I will keep going at a walking pace. Sometimes it is the most practical, and leaves time to say hello along the way.


cafe selavy said...

Thank you very, very much. I'm waiting on my "new" camera that John Minnicks is making for me with an Aero-Ektar lens. I will really be fooling around with things when I get that. I think you and John have met. Tell him something nice so that I can get moved up in the cue.

I'm kidding. There's no hurrying genius.

Greg Roberts said...

I am quite hopeful that eventually the New55 project will produce a commercial product, and also I am anxious as to whether I will be able to afford it.

In any case knowing that people are working on producing a quality instant film product makes me happy. Whenever there is a new post on the New55 blog I smile and imagine future photos.

If the commercial aspect doesn't work out in the end, I hope you will be able to dump all of your research into the public domain so it is not lost to the world.

Good luck, and keep making the smiles come.

Bob Crowley said...

Yup, it won't be lost. The history of photography has just started. We plan several tutorials regardless of the commercial status. One will be about seeing in the dark! More fun!

greg@gregrob.ca said...

That is a great tagline, "The history of photography has just started."

Sam said...

Interesting discovery about distinctions you make, Bob -- stated with confidence. The distinctions become clearer and more emphatic over time as potent & durable images get made within specific practices.