8×10 black and white film portraits

Portraits on black and white 8×10 film

It’s 2017 and I’m making large format film portraits with a vintage 8×10 camera that is 100 years old. This camera is the Folmer & Schwing 8×10 Home Portrait Camera No. 1 with a 14” Wollensak Velostigmat Series II lens.

Why pursue photography with this combination? Photographs such as this one are made with a “view camera”, a camera where the photographer composes the image upside down and backwards on a ground glass on the back of the camera. View cameras use film that is typically 4″x5″ or larger, thus called large format. Often, images made with these cameras on large format film have a look that cannot be achieved in any other medium. The tonality has a smooth gradation between tones that feels open compared to smaller film formats. Also, vintage lenses designed for 4×5, 5×7, 8×10 or larger have a timeless character that is hard to replicate with modern photographic equipment.

Part of my artistic vision is to create photographs that are not easily identified with any particular period. Sometimes clothing or hairstyle gives it away, but other times it’s hard to tell whether a photograph is contemporary or made anytime back to 1928.

This portrait of a woman was made on Arista EDU Ultra 100 black and white film and drum processed for 9 minutes in Freestyle’s L110 developer at dilution H 1+62.


photograph of a woman

Portrait on large format film made with a vintage camera over 100 years old.

About scott

I live in Minneapolis Minnesota and have a passion for making portraits with view cameras and large format black and white film. In the last ten years, I have been drawn to older film cameras and large film formats up to 8x10 inch negatives. I also spend a fair amount of time perfecting recipes for home-made pizza and vegetarian soup. When not engaged in the aforementioned pursuits, I think about which mountain I will hike next.
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