Black and White Film
I now work exclusively with digital SLR cameras for my colour, black and white and infrared images, but before converting to digital, I worked extensively with film.
I used almost exclusively black and white film, partially because it suits my aesthetic, and partially because of the controls and freedom the medium offers, both through filters and development. I processed and printed all my black and white work myself, which allowed me full control over the entire process. Colour film photography, while having the arguable advantage of making images seem more realistic, steals some of the flexibility that is integral part of monochromatic photography.
For my 8"x10” film, I used Ilford HP5+ which I processed in Agfa’s Rodinal, a developer legendary for it’s sharpness. Rodinal is a quite grainy developer, but with the large 8"x10” negative, this is not much of an issue. I usually exposed my 8"x10” film at an E.I. of 320, but I adjusted that according to the subject and the contrast, and then developed it accordingly. For very contrasy lighting, I exposed the film at E.I. 160, and for flat lighting (low contrast) I exposed the film at E.I. 640.
When I used roll films (both 35mm and the120 roll) I worked with a broader variety of film, preferring to have the finest grain possible. For outdoor work, I used either APX 100 from Agfa, or HP5+ from Ilford. I also used Ilford’s Delta 3200 in both 35mm and 120 format for low-light photography. I usually rated this at EI 1600 for softer contrast, but didn’t hesitate to exposure it at 3200 when necessary. All my roll film was processed in Ilford’s Ilfosol S, a liquid film developer which gives beautiful results.
In 35mm, the most common film for me to use was Kodak’s HIE infra-red film.
When I worked with the 4"x5” sheet film, I preferred Kodak’s T-Max 100 (TMX) and T-Max 400 (TMY). Both these films have excellent reciprocity characteristics (very important for long exposures), and lovely tonality in Kodak’s Xtol, which was my preferred developer from 1998-2000.
The black and white infra-red films I use are detailed here.